no meat for dinner?

I’m always experimenting with veggie-based main dishes, and I’m constantly trying to trick my husband into believing that dinner with no meat is still a good meal. Sometimes I’m successful in my meatless trickery, other times I’m not. 

Lentil rice cakes seem to pass my husband’s test of a decent meat free main course. It’s packed with flavor, it’s filling and healthy. I love making this recipe during the summer because good tomatoes are readily available. I’m talking about tomatoes that are naturally red, not those sorry excuses you see in the winter months, or ones that come from far-reaching lands and have sat in a hot house for weeks. Please, if you make this recipe, promise me you’ll use good tomatoes.


 My kitchen notes:

I found this recipe years ago in Cooking Light magazine and I adapted it a bit. I don’t particularly lean toward low fat/calorie recipes, but this one appealed to me. It doesn’t feel like there’s anything missing in terms of fat or flavor, like many light recipes.

Red Lentil Rice Cakes with Tomato Salsa 


3 cups of chopped cherry or grape tomatoes

1/4 cup fresh basil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon capers

1/4 teaspoon salt

Lentil Cakes 

5 cups  water, divided

1 cup dried small red lentils

1/2 cup rice

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper

1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 large egg whites, lightly beaten

1. To prepare the salsa combine the first 5 ingredients listed and set aside.

2. To prepare cakes, bring 4 cups of water and lentils to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender. Rinse with cold water and drain. Place lentils in a large bowl.

3. Combine remaining 1 cup of water and rice in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 18 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Cool for a few minutes and add rice to bowl with lentils.

4. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper, onion and garlic to pan. Saute until tender. Cool for a few minutes before adding ingredients to the lentil/rice mixture. Add mozzarella cheese and remaining ingredients, stirring until well combined. Let stand for a few minutes.

5. Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Form lentil/rice mixture into three-inch patties. Cook on each side for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Repeat procedure with 1 tablespoon of oil for each batch of lentil/rice patties.

6. Serve with salsa and enjoy.


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