Lentil Burgers in Fried Bread with Citrus Yoghurt and Pesto

I like to think that most of the recipes and photos posted to this blog have a certain rustic charm to them. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this, but it comes rather too easily to me. Occasionally one must challenge oneself to break free of their expected roles – this is one of my infrequent flutters into the realm of ponce. Actually, let’s face it, I endeavour to spend most of my time as a pretentious so-and-so; this is my attempt to have my food join me.

I’m not entirely sure from where the idea to use fried bread came, but I remember liking it immediately. My capacity for picturing how a plate of food will look before it has actually reached that stage informed me that this would look really rather pleasing. Happily, for those around me, my cranium hasn’t yet swelled to the size at which self-doubt becomes impossible. As such, I wasn’t entirely sure that my aims would be accomplished, having never seen or heard of a recipe for such a feat. However, it happened to turn out perfectly, which is lucky since I tend to get rather frustrated when something goes awry – particularly when it comes to food preparation.

Whenever red lentils happen to pass my lips I get an urge to accompany them with the flavour of a citrus fruit, particularly that found in the common lemon. There is something about the two, which I find impossible to pinpoint, that goes incredibly well – they simply must be eaten together. So, instead of adding the lemon zest to the burger itself I mixed it with a little Greek yoghurt, thus succeeding in not disguising its taste even a little. The addition of the rocket pesto, posted only a few days ago, really set the dish of nicely, giving the burger the little kick it needed. Vegans may steer clear of the yoghurt and pesto! In fact, one may make only the lentil burgers if one so wishes.

Lentil Burger in Fried Bread with Citrus Yoghurt

Makes 7-8


• 210g red lentils

• 100g bread crumbs

• 1 red chilli, finely diced

• 2 cloves of garlic, mashed

• 1 tsp ground cumin

• 1 tsp ground coriander

• Salt and pepper

• 1 egg, beaten

• 14-16 1-2cm thick slices of good quality white bread

• Olive oil

• 4 tbsp Greek yoghurt

• The zest of 1 lemon


1. Pop the lentils onto boil in a few inches of water, cook for 10 minutes until tender. To make the fried bread, which must cooled before eating, cut the crusts off your slices of bread, roll them out to the thickness of about 2-3mm, cut into circles using a rösti ring and gently fry in plenty of olive oil until golden brown. Save the left-over bread for bread crumbs.

2. When the lentils are tender, transfer them to a large mixing bowl, allow to cool for a few minutes. Add the garlic, chilli, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper and bread crumbs. Stir thoroughly before incorporating the egg. Shape the mixture into 7 or 8 little burgers using plain flour to keep them from sticking. Pop them in the fridge for 10 minutes – it is often best to make these in advance.

3. Fry each lentil burger in a little olive oil until golden brown on each side. To make the citrus yoghurt simply mix the yoghurt with the lemon zest. Plate up the burger with one piece of fried bread at the bottom, then a dollop of the yoghurt, then the burger itself, then a dollop of rocket pesto, then another piece of fried bread. Serve with optional potato wedges and handful of rocket leaves.

Cost: This dish really and truly makes for an incredible meal – it is so healthy and filling. Without the optional extras these burgers cost around £1.30 to make, adding the wedges and rocket adds only a little to this total. In my opinion this is ridiculously good since they would easily provide enough lunch for 7-8 people. Talk about pretentious frugality.

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97 comments on “Lentil Burgers in Fried Bread with Citrus Yoghurt and Pesto

  1. thelittleloaf
    March 9, 2012 at 9:12 am

    I’ve not eaten fried bread for years! It does have a certain greasy charm to it though…and can imagine it works well with these lentil burgers. Plus you need a bit of grease to cancel out all that healthiness, right? 😉

    • frugalfeeding
      March 12, 2012 at 7:53 pm

      I hadn’t either, Loaf. I wouldn’t describe this bread as greasy though. But yes, it does give one a little extra calorie!

