• Yield: Serves 8

When a reader named Quinn suggested a recipe that used both lentils and meat, I started thinking about how veggie burgers and beef burgers each have their own strengths. Why not combine the two ideas to create a burger with meaty flavor but the lean protein and low cost of lentils? And so I offer you the half-veggie burger. May it rest a little lighter in your belly.

You can use almost any vegetable to make these burger patties, except for lettuce and other greens, or super-watery vegetables like tomato or cucumber. Make sure the vegetables are either small to begin with (like corn or peas) or finely chopped so that they cook evenly. I went for a bell pepper this time. Vegetables like potato, squash, or eggplant, which are inedible raw, should be fully cooked before you add them to the patty. 

  • 3 cups cooked lentils or beans 

  • 1 cup finely chopped bell pepper or other vegetable 

  • 1 pound ground beef or other ground meat 

  • 1 egg (optional) 

  • salt and pepper, to taste 

  • 8 buns

1. Roughly mash the lentils with the back of a large spoon. 

2. Mix the lentils, bell pepper, and ground beef with your hands in a large bowl. If you’re grilling, add an egg to keep the patties from crumbling. Season with salt and pepper and form into 8 patties. 

3. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat (or fire up the grill, if you have one), and add the patties. Sear them until they’re dark brown on one side, about 5 minutes, then flip 'em and do the same on the other side. If you want cheeseburgers, lay cheese on the patties after flipping them once. 

4. Serve on toasted buns with your favorite condiments and fresh vegetables. Burgers are a great place to be adventurous!

From Good and Cheap by Leanne Brown, Workman 2015.