Red Lentil, Smashed Chickpea and Millet Burgers

Red Lentil, Smashed Chickpea and Millet Burgers - Vegan and Gluten Free | Veggie and the Beast

It took an embarrassing amount of veggie burger consumption to realize that I could actually make my own.

For years, the term “veggie burger” brought to mind a flat, dingy-brown frozen patty. Sure, it became edible once thrown in my George Foreman grill (hey, college), but I considered it nothing more than a quick protein source and a vehicle for condiments.

It’s important to note that this was during a time when I would dip my tomato slices in ketchup, and then scoop up any leftover ketchup with a spoon, sometimes swirling it in the adjacent yellow mustard. I had a condiment problem.

Red Lentil, Smashed Chickpea and Millet Burgers - Vegan and Gluten Free | Veggie and the Beast

I’ve since discovered that there are plenty of frozen veggie burgers that need not be doused in a condiment to cover their flavor, but I still prefer making my own patties. I also prefer burgers full of vegetables and grains, which don’t even try to resemble beef burgers. Ryan is more open to these types of burgers as well, because a veggie burger will never replace beef (or venison) burgers for him, but a vegetable-filled burger falls into a different category altogether.

MEN. you know?

Red Lentil, Smashed Chickpea and Millet Burgers - Vegan and Gluten Free | Veggie and the Beast

This patty, for instance, is colorful, protein-packed, and about as far away from a beef burger as possible. Red lentils, smashed chickpeas, and chewy millet make up the base, while pepitas, oats, green pepper and carrots add extra texture and flavor. To dry out the moisture a bit, and make the burgers easier to handle, I stirred in garbanzo bean flour, but any other flour should do the trick. You can play with the spices to your liking, but I find the combination below to be just salty/spicy/zesty enough for my tastes.

Red Lentil, Smashed Chickpea and Millet Burgers - Vegan and Gluten Free | Veggie and the Beast

To add a little crunch to the outside, I like to pan-fry the patties after they’re done baking. It’s an unnecessary step, so if you’re pressed for time (or hungry), you can eat them right from the oven.

I used a flax egg in this recipe, but if you’re not concerned with keeping it vegan then a chicken egg should work just fine. Serve the cooked patties on a bun, open-faced on a thick piece of crusty bread, or crumbled over greens.

Red Lentil, Smashed Chickpea and Millet Burgers - Vegan and Gluten Free | Veggie and the Beast

I have not tried grilling these, but it would probably work well if you throw them on the grill AFTER they bake in the oven. Don’t throw the raw burger dough on, or else you’ll have a crumbly mess to clean up. The patties will keep in the fridge for several days, but can also be frozen after baking.

Red Lentil, Smashed Chickpea and Millet Burgers

A hearty, healthy veggie burger made with red lentils, chickpeas, and millet. Vegan, gluten free, and packed with protein.

Yield: 7 burgers

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes


  • 1/2 cup split red lentils, picked through and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup hulled millet
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, patted dry, and smashed with a fork
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated (scant 1 cup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 1/4 cup hulled, raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/4 cup gluten free old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour (or gluten free all purpose flour)
  • 1 flax egg (1 T ground flax mixed with 3 T warm water)*
  • 7 teaspoons olive oil (optional, for pan frying)


  1. In a small saucepan, combine the lentils with 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 10-15 minutes, until softened. Drain excess water and transfer to a bowl mixing bowl.
  2. You can cook the millet at the same time as the lentils, or use the same pan after the lentils are cooked. Pour the millet into a saucepan over medium heat, and toast for about 5 minutes, until lightly golden. Pour in 1 cup water and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let sit for 10 minutes. All of the water should be absorbed at this point. Pour the millet into the bowl with the lentils.
  3. Heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds), then add the onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook until the onions are starting to soften, then add the green pepper. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until the green pepper is softened as well.
  4. Pour the stir-fried vegetables into the bowl with the lentils and millet, and refrigerate until ingredients are completely cool (at least 30 minutes).
  5. Preheat oven to 350.
  6. Add all remaining ingredients except the flour and egg (flax or chicken egg) to the bowl with the chilled lentils, millet, and veggies. Stir until the spices are incorporated fully into the mixture, then taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Mix in the flour, followed by the egg.
  7. Shape 1/2 cup of the mixture into a patty, packing tight with your hands so it sticks together well. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining patties (you should end up with 7).
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes on each side. After they're done baking, let them sit on the baking sheet for a couple minutes before moving - this will allow them to set up more.
  9. You can eat them as-is, but I like to pan fry them to make the outside a little crispy and golden. To do so, just use 1/2 teaspoon olive oil for each side of each patty (so 1 teaspoon total for each patty). Fry over medium heat for about 3 minutes on each side.
  10. Serve on buns (gluten free, if desired), with your favorite toppings - I like avocado, chopped radicchio, hot sauce, and hummus (bean on bean on bean, I know).

*If not vegan, feel free to replace the flax egg with a chicken egg.