  2. veghotpot
    March 9, 2012 at 9:18 am

    One must say these look delightful! 🙂 I always pass on the fried bread when presented it with a cooked breakfast but with lentils and pesto this sounds yummy!

  3. countrywoodsmoke
    March 9, 2012 at 9:20 am

    These look awesomely good, and might even make me try as a replacement to the large slabs of meat i’d usually go for. I think it would be the fried bread and pesto that’d do it for me most though.

    • frugalfeeding
      March 12, 2012 at 7:51 pm

      Thanks, Marcus. Yes, give that heart a rest :D.

  4. semiswede
    March 9, 2012 at 9:21 am

    I really like the idea of a meat alternative to burgers but haven’t tried one yet that I was keen on. This looks really tasty. I’ll have to give it a go some time.

    • frugalfeeding
      March 22, 2012 at 8:46 am

      You must give it a go – I prefer them to meat based burgers in many ways.

  5. Cathy
    March 9, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Great recipe for the burgers. I’ll try them next time I have some pesto over. And those wedges look delicious too! 🙂

  6. Villy
    March 9, 2012 at 10:02 am

    You have such a nice way to use ingredients, I’m always impressed. Looks rustic and delicious!

  7. tomthebadger
    March 9, 2012 at 10:19 am

    I guess if you’re worried about the fried bread, you could just toast it 😉

    Lovely looking meal, will definitely be trying this one! Cheers.

  8. cookinginsens
    March 9, 2012 at 11:07 am

    I just saw a lentil sloppy joe somewhere! Is this a trend? I like lentils and I’m sure I would like this “burger”. Love the color on those red lentils and the plating of the burger and wedges.

    • frugalfeeding
      March 12, 2012 at 7:49 pm

      Perhaps it is, Rosemary. WordPress seems to go along in coincidental trends. Thanks!

  9. Corina
    March 9, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    They sound great and the circles of fried bread look really good with the burgers – I think I’d quite like a soft bread bun with mine though. But I’d definitely keep the lemon and yoghurt sauce.

    • frugalfeeding
      March 12, 2012 at 7:49 pm

      Thanks, I just didn’t want loads of bread. The sauce is a must.

  10. promenadeplantings
    March 9, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Poncy, I don’t know but I like the fact you used your pesto:)

  11. jordanalev
    March 9, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Love the fried bread. With a veggie burger (versus meat), you can afford to add a little extra fat with the oily bread and yogurt sauce.

    • frugalfeeding
      March 22, 2012 at 8:46 am

      Indeed, my sentiments precisely. Besides, it was more crispy than it was oily.

  12. Conor Bofin
    March 9, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    My late father used to fry our Saturday evening tea on two frying pans filled with beef dripping. He would first serve the six kids and our Mum. He would then put a slice of batch bread into each frying pan and fry until it looked rather like your circular version. He would add the fried bread to the bacon, sausage, pudding and eggs on his plate and finish it off by pouring the remaining dripping from the pan over the plate. Believe it or not, Dad was a Professor of Pathology. Different times….

    • frugalfeeding
      March 12, 2012 at 7:48 pm

      Indeed, unhealthy or what? Thanks for that awesome anecdote, Conor.

  13. KitchenKraftInc
    March 9, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    I wonder how the lentil burger would taste on broiled slices of sourdough bread? If I’m making burgers and don’t have hamburger buns on hand, sourdough bread is a delicious alternative. I am a native southern Californian (grew up near Los Angeles), and love my San Francisco-style sourdough bread!

    By the way, your photos are absolutely exquisite!

    • frugalfeeding
      March 12, 2012 at 7:48 pm

      I didn’t know what broiling was until a couple of days ago :D. It isn;t a term we use here. Give it a go, I’m you like my photography.

  14. acorninmykitchen
    March 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Very nice! And I really like the table in all your pictures.

    • frugalfeeding
      March 22, 2012 at 8:45 am

      I like that table too. Too bad I can’t take it with me for the rest of my life.

