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Red Lentil & Quinoa Cakes With Basil Cream

Frances Largeman-Roth, R.D.
Registered Dietitian By Frances Largeman-Roth, R.D.
Registered Dietitian
Frances Largeman-Roth, R.D. is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, a New York Times best selling author and nationally recognized nutrition and wellness expert.
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Quinoa is the new chicken breast. It’s a quick, low-fat way to get more protein in your diet.

Red Lentil & Quinoa Cakes With Basil Cream

Serves 8


  • 1 teaspoon salt plus a pinch of salt
  • 1 cup (175g) uncooked quinoa, preferably sprouted
  • 1 cup (200g) dried red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups (300g) chopped yellow onio
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, whisked, or 1 large egg, and 2 large egg whites

For the basil cream:

  • 1⁄2 cup (125ml) 2% fat Greek yogurt
  • 1⁄2 cup (30g) packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraîche


1. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1⁄2 cups (350ml) of water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse. (Sprouted quinoa does not need to be rinsed before cooking.) Add the quinoa to the boiling water, cover, and cook over medium-high heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until all the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat, stir, cover again, and let steam for 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

2. In a separate saucepan, combine the lentils, turmeric, ginger, cumin, pepper, remaining 1 teaspoon of salt, and 3 cups (750ml) of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes, until the lentils are cooked down to baby food consistency and all the water has been absorbed. Let cool to room temperature.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes, until translucent. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool. Wipe the pan clean and set aside.

4. Make the basil cream: Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until creamy.

5. When the quinoa and lentils are cool, combine them in a large bowl and add the sautéed onion, flour, and eggs.

6. Heat the remaining 11⁄2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat in the reserved pan. Add the lentil mixture to the pan in 1⁄4-cup (60ml) portions in two batches, flattening the patties slightly. Cook 5 minutes per side, until golden brown.

7. Serve 2 cakes per person topped with a tablespoon of the basil cream.

Excerpted with permission from Eating in Color: Delicious, Healthy Recipes for You and Your Family by Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2014).

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