Hi friends! Let’s play a game! It’s called “help Mary feel like she’s in the land of Christmas.” I’m imagining myself in your place at home, probably surrounded by warm eggnog and plates of Christmas cookies. That sounds really awesome right now. I’d probably have slippers on, and the fire going, and perhaps even a little bit of Christmas music in the background… Maybe a jolly bearded man in a red suit would make an appearance! Ha! This is SO far from my reality right now, it’s not really even conceivable. There is little to no sign of Christmas, or any December holiday I’m familiar with, existing over here. I *have* seen a few signs (like at yoga) announcing early closures on the 24th and 25th, but basically life is continuing as normal.
So you’re gonna have to help me by posting extra instagrams of cookies and lattes and presents and friends and family and snow and TREES and all things sugary and amazing. K? Thanks. Also: dogs in sweaters. Gets me EVERY TIME! I’m seriously missing my Christmas jammies (which actually turned out to be all-the-time jammies) and can’t wait to return to the land of fair isle warmness!
Instead of holiday madness, though, I am cooking up things like LENTILS! Aaah, some of my favorite little protein bombs. Mix these in with some lemongrass and douse them in creamy red goji berry sauce and you have a winner! Seriously. Get your healthy on — you won’t regret it!
This recipe is unlike some of my other patties/cakes recipes in that there is no flour to hold it together. You’ll notice I give you the option, if you want it, but I didn’t use any for the cakes I made in these pictures. They held together pretty well, I think because of the cashews. So don’t skip the cashews! If you’re worried about cohesive patties, throw in some oats, oat flour, or whole wheat flour — or whatever other flour you like to use.
As I’m discovering with most recipes these days: the key is the sauce. You’ll want to DROWN these in the sauce! It’s definitely the brightly-colored star of the show! Goji berries are kinda sweet, kinda tangy, and mixed with the sesame and tahini they’ll make a creamy sauce I’d challenge your unknowing guests to put their fingers on. I’m not sure I’d be able to guess what was in it, before having made it! Whatever: IT’S AMAZING. So make it!
I hope you’re having a wonderful week! Keep those wintery reminders coming!
- Lentil Cakes
- 6" fresh lemongrass stalks (you may need more than one to get 6" total)
- 1 cup dry lentils
- ½ cup whole cashews
- 1 large carrot
- ½ onion
- 3 large garlic cloves
- 1 small red Asian pepper (or jalapeño would work)
- 1" chunk of fresh ginger
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- salt & pepper
- *1/2 cup flour of your choice (optional)
- ⅓ cup dried goji berries, soaked in ⅔ cup boiling water for at least 30 minutes
- 1 lemon
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- ⅓ cup tahini
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil (+ more if you want)
- salt & pepper
- With the back of your knife, or a rolling pin, beat the lemongrass until it is soft and split open. Remove the outermost layer (and any other very tough layers). Chop the remaining lemongrass quite fine, and divide in half.
- Add half of the lemongrass to a pot with three cups of water, plus the lentils. Bring to a boil, and let cook until the lentils are done. Drain and remove from heat when the lentils are soft.
- While the lentils are cooking, dry roast the cashews in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook them, shaking them and flipping them, until they are golden brown. Remove from heat.
- Combine the remaining lemongrass, carrot, onion, garlic, spicy pepper, fresh ginger, and sesame oil in a food processor (you may roughly chop them first, if you want). Pulse until fairly finely ground, but not a paste. Add the finished lentils and pulse a few more times. You want a cohesive blob, but individual lentils should still be visible.
- Season the mixture with ample salt and pepper, mixing with a wooden spoon.
- *If you feel you want extra sticking power at this point, or your mixture is extremely wet, add the flour of your choice. I recommend whole wheat or oat flour, 1 Tbsp at a time, until the mixture seems dry enough to hold together. For these pictures I did NOT use any flour, so I know it's possible, but I also know they would have been easier to work with had I used a bit of flour or oats.
- Form the mixture into small patties and cook over medium heat until both sides are golden-brown. If you aren't using a nonstick pan, make sure to use enough oil to prevent sticking.
- To make the sauce, combine all ingredients (minus the water you soaked the goji berries in — but save it in case you want to thin the sauce!) in the blender and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve the lentil cakes hot and covered in sauce!