Red Lentil Falafel in a Naanwich

January 08, 2018

I started making these little lentil burgers about a year ago and Graham has been telling me to share them ever since. He says they remind him of chicken nuggets (gross) but can't explain why - I love how simple and flexible they are to make. I soak and freeze jars of red lentils as part of my weekly batch cooking, but was only making this soup with them. We were low on groceries on a weekend and the freezer was empty apart from some soaked red lentils, so I tried making burgers from them, thinking I'd end up with one giant pancake falafel. Turns out red lentils make a great solid-textured burger, but only if they're soaked! Please don't try this with dry or cooked lentils, you won't like the results. Another nice thing is that since red lentils only need about an hour for a quick soak if you're pressed for time, these work well for when there aren't any cooked legumes on hand and you don't have time to boil chickpeas for hours.

The plan was to share these patties in a bowl, but I had made naan and it was just good luck that I tried them in a naan taco with a big spread of hummus, greens, and pickled onions. Total sandwich ecstasy. This'd be awesome as a pita for a work/school lunch and it's a fun dinner idea to give a few fillings with the naan and lentil falafel for a build-it-yourself meal. Any kind of pickle works in place of the onions but I think a little crunch and acid makes a big difference, and the onion is such a pretty colour. The lentil falafel are gluten/grain free with a little nuttiness from chickpea flour, which helps hold everything together. Make sure you check the tips below the recipe for some options, I've made these a hundred different ways!

This is a partner recipe with the easy spelt naan I posted a couple of days ago, but I often make the lentil falafel with roasted veggies, rice, potatoes, or whatever. They're like the vegan version of chicken breast. Not sure what to make? Red lentil burgers! With anything at all!

Let's connect! Tag me on instagram @occasionallyeggs and #occasionallyeggs so I can see what you're making, or stay in touch via Facebook, pinterest, and Bloglovin

Red Lentil Falafel in a Naanwich
Serves four or makes about 20 small patties

Red Lentil Falafel

1 small red onion
2 cloves garlic
A handful of parsley
1 cup soaked red lentils*
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chickpea flour*
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
Juice of a lemon

Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the onion, garlic, and parsley into the bowl of a food processor and blend until finely chopped. Add the lentils, oil, flour, spices, and lemon juice, then pulse until combined and you can form loose balls with the mixture.

Form golf ball sized patties and place them onto the prepared baking sheet. They will spread slightly so leave some space between each. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden and serve hot. Leftovers freeze well and can be refrigerated up to three days.

For the Naan Sandwiches:
1 batch easy spelt naan
1 cup hummus
1 cup rucola or another green
1/4 cup pickled onions, or another pickle
1/4 cup chopped parsley

• You can also add a grated carrot to the lentil falafel (add a beet instead to make them pink), leave out the parsley or sub it for another herb like cilantro, add turmeric and other spices, or use apple cider vinegar in place of the lemon juice. These are very flexible.
• You can use the stems and leaves of the parsley.

1. This is measured after the lentils have been soaked. Try to soak them overnight or for 24 hours, but at minimum one hour in warm water.
2. I've also made these with rye flour, but prefer using chickpea flour.

4 comments on "Red Lentil Falafel in a Naanwich"
  1. Wow, I did not realize you could make lentil patties with uncooked lentils. Must try! All these colors look amazing together.

    1. It's crazy, isn't it? It was such a lucky fluke! Thanks, Alex :)

  2. These look really amazing! But I am as well wondering if raw lentils are really ok? I thought they are toxic?

    1. Hi Anja! I understand your concern, but as the lentils are baked in the burgers they are indeed cooked :)