Red Lentil-Chickpea Burgers with Taratour Sauce
makes 6 burgers

Burgers:
3/4 cup red lentils, sorted and rinsed
1 3/4 cups water
Salt
15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for sauteing
1/2 cup minced shallots
3/4 lb carrots, cut into small dice (1 cup)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup bread crumbs, preferably fresh from whole-grain bread

Sauce Taratour:
1/2 cup tahini
1/3 cup water
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup minced scallions, white and green parts

To Serve:
6 whole-wheat pitas
Shredded romaine lettuce
Chopped fresh tomatoes


Combine the lentils and the water in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Add 1 tsp salt, reduce the heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. The lentils should lose their individual shape and cook into one mass. Cook them as dry as they can go without sticking. If you find the water has evaporated before the lentils are cooked, add a small amount of water and continue cooking.

Stir the cooked lentils with a spoon to break them up, and pour them into a medium bowl. Stir in the chickpeas.

Warm the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots, carrots, and 1/4 tsp salt, and cook until the carrots are tender, about 3 minutes. Add the cumin, coriander, and peas, and cook until the peas are tender, 2 minutes. Stir the vegetables into the lentils along with the parsley, lemon juice, and cayenne. Stir in the bread crumbs. Taste, and add a pinch more salt if necessary. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, or until it is cool enough to handle.

Using your hands, form the lentils into 6 tight patties and place them on a plate. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until very firm, at least 30 minutes.

Saute the burgers: Warm a tablespoon of oil, or enough to coat the bottom of the pan, in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Hold your hand about 4 inches from the pan, and when it feels uncomfortably hot, add the burgers. These burgers are a bit delicate, so do not crowd the pan. Saute until golden, about 2 minutes. Turn the burgers over and saute on the other side until golden, 2 minutes. Serve each burger in a pita with Taratour sauce, topped with shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes.

Taratour Sauce:
Whisk the tahini, water, garlic, lemon juice, and salt together in a bowl until smooth. Stir in the scallions. Add more water, 1 tbsp at a time, if needed to thin the sauce. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to a week.

-Myra Kornfeld, The Healthy Hedonist