Saturday, April 18, 2009

Red Lentil-Rice Cakes with Simple Tomato Salsa

This took a really long time to make and I am really tired now. After a day of packing, this was not really the best idea of what to make. But oh well. I needed to use up some ingredients in our Moving Challenge.

Things I used up to create this meal:
Basmati rice
Yellow split peas (subbed for the red lentils)
Capers

Despite taking forever to make, it was good. Even the salsa. We both liked this and thought it was very yummy, but I don't really want to make it again because it took so freaking long. Maybe if I had some leftover basmati rice to use up. I don't know. Something AWESOME about this recipe: when I put the mixture in the pan, I thought, "There is no way the cakes are going to stay together, there's nothing binding or cohesive in them. Let's go to Taco Bell." But I was amazed to discover that in a rare occurrence, the patties actually retained their shape. It was incredible! That wins this recipe some points.

lentils

Red Lentil-Rice Cakes with Simple Tomato Salsa
Cooking Light, 10/08

Crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside, these salsa-topped cakes make a lovely vegetarian entrée. They offer a great way to use leftover basmati rice; if you're starting with cooked rice, use about 1 1/2 cups. Add mixed greens to the plate for even more color.

Salsa:
3 cups finely chopped plum tomato (about 6 tomatoes)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons capers
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cakes:
5 cups water, divided
1 cup dried small red lentils
1/2 cup uncooked basmati rice
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup dry 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 salsa, combine first 5 ingredients; set aside at room temperature.

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

3. Combine remaining 1 cup water and rice in pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 18 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Cool 10 minutes. Add rice to lentils.

4. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper, onion, fennel seeds, and garlic to pan; saute 2 minutes or until tender. Cool 10 minutes. Add to rice mixture. Add mozzarella cheese and remaining ingredients, stirring until well combined. Let stand for 10 minutes.

5. Wipe skillet clean with paper towels. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Spoon half of rice mixture by 1/3-cupfuls into pan, spreading to form 6 (3-inch) circles; cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Carefully turn cakes over; cook 5 minutes on other side. Remove cakes from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and remaining rice mixture. Serve with salsa.

Yield: 6 servings

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