Asian Healthy Eating Recipes Vegan Vegetarian

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.

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

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? 😉

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.

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.

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.

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.

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….

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!

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.

“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 🙂

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.

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!!

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!

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 : )

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!

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!

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