Burgers, meatballs, meatloaves and sausages can be made more sustainable, nutritious and cost-effective, but most importantly, delicious, when meat gets blended with pulses such as whole cooked lentils. Such blended products may be a bridge to the societal and health benefits people look for, while keeping meat on the plate.

An emerging ingredient in the blended space is lentils. Lentils are a type of pulse crop, which is a term that describes the edible seeds of legumes. They are high in protein, fiber and complex carbohydrates, while being low in fat and calories. They are also a source of other key nutrients, including folate, iron, manganese and potassium.

According to new research, combining lentils and beef is a winning combination for building a better blended product. The new study, funded by Lentils.org and Pulse Canada, found that substituting one-third of a lean beef patty with cooked lentils results in a blended burger that is more sustainable, nutritious and cost-effective.

Lentils are easy to incorporate into recipes. Whole lentils become soft and tender after cooking in water for about 20 minutes. Once pureed, they are readily blended with beef – or other ground meats – and formed into burgers, meatballs, meatloaves and sausages. Their addition keeps the product succulent, tasty and visibly appealing.