Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Recipe: Spicy Lentil-Sweet Potato Patties with Kale

(Photo: Mini spicy lentil patties with unflavored yogurt - almost gone! I was too busy hosting my dietitian SOLE Sisters book club to get a photo of the full plate.)

I've entered this delicious, nutritious, easy, and cost-conscious recipe in a contest sponsored by the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission. Did I mention that it is a beautiful dish to serve, too? The recipe pictured at the top of the post is the "mini" version, just right for appetizers. Tonight for supper I am going to pull out the larger patties that I froze when making this recipe last week as my own fast food that is really slow food. :-)

I'm sure there will be lots and lots of scrumptious sweet potato recipes entered into this contest. I'm looking forward to seeing them and experimenting with adding kale (or other Brassica greens) to them, too, like I did to this recipe.

Recipe: Spicy Lentil-Sweet Potato with Kale Patties

(Photo: cooked lentils with garlic and seasonings added, cooked sweet potato waiting to be peeled, frozen kale waiting to chop, whole grain bread crumbs)

• 2 cups (1# bag) dry green lentils (they look brown, not green)
• 2 bay leaves
• 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1 tsp. chili powder
• 1-2 tsp. ground cumin
• 1/2 tsp. coriander
• 1/2 tsp. black pepper
• 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper and mixed Italian herbs (each)
• 1 large sweet potato, baked, peeled, mashed
• 1-2 cups frozen kale, thawed, drained well, chopped small
• 1/2 cup bread crumbs (make yourself from left-over bread)
• 2 tsp. olive oil or parchment paper
• Fresh Salsa or unflavored yogurt

1) Combine lentils and bay leaf in large soup pot. Add water to cover by 3 inches. Boil until lentils are very tender, about 1 hour. Drain water from lentils and discard bay leaf. Transfer lentils to a large bowl and cool.
2) Then add seasonings. Stir with lentils until well blended. Cover lentils and refrigerate overnight.
3) Bake sweet potato(s) in oven or microwave. Cool, peel, and coarsely mash. Add mashed potato to lentil mixture the next day and mix well.
4) Chop kale, squeeze with your hands to make as dry as possible, then add to mixture
5) Using a spoon or both hands, form mixture into balls. Flatten each ball into a 1/2" pattie for the "mini" version. These can be any size (I made two dozen "mini-patties" plus several "burger-size"). Press breadcrumbs lightly onto patties. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes to 6 hours.
6) Heat in non-stick pan with small amount of olive oil or baked in oven on parchment paper until hot and crispy at 350 for 20-30 minutes (I baked mine). Flip over at the half-way point. Freeze any extras for a fast meal in the future.

(Photo: 24 mini spicy lentil patties ready to bake)

7) Serve warm or room temperature with salsa or plain, unflavored yogurt.

I served these mini patties (pictured at the top of the post) at my book club last week. Two different people tasted them before asking me what they were, and each independently declared that these were even better than falafel. Now that is a compliment!

Using sweet potatoes plus adding kale kicked this basic tasty lentil patty recipe up several notches for both flavor and nutrition. This recipe belongs in my file of "Nutrition Rock Stars" and will be used again and again in the future!

Where kale is more than decoration on my plate (plus I use sweet potatoes every chance I get)!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD


Jessica said...

Hi Diana! This looks delicious and I plan to make it for my 2-yr old (hubby and I too). I have dedicated myself to raising a healthy eater and so far he loves almost every healthy veggie/bean "patty" I've made for him so I'm always looking for fresh ideas. My question is regarding the kale...we eat strictly organic and I generally get fresh greens instead of frozen. Can this be done with fresh kale or should I find frozen? I'm guessing Whole Foods has it, I've just never looked. I have had some other green-veggie patties come out a bit mushy so I'm wondering if it has to do with always using fresh greens. Any thoughts on this? Thanks again...can't wait to try these!

Diana Dyer said...

Thanks for stopping by. Definitely use fresh kale if that is what you have available and/or prefer. I was using up my own frozen kale. I have some sweet potatoes already cooked so I am going to get some fresh kale to try it that way, too. Thanks for the inspiration. Hmmm, maybe I'll even mix in a bit of mustard greens, too, for a little extra zip, although that might be too zippy for your 2-year old!

Jessica said...

Oh thank you for your speedy reply. I spent some time on your site, as well as one of your others....what an inspiring story! You are a beautiful woman! My 94 year old grandmother has beaten cancer 6 times, starting with bone cancer about 35 years ago. Sadly, nearly eight years ago my older brother lost his fight with glioblastoma after only 4 months...he was just 35 with 4 yr old son and a newborn daughter. It changed my life in so many ways, and (among other things) I'm now much more aware of the foods and products we eat and use on a daily basis. I respect and admire your attitude and accomplishments! I've joined as a follower of your blog and will definitely be visiting often!

Diana Dyer said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your young brother while cheering for your grandmother and all you are doing to lead a life that will optimize the odds for health for your family. :-)

garfgarf said...

Hi, Jessica!
I was wondering if you'd tried this recipe with fresh kale yet. I've got a lovely bunch from my veggie box grinning at me as I type this, and am a bit concerned about the high water content. Perhaps I will blanch, chop and squeeze the kale to be on the safe side.

Unknown said...

I tried this recipe tonight and the flavor was great. My three young boys scarfed it up.

Unfortunately, I baked the patties and they fell apart in the oven. Thinking quickly, I cooked up some Israeli couscous and poured the "patties" over it. My 5-year old told his brother "It looks ugly, but it tastes yummy." It was a very successful meal.

Ingrid said...

I would agree with Christina's comment. Mine fell totally apart, but I ended up using it as burrito filing and it was AMAZING! Looks nuts, but is fabulous.

I also made modifications: a purple sweet potato instead of regular, and fresh kale. The texture was really interesting. I will make this again for sure!

Ingrid said...

I agree with Christina that mine totally fell apart, but I used it as a burrito filling and it was amazing! My roommate couldn't get enough - even though it looked crazy!

My modifications were using a purple sweet potato and using fresh kale. I think that the fresh kale was great for added texture. I should just have made it a bit smaller first.

Diana Dyer said...

Thanks for the feedback. They did not fall apart the times I have made them. However, I haven't made these for a while (too busy with finally moving to our farm, our son's wedding, and harvesting our garlic scapes, so I'll put it on the front burner so to speak of the gazillion great recipes to make again and pay attention to what happens to them this tim!