Lentils are amazing. Filling, cheap ($2/pound dry), often available in bulk and full of protein (26% by weight) and fiber (31%). I never knew how amazing they really were, until I went plant-based and started experimenting making new vegan recipes.
Lentils are part of the legume family and Canada produces about 50% of the world’s lentils. Superfood and grown close – score.
One of the ways lentils totally impress omnivores (and recently converted vegans) is by their ability to substitute hamburger meat (ground beef) in almost all recipes. Taco filling, lasagna, minestrone soup, pasta sauce, you name it. Speaking of which, you can find my recipe for vegan, Swedish moussaka (lentil and potato casserole) on Mother Earth Living Blog right now :) (Go check me out!!)
Today I am sharing another Swedish recipe for abso-lentil-ly delicious vegan, lentil patties or what my husband calls “vegadeller”.
First let me tell you that these are not easy to fry just right. Contrary to meat patties, burgers or steaks, heat doesn’t travel the same way within plants. There’s no browning the outside surface first and then waiting for the patty to slowly heat and cook “automatically” (chicken grill-masters know what I am talking about). Nope, you have to saute them super slooooow, in an abundance of oil. I’ve failed multiple times and made lentil crumbles… Luckily they taste amazing like that too ;)
Here’s what you need for 8-10 vegadeller:
- 2 small carrots, shredded
- 1 medium sized yellow onion, chopped (really fine)
- 1/2 cup dry lentils (mixed types work well)
- 0.4 cups flour (gluten-free mix or regular)
- 1 tbsp bread crumbs and 1 tbsp water
- salt, paprika, garlic powder to taste (vegan food is safe to taste uncooked!)
Here’s what you do:
- Rinse and boil the lentils in water; 25-30 minutes will make them soft and mashable with a fork. Rinse in colander after boiling.
- Mix the bread crumbs with water, let sit. It should turn into a “paste” after just a few minutes. Add more crumbs if consistency is runny, more water if dry. This paste helps “bind” the patties.
- If you haven’t already shredded carrots and chopped the onion, do it!
- Mash the lentils with a fork and mix them with carrots, flour, crumbsy-paste and spices. Add onion bit by bit. Too much onion or too big chunks of onion will make the patties fall apart so stay on the safe side. We want a sticky mash-up.
- Form 1.5″-2″ diameter patties. It’s ok if they are different sizes, just try to make them similar thickness and quite flat (thin) for easier cooking.
- Heat the pan to low-medium heat, add oil to cover the bottom and saute sloooow and carefully. As you cook them, add oil so they don’t stick. Yes, it’ll take a while but don’t stress them. THIS IS KEY for success.
I like to serve vegadeller with roasted potatoes, veggies and vegan bearnaise sauce (which we personally import ready-made from Sweden) or with cold (vegan) potato salad for summer. Let me know if you need a recipe!
One last word: If you can’t get the center of the patties to cook (they seem mashy and raw) turn down heat, give them more time or chop them up in anger with your spatula; also known as “you just made lentil crumbles”. You can use your tasty crumbles as salad topping (the potato salad you made will work!), in soup, on pizza. They freeze well also and are delicious. Then, please give the recipe another try. Play around with the ratios of ingredients and the heat in your skillet. Like I said, I’ve failed at this recipe too. They’re worth some practice though :)