If you have a garden, of almost any size, you’ll reach a point sometime in the growing season when your greens will start growing more quickly than you can harvest. This past winter I grew a couple types of kale alongside rainbow chard, and though the kale has almost all bolted now, the chard is fabulous.
These lentil patties are a way to use up those masses of greens – whether that’s chard, as pictured, or something like spinach. Of course you can also use store-bought, but these may get a little expensive in that case, as they use quite a lot of hardy greens.
Soaked red lentils make for a truly excellent patty texture. These are fried, so they have a delicious crisp exterior. Make sure to really blend until quite smooth, both to finely chop the vegetables, and to make an almost-paste from the lentils.
They’re delicious plain, but also good with avocado aioli or another dip like a tahini garlic sauce. We like these as a kind of wrap with sweet potato flatbread or spelt tortillas and stuffed with other vegetables like sprouts, cucumber, and pickled onions.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Red Lentils: ideally, soak overnight. For a quick method, soak in very hot water for at least an hour before blending. (Soaked lentils freeze very well, if you want to make this recipe often.)
- Eggs: two whole, or three egg whites, it has been tested with both. I like the egg white method when I’ve been using all my yolks for ice cream. For a vegan option, please see these red lentil patties, which are baked.
- Chickpea Flour: this both keeps the lentil patties gluten-free and adds extra binding power. You can use rye flour in a pinch but it’s better with chickpea.
- Leafy Greens: rainbow chard is pictured. You can add herbs, too – a handful of parsley is delicious here. Kale, spinach, rucola, even beet greens – these are all good options to replace chard, and can be used in any combination. You can use a lesser amount but don’t increase them.
- Onion: the smallest onion you have, or only about 30g. Too much onion and it overwhelms everything else.
- Lemon: use both the zest and juice, for a little brightness. A splash of apple cider vinegar can replace the lemon juice in a pinch, but it’s not as nice.
- Spices: as usual, the cayenne pepper is optional and I suggest leaving it out if you are very sensitive to spice.
Step by Step
These pictures are here to help indicate what the patty mixture should look like before frying. It is pretty liquid looking and the lentils should be very finely chopped.
1. Chop the greens: blend the hardy greens, onion, and garlic until very finely chopped.
2. Mix: add the remaining ingredients and blend until fine and liquid-looking. Cook as instructed and serve hot.
The patty mixture will seem quite liquid, but trust the eggs and chickpea flour. They will hold together as soon as they hit the hot pan. To make sure the patties are quite round, nudge the outer edges a bit with the spoon as soon as you drop the mixture into the pan.
The stalks of chard (or whatever leafy green you use) may be left on as they will be blended finely. I remove only the largest stalks, below where they meet the leaf, and blend the rest.
Storage and Make Ahead
Make Ahead: you can freeze the uncooked mixture in a sealed container, thaw, and cook as usual. It does get a tiny bit watery doing this, but adding a tablespoon or two of chickpea flour sorts it out. This makes a large batch and I often freeze half in this way. The mixture can be kept, uncooked, in the refrigerator for a day before using.
Storage: these will keep well in a sealed container in the refrigerator for several days, and are excellent cold. They make a good addition to wraps or other on-the-go lunches.
Freezing: place cooled patties in an airtight container and freeze to for to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating in a frying pan and serving.
- Soak those lentils: if the lentils aren’t soaked long enough, they won’t cook fully and the patties won’t work out. You can do a faster soak but I do recommend the overnight version.
- Preheat well: much like pancakes, if the pan isn’t hot enough, the first round of patties will be a flop. The pan should be hot before starting.
- Keep warm in the oven: if you want to keep the patties warm until serving, an oven set at about 80°C is perfect. They taste just as good cold, though.
More Lentil Recipes
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Lentil and Greens Patties
- 230 grams red lentils
- 300 grams leafy greens
- 1 small onion quartered
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 large eggs OR 3 egg whites
- 40 grams chickpea flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for cooking
- Zest of a lemon
- Juice of a lemon ~3 tablespoons
- 1 teaspoon sea salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper to taste
- Soak the red lentils overnight in enough cool water to cover. For a quick method, soak in very hot water for at least an hour.230 grams red lentils
- Add the greens, onion, and garlic to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Blend until very finely chopped, about a minute.300 grams leafy greens, 1 small onion, 2 cloves garlic
- Drain the soaked lentils in a fine sieve and rinse well.230 grams red lentils
- Add the soaked lentils, eggs, chickpea flour, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, cumin, pepper, and cayenne pepper to the food processor. Blend again until very fine and you have a loose paste with very few visible lentils.230 grams red lentils, 2 large eggs OR 3 egg whites, 40 grams chickpea flour, 2 tablespoons olive oil, Zest of a lemon, 1 teaspoon sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, Juice of a lemon
- Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add enough oil to just cover the base of the pan.
- Drop heaping tablespoons of the patty mixture into the hot pan, using the back of the spoon to nudge into rounder shapes (optional). Cook for 1-2 minutes on the first side, until browned, then flip and cook the second side for another 2 minutes.
- Repeat until all of the mixture has been cooked, adding oil to the pan as needed, and serve hot. Leftovers will keep for 2-3 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator and can be frozen up to a month.
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.