This is a variation of my Veggie Nut Loaf recipe. Some of our customers thought it would work well as a veggie burger, so I turned the loaf into burgers. They came out great!
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 ½ cups short-grain brown rice
½ cup French lentils
5 cups water
2–3 vegetable bouillon cubes
4 tablespoons tomato paste
3 teaspoons sage
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
½ cup chickpea/garbanzo flour
½ cup almonds, ground
½ cup cashews, ground
½ cup sunflower seeds, ground*
* You can use other nuts and seeds, if desired
Heat olive oil in a medium-size pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Cook until tender and caramelized. Add chopped celery and a little salt; cook briefly. Rinse rice and lentils, then add to the caramelized onions and celery. Add water, bouillon, tomato paste, sage, paprika, basil, thyme, and black pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. Cook on low-medium heat for 50–60 minutes, until rice and lentils are well cooked. Add a little more water, if needed. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. When cooled, add ground nuts and chickpea flour. Mix well until flour and nuts are incorporated into the mixture. Form into patties and bake on a greased cookie sheet for about 10 minutes on each side. Serve warm. Enjoy!
Health Benefits of Lentils
- Protein– Lentils are rich in protein, which is well known to the vegetarian and vegan communities. In fact, a 1 cup serving of lentils provides nearly 40% of your daily recommended value of protein, and you will only be getting 230 calories for that entire cup!
- Iron– Often another big problem for vegetarians and vegans is getting enough iron in their diets. Lentils provide iron, without the fat and cholesterol associated with red meat. Women, especially pregnant women, and children should be especially careful to get adequate amounts of iron as their needs are greater.
- Fiber– Lentils are another great vegetable source of fiber, and their high fiber content helps you to feel full with less food. High fiber legumes like lentils are especially useful for those trying to stabilize blood sugar levels, as your metabolism burns them very slowly over time. The fiber is also effective in lowering blood cholesterol.
- Heart-Healthy– In addition to the fiber, magnesium and folate, a B vitamin, are found in lentils and very important nutrients to heart health.
- Anti-oxidants– Lentils contain anti-oxidants similar to those in tea, red wine and other foods.
- Black lentils do not require soaking, and they are also more resistant to falling apart while being cooked. When it comes to your health, black lentils contain several nutrients and have specific benefits. Carbs come in the form of simple and complex. Simple carbs cause a fast spike in blood sugar levels followed by a fast release of insulin. This in turn promotes weight gain. Complex carbs, on the other hand, digest slowly and give you a steady stream of energy. This causes a slow release of insulin. Legumes have a high amount of complex carbs.
- High Fiber Content: Black lentils are chock-full of soluble fiber. A 1-cup serving contains 16 grams. Soluble fiber, which is absorbed in water, forms a gel inside the intestinal walls when consumed. Not only does this help regulate blood glucose levels, but it also helps lower cholesterol. Men up to age 50 should aim for at least 38 grams of total fiber a day, and men over 51 should get at least 30 grams. Women 50 years old or younger should get at least 25 grams and women over 51 should aim for at least 21 grams.
- Protein: Black lentils have a high amount of protein. However, unlike animal sources, they are not complete proteins because they do not contain all of the essential amino acids. One cup of lentils contains 36 grams of protein. The daily recommended intake of protein is 56 grams for men 19 to 70 years old and 46 grams for women in this same age group.
- Fat and Cholesterol: A diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol increases cholesterol levels and promotes the build-up of plaque inside the arteries. French green lentils are both fat and cholesterol free.
- Iron and Vitamin C: Iron is commonly found in animal protein. This mineral is important for the transport of oxygen through the body. Legumes in general have a high iron content, which is beneficial in non-meat diets. One cup of French green lentils contains 100 percent of the recommended daily intake of iron. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that boosts immunity and promotes healthy connective tissue.
Though all lentils provide fantastic health benefits, red lentils cook more quickly and are considered to be the tastiest of the bunch. While cooking, they usually turn from reddish to a lighter yellow color. Lentils should be rinsed before cooking. Like any legume, soaking lentils overnight and discarding the water helps speed up the cooking process and helps remove impurities.
Health Benefits of Brown Rice
Brown rice is the “unrefined” version of white rice. Before white rice went through the refining process, it at one time looked exactly like brown rice. The side hulls and brans provide “natural wholeness” to the grain and are rich in proteins, thiamine, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and potassium. For those trying to lose weight or those suffering from diabetes, brown rice can prove a healthful staple given its low glycemic rating which helps reduce insulin spikes.
- Rich in Selenium: Brown rice is rich in selenium which reduces the risk for developing common illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and arthritis.
- High in Manganese : One cup of brown rice provides 80% of our daily manganese requirements. Manganese helps the body synthesize fats. Manganese also benefits our nervous and reproductive systems.
- Rich in Naturally-Occurring Oils: Naturally occurring oils are beneficial for the body as these healthful fats help normalize cholesterol levels.
- Promotes Weight Loss: The fiber content of brown rice keeps bowel function at it’s peak since it makes digestion that much easier. Brown rice is the perfect addition to the daily diet for those seeking bowel regularity. In addition, brown rice also makes the tummy feel full which translates to smaller meal portions.
- Considered Whole Grain: Brown rice is considered a whole grain since it hasn’t lost its “wholeness” through the refinement process. Wholes grains are proven to reduce the buildup of arterial plaque and reduce the risk of heart disease and high cholesterol.
- Rich in Anti-Oxidants: This is one of the best kept secrets regarding brown rice. We usually associate anti-oxidant rich foods with blueberries, strawberries and other fruits and vegetables. The antioxidant capacity of brown rice is right up there with these super stars.
- High in Fiber: Brown rice is high in fiber and on top of the list for foods that can help prevent colon cancer. This can be attributed to the high levels of fiber naturally contained in brown rice. These fibers attach to substances that cause cancer as well as to toxins in the body, thus eliminating them and keeping them from attaching to the colon wall.
- A Slow-Release Sugar: Brown rice helps stabilize blood sugar levels; therefore, it’s an excellent food choice for those suffering from diabetes. Studies show that those who consume one half cup of brown rice daily reduce their risks of developing diabetes by 60%. On the other hand, those who consume white rice regularly increase their chances of developing diabetes 100 fold.
- Perfect Baby Food: Brown rice cereal or brown rice itself is the perfect baby’s first food due to the dense natural nutrition and fiber it contains. This is a much better choice than refined white rice cereal products as rapidly growing babies and toddlers require nutrient rich diets to help maintain rapid growth cycles.