Southwest Lentil Patties with Creamy Lime Dressing


After I posted about BBQ Baked Lentils, a few people noted that they had never used lentils except for in salads and soups. To be honest those — and Indian dishes — are where my mind immediately goes when I think about lentils too. But you probably won’t see much in that respect as I continue explore the world of lentils over the next two weeks. First, because two weeks worth of soup, salad, and Indian food would be boring — both to read and to eat. Second, because I wanted to look at this as an opportunity to challenge myself. To think outside the box and come up with some really fun and creative recipes. Rest assured, if the recipes aren t delicious you won’t see them here.

Since lentils are so often used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine, I decided to mix things up and try using them in a southwest style dish. I also wanted to play with texture a little, so these southwest lentil cakes were born! I really loved the way these turned out — they actually reminded me a little of falafel. I was nervous that they might be dense and dry, but I shouldn’t have worried. The slightly crispy outside gave way to a light and fluffy center that was full of moisture. The creamy lime dressing played up the Southwest flavor of these patties ad balanced out some of the heat from the jalapenos that I added to them.


The patties and dressing were great on their own – I also think they would make a fantastic wrap-style sandwich — but to make them into a healthy dinner I built a salad around them. Some chopped romaine hearts tossed with fresh corn, diced tomatoes, creamy avocado, and a little extra cilantro topped with the lentil cakes and dressing made a wonderfully light yet filling dinner.


[print_this]Southwest Lentil Patties with Creamy Lime Dressing

Lentils take a trip to the Southwest with these patties flavored with jalapeno and cumin. The cool, creamy lime dressing adds a little bit of zing while balancing out the heat. Eaten alone, these are a great snack, but they can also form the foundation of a healthy and satisfying meal.

  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into a small dice
  • 1 cup cooked lentils
  • 1 egg + egg white, beaten
  • 2 Tbs cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tbs + 1 tsp cumin, divided
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 4 Tbs reduced fat sour cream
  • salt

To make the patties: Heat the oil in a large skillet or frying pan. Sauté the jalapeno, garlic, onion, and carrot until they are soft, about 3 minutes. Add the cooked vegetable mixture to a large bowl and mix in the lentils, egg, cilantro, breadcrumbs, and 1 Tbs cumin. The mixture should be pretty wet and a little sticky.

From tablespoon sized portions of the lentil mixture into rounds, then use your hand to press them into a patty shape that’s about the size of a half-dollar coin around and a half inch high (you should get about 9 patties). Place your frying pan back over medium-high heat and add the patties. Cook for about 2 minutes or until the bottom has browned and formed a thin crust. Flip and cook for another 2 minutes.

To make the dressing: Whisk together the lime juice, sour cream, 1 tsp cumin, and salt to taste.

Serves 3.
Approx. 175 calories, 7 grams fat, 6 grams fiber, 10 grams protein


Don’t forget to enter my latest giveaway, featuring a 5.5 quart enamel cast iron dutch oven!

Through June 15, I will be blogging healthy and unique recipes featuring lentils and dried peas under a sponsorship agreement through the USA Lentil and Dy Pea Council. I will then be choosing my favorite recipe to be in a contest that will be held at Although these posts are sponsored, opinions in them are my own and all recipes are original unless otherwise noted.


  1. I actually am not really sure that I could ever get bored of Indian food…but that’s probably just me :P

    I love how you used the lentils here. So out-of-the-box to mix them with southwestern flavors! And really I love anything that resembles a falafel. Awesome!

  2. I love Indian, and you might be seeing some next week, but I’m pretty sure I could only take so many variations on dal in a week. :)

  3. They look so tasty and enjoyable. Thanks! I do love dal, though, and have always tried to recreate the buttery, satisfying taste from restaurants with little success. I have made dal with butternut squash before, which was tasty, but didn’t quite hit the spot. So please feel free to post a great dal recipe if you find one. :)

  4. Heather says:

    What a clever (and tasty) idea!

  5. The Southwestern flavors are excellent here, super delicious patties!

  6. I love the dressing. I never had lentil cakes. They look wonderful.

  7. monique says:

    you keep flexin that culinary muscle. I am always amazed at your dishes! it sounds amazing! and i am strongly considering attempting to make this recipe!

  8. This is an awesome use of lentils. Love it! Makes a beautiful presentation.
    Thanks for sharing.

  9. Blondie says:

    I love lentils but have never attempted to cook them. I think these might convince me to give it a whirl!

  10. Lyndsey @ I'm Lyndsey says:

    Lentils are so good for you but I’ve only had them in an amazing soup that my grandma makes. I love any kind of veggie/bean burger so I definitely will have to try this. Keep the healthy lentil recipes comin’!

  11. That looks great, Lauren!
    They would make such a great sandwich. The last photo is really appetizing.

  12. These look really great and a really good sub for Garden Burgers! I used to eat those things all the time and I weighed substantially LESS…so perhaps there is something to that?

    I have some lentils in my kitchen, I will see what else I need to make them.

    I am gonna share these on Face Book with all my friends that tune in each day to see what me and my friends are cooking!

    God bless and happy cooking to ya!

    Polly Motzko

  13. How did you get involved with the sponsorship you spoke of here? I would love to hear more about it. I think it is great!

    Also, the name of your blog is what I strive to do with what I make-make it healthy and delicious or be delicious and just happen to be good for you!

    Would love to hear from you any time at:

    Paulette Le Pore Motzko

    Otherwise known as Polly Motzko

    “Through June 15, I will be blogging healthy and unique recipes featuring lentils and dried peas under a sponsorship agreement through the USA Lentil and Dy Pea Council. I will then be choosing my favorite recipe to be in a contest that will be held at”

  14. Lauren – I cannot express how much I love this blog! Quick question about these – I am having a cookout soon and need vegetarian things on hand to grill. Any idea if these would hold up on a grill, or would you recommend sticking to a skillet/frying pan? Thanks!

    • would be worried about them falling through the grates of the grill. It might work, but I would hate for you to end up with a disaster when you have guests counting on being fed! On the other hand, if you have a grill basket or wok (some thing like this one you could put that on the grill and cook the patties in there. I used that technique on the veggie burgers that I made recently and it worked perfectly (and those were much looser than the lentil cakes).

  15. Yummy! I made these a few days ago and they were soooo good. I didn’t make the dressing because I didn’t have limes, but I mixed equal parts sour cream and salsa and a bit of chili powder and it was great. Definitely a keeper. Thank you!

  16. Oh, I have everything in to make this. Hello lunch! :) It sounds so great.

  17. I love lentils and this sounds like a wonderful way to enjoy them in the summer!

  18. Wow. I made these last night and we loved them (even our 4 year old)! The sauce is so simple and delish too. Thanks so much for this recipe–it’ll be a staple. Please keep ‘em coming (especially the non-meat ones!)

  19. This is a great recipe – thanks so much for sharing it. So simple to make and packed with wonderful flavors. You rock :)

  20. mmmm looks really good. Could I use coconut oil instead or would it taste weird?

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  22. I happened on this recipe looking for lentil patties because I had some cooked yellow lentils in the frig. I thought they would fall apart but they were perfect! The only substitution I made was zucchini for the carrot. These were delicious and the sauce went well.

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