  15. threeblondesandatomas
    March 9, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    uber creative combination! i’m actually not sure i’ve ever even had a lentil burger before, but this sounds yummy!

    • frugalfeeding
      March 12, 2012 at 7:47 pm

      Thanks – you should. I prefer them to meat burgers.

  16. makingitwithdanielle
    March 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    These look delicious! Can’t wait to make them

  17. foodistherapy
    March 9, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Oh my gracious this looks so good!! I’m going to have to try this one!

  18. whilehewasout
    March 9, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    Oh I honestly like everything on that plate! Fabulous.

  19. filingawaycupcakes
    March 9, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    This is beautiful! I would love to take a bite!

  20. mayihavethatrecipe
    March 9, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    Now that looks awesome!! I must try it this weekend.

  21. thebigfatnoodle
    March 9, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    Hi FF, Easyjet just flagged up a competition they’re running to win a free holiday to Barcelona – you just need to post a Spanish recipe. Check it out. I entered the croquetas recipe and think you should come up with one too, especially since you have such a soft spot for Spain. Check it out here:

    • frugalfeeding
      March 12, 2012 at 7:45 pm

      Hey, Noodle. I sa that, someone from Easyjet actually contacted me about it. I may well enter. Thanks for thinking of me anyway 🙂

  22. k.m.
    March 9, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    These look really good! I’m already a huge fan of falafels and black bean burgers, so these are taking that theme in a great new direction with the pesto.

    • frugalfeeding
      March 12, 2012 at 7:45 pm

      Thanks – I adore those too. I hope you try this.

  23. Arturo Féliz-Camilo
    March 9, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    Loved your pics! (as always)

  24. Cara
    March 10, 2012 at 5:33 am

    “I’m not entirely sure from where the idea to use fried bread came…”–It’s origins probably came from an American.
    “Actually, let’s face it, I endeavour to spend most of my time as a pretentious so-and-so…”–no comment.
    All kidding aside, these actually sound really good–something that *this* pretentious so-and-so might give a try 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      March 12, 2012 at 7:44 pm

      I’d say fried bread is more British than American! I’m glad you like them, Cara.

  25. Shira
    March 10, 2012 at 6:47 am

    Wonderful – and looks delicious! Well done!

  26. Xina Lynn
    March 10, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Wow, these look great! I enjoy the quip about being pretentious, too — I think most supposed foodies can relate. ;D

  27. Jeremy Gradney
    March 10, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    I have made burgers with veggies, nuts, black beans, and even black eyed peas, but never lentils. Sound delicious and I will have to try it.


    • frugalfeeding
      March 22, 2012 at 8:43 am

      this was my first attempt at lentil burgers. It worked very well – I was so pleased.

  28. Eva kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com
    March 10, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    I suspect if your head does swell too large, your girlfriend would just bop you on the head to bring things back to reality. That’s what we’re there for!
    The lentil burgers sound and look delicious, although I’ll pass on the fried bread. I love the citrus yogurt too. It looks like you had a very tasty meal.

    • frugalfeeding
      March 12, 2012 at 7:42 pm

      Yes, she does try :D. Thanks – you know, the fried bread really isn’t that bad…

  29. Sydney Jones
    March 10, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    WOW! This looks delicious 🙂

  30. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide
    March 10, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    I just love taking a healthy lentil burger and putting it between fried bread! Cool recipe!

  31. Just A Smidgen
    March 11, 2012 at 12:37 am

    Fantastic combination of flavours in each bite! I’ve never cooked anything remotely like this so I think you’re deserving of any accolades that might be passed on to you for this one!! Bravo!! And so inexpensive!!

    • frugalfeeding
      March 12, 2012 at 7:41 pm

      Thanks, Smidge – this was entirely of my own creation 😀

  32. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial
    March 11, 2012 at 2:45 am

    Very lovely photos, indeed, particularly the first one! I like fried anything, pleb that I am, but fried bread is a particularly nice treat! 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      March 12, 2012 at 7:41 pm

      Thanks, Celia. Fried bread is awesome, especially this lighter sort.

