My Recipe Book: Lentil Bean BBQ Burger (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

In the midst of all this craziness with The Rabbit Food Diaries (only two months left!), sometimes I crave normalcy in my diet more than anything else. I long for foods that I used to turn to for easing the stress of a long day, for comfort and for convenience. The simple and nostalgic taste of a biscuit, warm from the oven with butter smeared over it. The fatty goodness of fried chicken, paired with salty pickles on a fresh bun. It all floods over me every time I get a whiff of any little scent. Snacks as easy as a bag of Chex Mix have become totally foreign to me - and I'm not gonna to lie, I miss it. I miss it a lot.

So, when I was having an especially tough week, I found that my craving of the day was increasingly a bizarre one: all I wanted was a burger. This is a strange because those who know me can attest to the fact that I've never liked burgers - not ever. I'm in the rare grouping of people on this planet that doesn't quite understand how people can gorge themselves on these textured patties of meat. Regardless, that's what my craving was - a burger, with all the toppings, on a bread-y and delicious bun. And that's how I set out on my mission to create one that I could eat while still sticking to my TRFD rules.

Unsurprisingly, this recipe tastes nothing like a burger, which is perfect since I hate them (I'll deal with your side-eye judgement later)! On the flip, it's a great bean burger alternative with a gluten-free and vegan sesame seed bun, topped with everything that I wanted: tomato, greens, and the all-important pickles. At the end of the meal, I felt so accomplished that I thought I might be on the verge of taking over the world. "See," I thought to myself, "this whole eating-clean thing is a piece of cake." That is, until I walked by a BBQ joint the next day. You can't win 'em all, can you?

Lentil Bean BBQ Burger (Vegan, Gluten-Free)
Recipe changed only slightly from one of my favorite vegan bloggers, Vegan Richa. Burger Bun recipe also found on Vegan Richa, because she's amazing and I love her. Go check her out!

For the Buns:
- 2/3 Cup Water
- 1 Tablespoon Coconut Sugar
- 1 Packed Quick Rise Yeast
- 1 1/2 Cup Gluten-Free Bread Mix (Bob's Red Mill, I love you.)
- 1/2 Tablespoon Flaxmeal
- 1/2 Tablespoon Potato Starch
- 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- A Pinch of Sesame Seeds

For the Burgers:
- 2/3 Cup of Red Lentils
- 1 Cup Water
- 1/2 Teaspoon Pink Himalayan Salt
- 1 Tablespoon BBQ Sauce (this one is the perfect vegan / gluten-free version!)
- 4 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
- 6 Baby Carrots, Chopped Small
- 1/4 Cup of Kale, Chopped Small
- 1/4 Cup of Mushrooms, Chopped Small
- 1/2 Cup of Chickpeas, Mashed
- 1/2 Medium White Onion, Chopped Small
- 2/3 Cup Broccoli Stem, Chopped Small
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Parsley, Minced
- 1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Paprika
- 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Powder
- 1/4 Teaspoon Cumin Powder
- 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- 1 Additional Tablespoon BBQ Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Flaxmeal
- 1 Tablespoon Sesame Seeds
- 1/4 Cup Chickpea Flour
- Toppings can include, but are not limited to: Tomato Slices, Lettuce or Mixed Greens, Pickles, Vegan Cheese, Avocado, and any other condiments that suit you.

For the Buns:
1. Heat the water until it's very warm to the touch. Pour in the coconut sugar and the entire packet of quick rise yeast and stir. Set aside for approximately 10 minutes - it will start getting foamy on top when it's ready to go.
2. Combine the yeast mixture with the bread mix and stir well. I used my standing mixer for this, with a dough kneader attachment, but you can also just stir in a mixing bowl. Add into this mixture the flaxmeal, potato starch, and olive oil. If the dough ever looks dry, add water in 1/2 tablespoon increments and continue stirring. If it looks too wet, add in additional bread mix in 1/2 tablespoon increments.
3. Knead the dough for 5 minutes or so. Again, I used my standing mixer because I'm obsessed with it and could never live without it.
4. Place the dough in a covered container (or just cover the mixing bowl with saran wrap) for about an hour to allow it to rise.
5. Take this dough and start to create your buns by dividing into equal parts, plopping even-sized balls onto a baking sheet. Cover loosely and let sit for another 30 to 40 minutes.
6. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
7. Top with sesame seeds, then bake for 15 to 20 minutes. You can tell when things are ready by gently tapping on top of the buns - when they sound hollow, pull those suckers out!

For the Burgers: 
1. First, cook the lentils. Rinse them thoroughly under cold water and then add to a pan (that has a lid) with water, minced garlic (about 1 to 2 cloves), salt, and BBQ sauce. Cover and cook until just tender, or about 12 minutes. Set aside.
2. Make sure all your next handful of ingredients are chopped up suuuuper small - either mince them, chop them as tiny as possible, or place them into a food processor. I like mine to be chopped (as opposed to combined fully in a processor) to add a bit more texture to the patties, but it's whatever you prefer. This includes the remaining 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, carrots, kale, mushrooms, chickpeas, onion and broccoli stem.
3. Add garlic, carrots, kale, mushrooms, chickpeas, onion and broccoli stem to a pan and dry roast them for 3 to 5 minutes.
4. Add dry roasted veggies to the lentils and combine.
5. Add the flaxmeal and sesame seeds to the lentil mixture and combine.
6. Add the spices, including the parsley, chili powder, paprika, garlic salt, cayenne powder, cumin powder, ground black pepper, and BBQ sauce to the lentil mixture and combine.
7. Take a moment to do the all-important taste test. Add in any additional spices you might like, as well as additional BBQ sauce or salt.
8. Add the chickpea flour into the lentil mix and form into small circles for your patties.
9. Bake these little guys for about 25 to 30 minutes at 375 degrees F.
10. Slice a bun and add the patty, topping it artistically with whatever you please. I used mixed greens, a tomato, and pickles... and of course, some additional BBQ sauce.

Served with lightly sautéed potato fries and paired with a TRFD-friendly BBQ sauce (I love love love this one, but I usually use this instead). Let me know if you try it out - e-mail me at hippieteaparty@gmail.com or tweet at us at @hippieteaparty. And, if there are any other suggestions you have for comfort foods that you'd like to see converted into TRFD eats, let me know! Always up for a challenge. Happy Friday, y'all!

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