Lately I've been feeling more and more guilty about the number of meat-centric meals I've been cooking lately. I've convinced myself that this is all Boyfriend's fault.... but in reality, I 99% sure I'm just being lazy. Maybe it's just me, but I (and probably most Americans) find it easier to come up with menus that start with a "protein" instead of a vegetable. However, now that my CSA share has started I have no choice but to cook more vegetarian and vegetable-heavy meals otherwise my fridge and freezer will soon become overwhelmed with produce.
Last night I made some lentil cakes for dinner. Most people would probably call them lentil "burgers"... but even when I was a vegetarian it annoyed me when we'd always try to make non-meat things more like meat. Plus, I thought I would get some flack from Boyfriend if I called the burgers, seeing as they are in no way the "burgers" he'd assume he was getting.
Step 1: Cook the lentils
I decided to use red lentils because they (are prettier), cook super fast, don't need overnight soaking, and are rich in B vitamins, fiber and folate. Yes... I'm still trying this diet thing...
1.5 C red lentils + enough water to cover by 2 inches or so + bring to a boil, then simmer = 10min (or less) cooked lentils!
I drained the lentils and just left them to cool on the stove while I prepped the other ingredients.
Step 2: Other Ingredients
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2.5 large carrots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsps ground cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper (use less if spice intolerant)
3/4 C whole wheat bread crumbs
1/4 C chopped fresh parsley
salt & pepper
extra virgin olive oil (2 tbsps?)
Put olive oil in pan, heat to medium, add onions and cook till soft and starting to brown. Add carrots, cook till starting to soften, then add garlic. I always add my garlic towards the end because burnt garlic TOTALLY ruins a dish and that terrifies me.
Once that has cooked to desired softness, add cumin, cayenne, bread crumbs, parsley, salt and pepper and remove from heat. Looks super-boring in photo, but smelled awesome!
Step 3: Make lentil cakes
I mixed together the cooked red lentils and the onion/carrot mixture and formed them into patties. I thought I might need an egg or 2 to hold these together but they held their shape just fine. You may or may not need an egg depending on humidity and/or how wet/dry your lentils are.
I oiled a baking sheet and brushed both sides of my patties with olive oil then threw them under the broiler for about 4-5min per side. Flip when getting crispy. Check them often! I am very good at burning things in the broiler....
I served this over salad (with radishes from my CSA box) with a yogurt sauce on the side. The sauce was just a mix of greek yogurt (about 1.5 cups), 1 minced clove of garlic (could have used more), the juice from 1/2 a lemon, salt and pepper.
I really enjoyed this dinner. It was light yet filling, and I even got a "this is really good" from Boyfriend. I felt that the inside got a little dry for my tastes, but next time maybe I won't cook the onions as much so that they release some liquid inside the patties. Or I could always just stuff them with cheese.....
I think this would have been great with a crisp white wine, light earthy red (Pinot Noir?), or beer, Boyfriend chose scotch, but I wasn't drinking due to a fun but ultimately embarrassing Saturday night. Don't ask.