Let it not be said we eat red meat every night! After yesterday's amazing pot roast, today I give you one of our favorite vegetarian dishes. It came from Cooking Light a few years ago and we just love it. The flavors are unexpected and not easily attributed to any one style or ethnic origin. Just good, really good. Also makes super lunch leftovers.
Red Lentil Rice Cakes with Simple Tomato Salsa
3 cups finely chopped plum tomatoes (about 6)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 T balsamic vinegar
2 tsp capers
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup dried small red lentils
1 1/2 cups cooked basmati rice (from about 1/2 cup uncooked), cooled at least 10 minutes
2 T olive oil, divided
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1 T chopped fresh basil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1. To prepare cakes, bring 4 cups water and lentils to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer until tender. The original recipes says 15-20 minutes but it's much less. Start checking it around 7 minutes and remove from heat when tender. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain. Place lentils in a large bowl and add the cooked and cooled rice.
2. While lentils cook, prepare the salsa. Combine tomatoes, basil, vinegar, capers and salt; set aside at room temperature.
3. Heat 1 tsp oil in a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat. Add bell pepper, onion, fennel seeds and garlic to pan; saute 2 minutes or until tender. Cool 10 minutes. Add to rice-lentil mixture. Add mozzarella cheese and remaining ingredients, stirring until well combined. Let stand for 10 minutes.
4. Wipe skillet clean with paper towels. Heat 2 tsp olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Spoon half of rice mixture by 1/3-cupfuls into pan, spreading to form six 3-inch circles; cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Carefully turn cakes over using heatproof rubber spatula; cook 5 minutes on other side. Remove cakes from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 T olive oil and remaining rice mixture. Makes 4 to 6 servings
Serve with: Simple Tomato Salsa and Yeasted Lemon Poppyseed Bread