Red Lentil Rice Cakes with Cilantro Pesto

If you’re looking for a festive meatless snack to jazz up your holiday spread, these rice cakes are just the thing! Red lentils and bell peppers add scarlet flecks to the lightly fried cakes, while a verdant cilantro pesto compliments the dish with both flavor and flair. This recipe comes to us from Chef Marti Wolfson of the Natural Gourmet Institute and was included in one of her recent Meatless Monday classes.

Makes 16 small cakes.

For the Red Lentil Rice Cakes:

  • 11 cups water, divided
  • 2 cups dried small red lentils
  • 1 cup uncooked basmati rice
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, divided (plus more as needed)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup panko or gluten free breadcrumbs
  • 3 large egg whites, lightly beaten
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the Cilantro Pesto:

  • 1 large bunch cilantro
  • 2-3 tablespoons walnuts
  • 2-3 tablespoons miso paste
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the rice cakes:

Bring 8 cups water, lentils and generous pinch of salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain again. Place lentils in a large bowl.

Combine remaining 3 cups water, rice and generous pinch of salt in a pot; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Cool 10 minutes. Add rice to lentils.

Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper, onion, and garlic; sauté 2 minutes or until tender. Cool 10 minutes. Add to rice mixture along with the cilantro, breadcrumbs, egg whites and generous pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well. If the mixture is too wet add more breadcrumbs.

Wipe skillet clean with paper towels. Heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil in skillet over medium heat. Shape ¼ cup spoonful of the mixture at a time into flat round cakes and place into the pan. Cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned on each side. Carefully turn cakes over; cook 5 minutes on other side. Remove cakes from pan.

Repeat procedure adding more oil to the pan if it gets too dry. Serve with Cilantro Pesto.

For the pesto:

In a food processor, pulse together all of the ingredients except the oil.

Drizzle in oil while blade is running until emulsified.

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Nutrition Information

Red Lentil Rice Cakes with Cilantro Pesto

Servings per Recipe: 16

Amount per Serving

Calories:  204

Calories from Fat:  58

Total Fat:  6g

Saturated Fat:  3g

Cholesterol:  0mg

Sodium:  266mg

Carbohydrates:  28g

Dietary Fiber:  8g

Protein:  9g

Sugars:  1g

Vitamin A:  7%

Vitamin C:  21%

Calcium:  3%

Iron:  12%

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