21 Responses to “Red Lentil, Smashed Chickpea and Millet Burgers”

  1. taylor @ greens & chocolate — May 29, 2014 @ 7:38 am (#)

    My taste buds may have matured in the past few years but I am still a condiment whore. My husband is actually disgusted by how much I eat on burgers and fries. To each his own, right? These veggie burgers look delicious…and the perfect vehicle for shoving more ketchup into my mouth ;)

    • Katie — May 29, 2014 @ 10:09 am (#)

      hahaha I love the term “condiment whore!” I overdid the ketchup and mustard at some point (can’t imagine how that happened…), but now I’ve just transferred my condiment whorishness over to hummus and hot sauce. :)

  2. Isadora @ she likes food — May 29, 2014 @ 10:14 am (#)

    I recently discovered red lentils and they are so beautiful! I’ve been wanting to make a healthy and filling veggie burger recently and this one looks great! I much prefer veggie burgers that don’t resemble real burgers also, they are so much more interesting and tastier! You have inspired me to get in the kitchen and start experimenting with veggie burgers :)

    • Katie — May 29, 2014 @ 10:17 am (#)

      Awesome! Let me know what you think if you try these :)

  3. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — May 29, 2014 @ 6:21 pm (#)

    These sound SO yummy! Love the flavour combo!

  4. themuffinmyth — May 30, 2014 @ 12:38 pm (#)

    Yum! I love lentils and millet and chickpeas… all three together in burger form?! Total winner! Have pinned the recipe to try out asap!

    • Katie — May 30, 2014 @ 12:47 pm (#)

      Thanks for pinning! Let me know what you think.

  5. Liz @ Floating Kitchen — May 31, 2014 @ 9:18 am (#)

    Just discovered your blog and I’m in love! This veggie burger looks incredible!

    • Shivu — May 31, 2014 @ 4:00 pm (#)

      Hi Katie any suggestions for replacing millet flour? I saw this recipe and u inspired me to try it out right away. But I don’t have millet but was wondering can I still try this recipe? Thank you.
      Also I have bookmarked you! I am a vegeterian and you have such interesting healthy food ideas :)

      • Katie — May 31, 2014 @ 4:03 pm (#)

        Hi Shivu! Do you mean the garbanzo bean flour? You should be able to replace that with whatever flour you have on hand (but if you want to keep it gluten free, make sure it’s a gf flour). The millet is actually cooked and used in the burger as a whole grain – if you are wondering what to replace that with, I think that quinoa would work well.

  6. Erin — June 1, 2014 @ 2:20 pm (#)

    Do you have to use red lentils? I have some others at home and want to use them up.

    • Katie — June 1, 2014 @ 8:39 pm (#)

      Other lentils would probably work, but the burger would likely be more fragile. Red lentils break apart more as they cook, so they mash a little as you stir and help to bind the mixture. Let me know how it works if you try it!

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  8. Trish — October 29, 2014 @ 6:48 am (#)

    Can I use two flax eggs to make it vegan?

    • Katie — October 29, 2014 @ 6:53 am (#)

      Hi there! It’s actually 1 flax egg OR 1 chicken egg, so 1 flax egg will work just fine. The layout of the ingredients is confusing, so I’ll change that now :)

  9. Deneisha — April 17, 2015 @ 5:39 pm (#)

    I made these last night and am soooo impressed that I am making more tonight. My family loved them! From my 14 yo on down to my 18 month old :) I got about 7 like the recipe indicated. I did alter the recipe a bit. I used blackbeans because I did not have chickpeas. I also used bread crumbs in place of the oats (we ran out earlier this week). I also used whole wheat flour instead of the gluten free all -purpose flour. I now realize I had some of GF flour in my freezer.  Some other small variations were the seasonings…I did not use the chilli powder; I used some other all purpsose type of seasoning from Trader Joe’s. I also did not have pumpkin seeds so I did not add that. I though about adding flax seeds in it’s place but decided against that. 

    I shared pics with my family out of town after  slightly cooking in olive oil and they are now requesting them when they visit this summer!!

    Thanks for such a great recipe!!

    • Katie — April 18, 2015 @ 10:33 am (#)

      I’m so glad these were a hit! Thank you so much for your comment! I may need to give these a try with black beans…that alteration sounds amazing :)

  10. Liz — May 11, 2015 @ 5:07 pm (#)

    My goodness, these turned out AMAZING.
    I do have to add that they took longer to prepare than I thought they would, so much that I was getting frustrated. It was really easy work, but just more laborious compared to the cooking I usually do. And in addition to being a little frustrated, my skepticism toward the recipe grew. But despite all those feelings, these burgers are to die for! I served them to vegans and meat-eaters alike this weekend and they were a big hit. I will definitely make them again, and I’m thankful that I can now participate properly in barbeque’s! (because frankly, the veggie burgers/dogs you buy at the store are gross). Thank you so much for this recipe!
    As for any changes I made- I kept everything you had in them, but I added about twice the amount of spices you called for, used dijon mustard instead (about 2 tbs), added a bit of curry powder, garlic powder (and more fresh garlic just because I love garlic), and the nicest addition was 1 and 1/2 tbs of dried parsley to give it a bit of freshness without affecting the texture (because the texture on these burgers is GREAT as is). I’m not sure why, since I followed the recipe exactly, but it made way more than 7 patties (if you shape them to about the same size as beef patties). My batch made 12 exactly, hence why I added about twice the spices. I would definitely recommend these to anyone who wants to try a new and delicious type of burger! Thanks for the suggestion of avocado on top- that was delicious. I had these on poppyseed egg buns, the slight sweetness of which went perfectly with the flavours in the patty.

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  12. Tanya — August 7, 2016 @ 8:17 am (#)

    Hi! I was wondering if I could substitute a mix of millet/quinoa/amaranth for the millet as I have this mix on hand :) Thanks!

    • Katie — August 7, 2016 @ 9:24 am (#)

      I think so, but I can’t say for sure since I haven’t tried it myself. Let me know how it goes!