  33. Bryan
    March 11, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Looks good! Fried bread is always a winner.

    • frugalfeeding
      March 12, 2012 at 7:40 pm

      Thanks, Bryan – it worked very well, much lighter.

  34. jlheuer
    March 11, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    I am picturing this all squishing out as I compress it to take a bite. That’s in a good way. yum.

    • frugalfeeding
      March 22, 2012 at 8:42 am

      Oh, that’s always in a good way when it comes to burgers 😀

  35. Estrella Azul
    March 12, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Sounds great, and I love the Ruccola leaves on top

    • frugalfeeding
      March 22, 2012 at 8:36 am

      Rocket leaves, actually. Though, they do look rather pretty :).

      • Estrella Azul
        March 22, 2012 at 10:26 am

        Funny, just did a Google search on them and they’re the same thing (Rocket leaves = Ruccola) , just have different names depending on where you are on this planet 😉

        • frugalfeeding
          March 24, 2012 at 8:19 am

          Are they? Ahha! My bad. Indeed, I did think that may be the case.

  36. Clara
    March 13, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    I feel the same way about red lentils- can’t enjoy them without fresh lemon. There’s a red lentil soup I found in the NY Times a few years ago that you finish with a squeeze of lemon and fresh cilantro. These burgers look so good- I can’t wait to make them!

    • frugalfeeding
      March 21, 2012 at 11:46 pm

      Exactly, they simply clamour for them. Thanks, Clara.

  37. Julie @ happygoodtime
    March 14, 2012 at 2:31 am

    I’m loving this recent series of recipes! All of my favorite flavors. I’m actually in danger of chewing on my laptop at this point.

    • frugalfeeding
      March 21, 2012 at 11:43 pm

      Thanks, Julie. If that’s the case you may like my next post too.

  38. Natalie
    March 14, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    I just made these for dinner, really tasty. They actually reminded me a bit of falafal, served with roasted carrots and gremolata, and the best thing is theres leftovers for tomorrow : )

    • frugalfeeding
      March 22, 2012 at 8:29 am

      Amazing :D. I hope you liked them – I think they were the best veggie burgers I’ve ever done.

  39. magefesausa
    March 15, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Wow! You have changed the way I Known lentils!!
    Nice post!

    • frugalfeeding
      March 21, 2012 at 11:23 pm

      Thanks! I’d never done this with them either.

  40. Shumaila
    March 15, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    I love fried bread, though my waist would beg to differ. I love adding a squirt of fresh lemon juice in my lentils, a habit I formed when I was in a day-boarding school, and the food there always needed that tad extra, which the lemon juice would provide. I love the whole idea of this recipe, and since one is going healthy with the burger, the fried bread doesn’t sound too bad. I am bookmarking this recipe, and surely want to try it one of these days!

    • frugalfeeding
      March 21, 2012 at 11:21 pm

      Oh, ’tis only a little. Lemon really is necessary in some way. I really hope you do try it.

  41. B
    March 16, 2012 at 10:39 am

    this is simply beautiful! i will definitely make this. lentils kick ass!

    • frugalfeeding
      March 22, 2012 at 8:25 am

      Thanks! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

  42. heilamonster
    March 16, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    Finally someone who enjoys yogurt in their burger!

  43. Chica Andaluza
    March 17, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Fantastic recipe (and not in the least pretentious!) and am seriously impressed with the way your lentils stayed together as a burger. I have had problems with crumbly lemtil brurgers int he past so will be giving your version a go!

    • frugalfeeding
      March 21, 2012 at 11:03 pm

      Thanks! I was surprised at how well they turned out – I must possess a magic touch.

  44. Parvati
    March 19, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    This looks fabulous! I am making it this week for sure!

  45. Anna
    March 25, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Lovely photos!

    And the lentil burger sounds great!