Recently I’ve got quite into making savoury cakes. You can be so creative with them and what fillings you use. They work for canapes, starters or main dishes, depending on how large you make them. Not to mention you can make double the mixture and put half in the freezer for another time! These Herb-Infused Lentil Cakes have a great texture (almost like a mini burger) and are bursting with flavour from the fresh coriander and parsley, and the spices. They have a crunch to them from the pumpkin seeds, which are a great source of protein, along with the red lentils.
I’ve been experimenting for a while with these sorts of cakes and giving them almost a meaty or solid sort of texture. I often found that if you wanted to bake them, they fell apart, but they would hold up in a frying pan. We often don’t want to fry all our food, so I started adding buckwheat flour to the mix. Buckwheat flour is also gluten free and has seemed to be the perfect solution. Other flours like oat flour or gram flour would work fine too. The milled linseed is also great for holding them together and acts as an egg replacement.
These lentil cakes have many of the spices of Indian food in them, which means they will taste delicious with a plain salad, or some potatoes and herby tahini dressing. In the photoshoot, the Herb-Infused Lentil cakes were paired with a delicious wild garlic pesto with some asparagus and new potatoes, because it is currently in season for all those delicious things. However you could make these larger & serve on a bun as a burger, serve with a curry sauce or even on top of spaghetti with some tomato sauce. They're pretty versatile!
Lentils have a subtle flavour which tastes amazing with the right seasoning. I chose red lentils for this dish, as when cooked they can go into a mushy state, which is perfect for burgers and savoury cakes. Be sure to strain them well once cooked by pressing down on them with a spoon when in the sieve; excess water will stop the cakes holding together so well.
There are some delicious herbs and spices in this dish. The fresh ones are coriander and parsley, which also add to the beautiful colour of the cakes. If you only have one herb available just use that - we don’t always have everything to hand! The fresh spinach also adds some more green colouring to the cakes, and goes beautifully with the other spices. If you don’t like some of the spices in the dish, they can be swapped for other ones, and you could add chili to them if you’re up for a hotter dish! The nutmeg is delicious as it gives a hint of sweet taste to them. You could add cinnamon if it takes your fancy!
Enjoy these Herb Infused Lentil Cakes as party food, an easy mid-week meal or even make them into bigger patties for burgers. The choice is yours!
Herb Infused Lentil Cakes
- ½ medium onion, chopped finely
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 bunch / bag fresh spinach, roughly chopped
- 2 cups dried red lentils
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 tbsp of each fresh parsley and coriander, chopped
- 3 tsp cumin
- 3 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 2 tbsp 2 tbsp Hemp seeds (milled / blended), optional
- 3 tbsp milled linseed
- ¼ cup (add an extra ¼ cup flour if mixture is too wet)
- Rinse the red lentils thoroughly then cook in 1.5L boiling water for around 30 minutes or until tender. They should soak up all the water (add more if needed). Once done, strain any excess water out by placing in a sieve over a bowl and pushing on the lentils with a spoon. Excess water will stop them holding together properly.
- Fry onion and garlic in the olive oil. Add the spinach so it wilts in. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a large mixing bowl put the onion, garlic and spinach, the lentils, pumpkin seeds, milled hemp seeds, tomato paste, parsley and coriander, cumin, linseed and flour. Mix all the ingredients in with your hands.
- Put the mix in the fridge to firm up for at least an hour.
- Form into smallish patties (up to you though how big you want them e.g. smaller if using them for canapes). Fry in oil or bake for 40-45 minutes at 200 C.