These red lentil quinoa cakes with harissa are nutritious, versatile, and easy to prepare from pantry ingredients.
At this time of year, many of us are comforting ourselves with the thought of spring produce–asparagus, chives, fresh greens–right around the corner. For now, though, we’re still doing a lot of cooking from our pantries, and the fresh ingredients we do have shine all the more brightly because they’re precious right now.
These red lentil quinoa cakes with harissa are a perfect example of a pantry meal that’s elevated by a few small touches: the fresh and slightly bitter taste of parsley, the heat of harissa paste, and a vibrant drizzle of my delightfully green tahini dressing.
Vegan cakes, like vegan burgers, are not easy to get right. My experience with both is that the absence of egg can make binding a little tricky. This gets easier if you use breadcrumbs, but in this recipe I used quinoa. The texture of the cakes is ever so slightly delicate, but they’re still sturdy and have a great, substantial texture. Steven and I really loved them, both as a dinner and then as leftovers (we stuffed them into pitas and piled them high with veggies and extra dressing).
Harissa is a chili pepper paste that’s widely used in North African and Middle Eastern cooking. I tend to buy it both in the form of a spice mix powder and as a paste. The paste is a bit zestier, but the powder will keep longer and can be easier to store. It’s optional in this recipe (cumin, paprika, and oregano still give the cakes lots of flavor), but it’s a really nice addition.
Of course, there’s no need to serve the lentil cakes with the rice pilaf, but this particular rice recipe is something of a go-to for me at home, so I thought it was worth sharing. The tahini dressing is just an option, too, but it really does make the red lentil quinoa cakes sing.
And that’s it. A satisfying, nutritious dinner that’s easy to prepare with dry ingredients, but freshened up by just a few green touches. Here’s hoping you enjoy this one as much as Steven and I did!
This Friday, I’ll be back with a new green recovery story. I look forward to sharing it. Enjoy the rest of your weeks!
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I made these last night and they came out great. The patties stayed perfectly intact when I flipped them. If I made them again I would add a little more spice and harissa. I served them with rice, a salad, and a cilantro lime cashew crema.
Sounds just delicious, Molly 🙂
This sure looks good and I will definitely try this recipe out!
Just made these lentil and quiona cakes. with your Delightfully Green Tahini dressing. I added chopped red peppers to the lentil cakes; everything tastes excellent!
Looks absolutely yummy! The tahini dressing makes it look all the more interesting!
looks super delicious 🙂
Wow, what a beautiful presentation! These sound really wonderful.
This look amazing, Gena! 🙂
These look absolutely great! I’ve made a similar dish with red lentils and bulger but I’m excited to try this one!
I cannot wait to make this; I literally have all those ingredients. And glad you found something to bind it together and stay sturdy; I find that always to be the hardest part.
Gena, can I just say that your photographs lately are off the charts gorgeous! If you can bottle some ‘o that photo mojo and send it my way that’d be swell 😉
Yum, this sounds and looks delicious!!!
These look delicious – and your photos are looking great too!
These look delightful! I’ve been in kind of a food rut lately and need some new flavors to make things exciting. I’ve never cooked with harissa before (or chickpea flour). Is there a decent substitute for chickpea flour? Would almond flour work?
I’d use brown rice or millet flour, if you want another GF flour (I don’t love almond flour for this sort of recipe) or if you aren’t specific about the recipe being gluten free, regular or WWPF would be fine, too. I hope you love it, Alex!
Perfect! Thanks Gena! Can’t wait to try this!
These sound delightful – I made some plain red lentil/quinoa cakes a few months ago, with just a touch of cayenne and cumin and they were delicious (even before they were baked) . Of course, your version sounds even more amazing with the delicious flavors you incorporated. I must try!