These vegan, gluten-free carrot-lentil cakes with garlic-herb tahini sauce are something special. Packed with red lentils, carrots, and kale, they're bursting with savory flavors, hearty texture, and oodles of plant-based protein, boasting a mighty 8 grams of protein per patty. I recommend enjoying 2–3 per serving, which makes for a meal with a whopping 16–24 grams of protein (and 8–12 grams of fiber to boot)!
A little over two years ago, I shared a recipe for sweet potato + lentil cakes with lemony avocado sauce. It became a fast-favorite of mine, and it didn't take long for it to become a favorite on the blog either.
Given that its popularity resurges this time every year, I figured it'd be fun to play around with the ingredients and come up with a new twist on the tried-and-true hit. I certainly didn't intend for the remix to outshine the original, but these carrot-lentil cakes with garlic-herb tahini sauce are something special.
They're bursting with savory flavors, hearty texture, and oodles of plant-based protein, boasting a mighty 8 grams per patty. I recommend enjoying 2–3 per serving, which makes for a meal with a whopping 16–24 grams of protein (and 8–12 grams of fiber to boot).
To make them, you'll start by steaming carrots and simmering split red lentils. Once those two are cooking, you can get to work on gathering and preparing the other ingredients.
When the carrots and lentils are ready, add them to a food processor along with some rolled oats, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, smoked paprika, cumin, sea salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Pulse just 15 or so times until the ingredients are thoroughly combined yet the mixture retains quite a bit of texture. Scoop the mixture into a large mixing bowl and stir in finely chopped lacinato kale, pepitas, chives, hemp seeds, and cilantro. The "dough" will be damp but hold its shape well.
Scoop out ⅓-cup mounds of the dough, form into patties, and transfer to a lined baking pan. Once all the patties have been formed, bake them until their exteriors feel gently set with a slight crispness and the bottoms take on a lovely golden-brown hue. Unlike the original recipe, there's no need to flip these beauties—hands-off baking is always a plus, right?!
While the patties bake, you'll get to work on that dreamy, drizzle-worthy garlic-herb tahini sauce. Add all the ingredients—tahini, cilantro, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, champagne vinegar (or ACV), a splash of water, sea salt, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper—to a food processor and process until the mixture is emulsified and the herbs are very finely chopped.
The chopped fresh herbs offer this creamy sauce a pop of freshness and a soft, soothing green glow.
Once the patties are ready, it's time to serve.
Serve them on their own, atop a bed of peppery greens, in a pita pocket, or even on a toasted bun (à la burger), and be sure to generously drizzle each with garlic-herb tahini sauce.
Added perk: the cakes freeze well and can be thawed as needed for quick, on-the-go meals!
CARROT-LENTIL CAKES WITH GARLIC-HERB TAHINI SAUCE
- 3 cups peeled and roughly diced carrots (about 4–5 large carrots)
- 1 cup split red lentils, thoroughly rinsed
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt or to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup heaping stemmed and finely chopped lacinato "Dino" kale
- ½ cup raw pepitas, shelled pumpkin seeds
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh chives
- ¼ cup shelled hemp seeds
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, tough stems removed
Garlic-Herb Tahini Sauce
- ⅓ cup tahini
- ¼ cup cilantro, tough stems removed
- ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, tough stems removed
- 1 cloves to 2 garlic, smashed and peeled
- 2 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons filtered water, as needed
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the Carrot-Lentil Cakes
- Steam the carrots in a steamer or over the stove for 25 minutes, or until fork-tender.
- While the carrots are steaming, add the rinsed lentils and water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 10 to 12 minutes, or until tender. If needed, add more water to keep the lentils submerged. Strain and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.
- Add the steamed carrots, cooked lentils,½ cup of the rolled oats, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, paprika, cumin, sea salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper to a food processor. Pulse 15 to 20 times, or until the mixture is chunky and all ingredients are well incorporated, stopping to scrape down the sides halfway through pulsing.
- Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl, and add the reserved ½ cup rolled oats, chopped kale, pepitas, chives, hemp seeds, and cilantro. Use a spoon to mix well, ensuring all ingredients are evenly dispersed. The mixture should be damp but able to hold its shape.
- Use a ⅓-cup measuring cup to scoop out ⅓ cup of the mixture. Form the mixture into a patty that is 1-inch thick and just shy of 3 inches in diameter, and transfer to the lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining mixture. You should have 10–12 patties. (Note: the uncooked mixture is damp and can be a bit challenging to form and compact into patties, but I promise they're worth the effort.)
- Bake the patties for 23 to 25 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden-brown and they feel gently set but not firm.
- Remove from the oven and cool completely on the pan before moving. They'll continue to firm up as they cool.
For the Garlic-Herb Tahini Sauce
- Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until emulsified and the sauce just begins to take on a soft green color. The herbs should be very finely chopped. Transfer to an airtight jar or container and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- The patties can be enjoyed on their own, over a bed of peppery greens, tucked into warm pita bread, or on bun. Serve warm with a generous drizzle of the sauce.