Lentil patties

They may not look especially fab, and they are a wee bit of a faff to make, but - and it's a big but - they taste good (a bit like like chili con carne - with the meat, even though they are vegan), they freeze well (and can easily be reheated under the grill from frozen), and, as you will see in a couple of weeks time, they can be used to make a stunning lunch if a vegetarian friend happens to pop round and you have a dozen or so in your freezer. Imagine the brownie points you would score for that!

Time to fess up, though. This is the second time I made these for this post. The first lot (from the old recipe) were really difficult, fell apart during cooking, had a texture like truly tough meat, and weren't vegan. I really couldn't post that recipe in all good conscience. So I adapted it, because the basis of that recipe was sound.

Let's talk ingredients and substitutions. I wouldn't use anything but lentilles vertes for my patties, though at a pinch you could substitute red split lentils cooked for a much shorter time until they are just tender.

Part of the problem with the patties' texture was because I used Grant loaf. They ended up like burnt spoonfuls of mince. You'll see that I've substituted a commercial wholemeal sandwich loaf in its place. It's still not right. The crumb is now TOO soft. Something like a sourdough loaf would work better, as might a loaf from a Turkish or Greek bakery; something with a bit of texture to it. Perhaps, now I've removed the egg from the recipe, Grant loaf would work just fine? I'm even wondering about using wholegrain rye bread next time.

This mix, with the addition of the right bread, would make excellent burgers, by the way: maybe shaped inside a pastry cutter?

To freeze: wait till they are thoroughly cold, then freeze on a tray in a single layer. Once frozen, you can bag them up.

To reheat from frozen: place under a medium grill, turning occasionally until they a hot all the way through.

Makes about 20 small patties; 1 serve = 6 - 8 patties.


125g (2/3 of a cup) lentilles vertes

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, grated

1 large clove crushed garlic

1 tablespoon of oil, plus extra for shallow frying

1 chilli, finely sliced

1 scant teaspoon cumin seeds

1 scant teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

a good pinch of black pepper

2 slices of supermarket (or other) bread, blitzed into crumbs

(though preferably something better)

100g gram flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

a scant 1/2 cup of water

If you're unfamiliar with any of the ingredients, find out more about them here:



Simmer the lentils in lightly salted water for 35 minutes (or till they're tender), then drain (saving the stock for soup, perhaps?).

Now fry the onions in a frying pan in a tablespoon of oil. When they begin to cook, add the grated carrot and fry for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so everything cooks evenly. Make a well in the middle and add the chilli, garlic, and cumin seeds. Stir them in gradually so they get a chance to toast for a minute or so before adding the ground cumin and coriander and the pepper.


Make a batter with the gram flour, salt and water.


Add the lentils, the spiced vegetables, and the breadcrumbs and stir the mix well.


Shallow fry heaped dessertspoonfuls in hot oil.  I use two spoons: one to scoop, and the other shape the mix and to dislodge it into the oil. Cook in batches of six or so over a low-to-medium heat, for 3 - 4 minutes on each side.

Drain on kitchen towel and serve.

Any questions? You can use the comments form at the bottom of the page.

Did you know?

You'll find recipes at the back of all the books in the Send for Octavius Guy series:

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