These vegan curried lentil vegetable cakes are a nutritious, versatile plant-based protein made with real food ingredients. You can add them to bowls, serve them with flatbread, pair them with rice and vegetables—there are so many ways to enjoy them!
Some recipes are more than the sum of their parts. They might look and sound simple, but for some reason or another, they’re more valuable than meets the eye.
I think that’s true of these plant-based, curried lentil vegetable cakes. They’re certainly flavorful and tasty to eat. But in this case, the unexpected value is versatility.
A great vegan patty—and by this I mean a burger, a falafel, or a plant-based cake, like these—can be used in so many ways! You can add them to grain bowls, serve them with flatbread, use them for lettuce wraps, or crumble them into salad.
The lentil vegetable patties are good to eat just the way they are. They’re even better with a sauce, and there are so many sauces pair them with (more on that below).
Best of all, the cakes can be prepared over the weekend and enjoyed all through the week. They’re an ideal component for your vegan meal prep routine.
The lentil vegetable cakes are meant to serve as a protein source within your vegan meals. As a result, they feature two good sources of vegan protein: lentils and quinoa. They’re also seasoned with spices and held together with ground flax seed.
The lentils that I use in this recipe are red lentils. Red lentils are a favorite ingredient of mine because they cook very quickly. I mix them into stews, soups, dips, and chili. Red lentils will seem to “melt” into recipes, loosing some of their round shape but thickening dishes nicely.
Quinoa is a protein-rich grain that also happens to be gluten-free, which makes the lentil vegetable cakes suitable for those who avoid gluten. I’ve had a lot of luck using it in burgers and patties, like these. It shows up in my white bean “meatballs,” white bean artichoke burgers, and quinoa chickpea za’atar burgers.
The nice thing about using red lentils and quinoa together is that they each take about 15-20 minutes to cook. They can be simmered in the same pot when you make the lentil vegetable cakes.
The predominant spice in the lentil vegetable cakes is from curry powder. You can use a blend that you like. I tend to prefer curry powders that are on the sweeter and more mild side. I also add cumin, extra turmeric (there’s typically some in the curry powder already), and coriander to the cakes.
As the recipe name suggests, there are plenty of veggies hiding in the lentil vegetable cakes! They include onion, carrot, celery, and garlic.
Many grain burgers or patties call for egg as a binder. Here, flax seed is mixed with warm water to make what’s known as a flax “egg.” Flax seeds develop a gelatinous texture when they’re mixed with water, and they become good binding agents in recipes.
I use flax eggs in savory recipes, and I often use them in my baking, too.
These cakes were made with plant-based staples from the folks at Nuts.com, who make it easy to stock a comprehensive, healthful vegan pantry.
Don’t have red lentils at home? Hate quinoa?
That’s OK. You can make some substitutions in the recipe. The red lentils can be substituted with brown or green lentils. The patties might taken on a slightly less appealing color, but I’m the first to say that brown food always tastes the best!
The quinoa, meanwhile, can be replaced with cooked millet.
If you choose to make these substitutions, you’ll need to cook the mixture longer than 20 minutes. 30 minutes is a safe bet. You may also find that the mixture is more crumbly without red lentils and/or quinoa, both of which are soft. You can pulse it in a food processor a few times to help break it down before you shape it into patties.
You’ll begin by simmering your quinoa and lentils together until both are tender and fully cooked, about twenty minutes. While you do that, you can prepare your flax egg and chop up your vegetables.
Next, you’ll sauté the vegetables for the lentil vegetable cakes in a little bit of oil. You’ll add the spices to the mixture, followed by the cooked quinoa and lentils. Taste the mixture at this point and make sure that the seasonings are to your liking.
At this point, you can shape the mixture into patties and transfer them to a lined baking sheet. They’ll go in a preheated oven to bake: about 15-20 minutes per side, flipping once halfway through cooking.
The goal is for the patties to be crisping up evenly and turning a nice, golden color.
As I mentioned above, the lentil vegetable cakes are great for your weekly vegan meal prep. They can be prepared, baked, and then stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.
Additionally, you have the option to prepare the lentils and quinoa in advance. Store those components in a storage container in the fridge for a night or two. When you’re ready to finish the recipe, you can sauté the vegetables as directed, adding your pre-cooked grains and legumes.
The curried lentil vegetable cakes can easily be frozen! They’re freezer-friendly for at least six weeks. I like to freeze mine in Stasher Bags and pop one or two out when I need them.
I like the lentil vegetable cakes with rice or flatbread, such as naan bread or pita. I love to eat them in lettuce cups, with chutney. They can be broken up and tossed into a salad with your favorite vegetables, beans, or whole grains and a good salad dressing.
You can also enjoy a few of the cakes with a good vegetable side dish, like sautéed greens.
No matter what, I think the cakes are even more enjoyable with a great sauce or condiment. Here are some options:
There’s nothing like the feeling of preparing a homemade, versatile vegan protein over the weekend and then shaping balanced meals around it for days to come. These lentil vegetable cakes can fit neatly into all of your power plates.
This post is sponsored by Nuts.com. All opinions are my own. Thank you for your continued support.