We go veggies again today with these red lentil patties served with a garlic-herb tahini sauce. Both vegan and gluten-free, they are bursting with savory flavors, hearty texture, and oodles of plant-based protein.
Whenever I want to cook something easy, comforting and nourishing, I go for red lentils. I am totally obsessed with these lovely small lens shaped seeds, which colors can range from gold to orange to actual red. If I like all sorts of lentils, the red ones are to me the sweetest and the nuttiest that exist. In terms of cooking, they are usually done in about 20-25 minutes (while green lentils usually need 45 minutes).
Red lentils tend to get mushy when cooked through, which makes them perfect for Indian dahls or other curries, or simply for thickening soups. One of my very first recipes on the blog was indeed a red lentil dahl with roasted pumpkin and hazelnut. I was obviously still a beginner in food photography (forgive my poor picture here) but the dish was absolutely delicious! Most of the time, I go for this one or for a simple dahl with onions, carrots, and spices I have at hands. It’s a very forgiving dish so you can go your own way, playing with flavors and textures.
And now I have a new favorite: these red lentil patties! When I think about it, I wonder why I never thought about this idea before! I use the exact same ingredients as the ones I put in my regular dahl (onions-carrots-red lentils-spices), and I simply use some oats as a binder to helps hold the shape of the patties. Then I mix it up! At this stage, the mixture is quite mushy so you might need to use a little bit more oats but don’t use too much because you don’t want your patties to be dry. You can either shape them by hands if you are not too afraid of having your hands dirty, or use a 1/3 cup measuring cup as I did here. You don’t have any measuring cup at home? Do not worry, two tablespoons will do the trick!
Yes it is that simple to make these red lentil patties. Plus, they are extremely healthy! Nutty and earthy in flavor, lentils have a high nutritional value that anyone can benefit from by incorporating this healthy legume into their diet. Of all legumes and nuts, lentils contain the third-highest levels of protein (26 percent of lentil’s calories are attributed to protein). It makes them a wonderful source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. They are also a good source of dietary fiber, which play an important role in lowering cholesterol and preventing heart disease, and are loaded with essential nutrients (including folate, vitamin B6, phosphorus, iron and zinc, among others).
Entirely vegan and gluten free, these patties are prepared with oats for an additional source of fiber, and with carrots, that are rich in beta-carotene, but also fiber, vitamin K, potassium, and antioxidant. The easiest way to enjoy them is to serve them straight from the oven (or just a few minutes after, to give the patties the time to cool a little and keep their shape), but if you are not too much on the healthy side, you can also complete the cooking by stir-frying them a couple of minutes in a hot frying pan with some olive oil.
Now what to say about the sauce? Garlic, herbs, tahini… everything is said in its name. By simply combining all the ingredients together, you’ve got a perfect dressing that will bring some freshness to the patties. I like it garlicky so I usually add two cloves of garlic, but it’s up to you to decide. Same with the texture: feel free to add more water if you want it more liquid. If you are allergic to tahini, you can instead go for my vegan aioli and add the herbs in the end.
I hope you will try this healthy tasty and nourishing recipe, as I’m pretty confident it will soon become a favorite in your house too, whether you are vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, or simply a plant-based lover!
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4–5 large carrots, sliced
- 1 cup split red lentils, thoroughly rinsed
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 pinch of salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh chives
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- ⅓ cup tahini
- 2½ tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp water, or more if needed
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro
- ¼ cup fresh parsley
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 pinch of salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- In a medium saucepan, heat one tablespoon of olive oil and melt the chopped onions until slightly golden. Add the carrots, cover with water, and cook until fork-tender. Strain carrots and onions and set aside.
- Meanwhile, cover the lentils with two cups water and cook until tender, about 20-25 minutes. If needed, add more water to keep the lentils submerged. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.
- Add the onions, carrots, cooked lentils, ½ cup of the rolled oats, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil to a food processor. Season with paprika, cumin, salt and black pepper. Pulse 15 to 20 times, or until the mixture is chunky and all ingredients are well incorporated, stopping to scrape down the sides halfway through pulsing.
- Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl, and add the reserved ½ cup rolled oats, chives, and cilantro. Use a spoon to mix well, ensuring all ingredients are evenly dispersed. The mixture should be damp but able to hold its shape. If not, add more oats.
- Use a ⅓-cup measuring cup to scoop out ⅓ cup of the mixture. Form the mixture into patties, and transfer to the lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining mixture. You should have 15-18 patties.
- Bake the patties for 23 to 25 minutes, or until golden-brown.
- Remove from the oven and cool a few minutes on the pan before moving. They'll continue to firm up as they cool.
- For the garlic-herb tahini sauce: add all ingredients to a food processor and process until emulsified and the sauce just begins to take on a soft green color. The herbs should be very finely chopped. Transfer to an airtight jar or container and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Enjoy the patties warm with a side of salad or tucked into a warm pita bread, and drizzle with the tahini sauce.