These vegan, gluten-free sweet potato & lentil cakes with lemony avocado sauce are protein-rich, savory, nutty, and incredibly hearty. Steamed sweet potatoes, cooked red lentils, oats, kale, lemon juice, dried spices, fresh herbs, and seasonings are mixed together and formed into patties. The patties are then baked until their exteriors are crisp and just a touch golden and paired with a creamy, lemony avocado sauce.
It seems I have a hankering for lentils lately. Don't worry, I'm not going to bore you with a list of lentil facts like I did in this post. This time, I think it's best that we go straight into the description, because it's a doozy in the most wonderful of ways.
And covered in a creamy, lemony avocado sauce. In my books, this fact alone means end of story, game over, I'm making this recipe stat.
To make these blazing-orange veggie cakes (that color is so bright it almost hurts my eyes), you'll mix together steamed sweet potatoes, cooked red lentils, oats, kale, lemon juice, dried spices, fresh herbs, and just enough seasonings to make the flavors POP. Then, you'll form all that goodness into patties and bake them in the oven until their exteriors are crisp and just a touch golden. No need to add much more color to these bright beauties.
Then, the best part happens. The citrusy, creamy, garlicky deliciousness that is the Lemony Avocado Sauce. Really technical, snazzy name, huh? I thought of that one all on my own.
The avocado sauce is drizzled (or dumped... go on, don't be shy) on top of the crispy cakes and adds a splash of bright freshness to every bite.
The patties can be served on their own, over a bed of greens, in a pita pocket, or even on a hamburger bun. You can also freeze the cooked cakes and then thaw them as needed for quick, on-the-go meals. Each cake has 8 grams of protein, and I recommend enjoying two per serving, so a whopping 16 grams of plant-based protein in the cakes alone. Not too shabby.
Sweet Potato & Lentil Cakes with Lemony Avocado Sauce
- 3 cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes (about 2 medium sweet potatoes)
- 1 cup split red lentils, thoroughly rinsed
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup rolled oats, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup chopped dino or lacinto kale
- ½ cup shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- ¼ cup shelled hemp seeds
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- 1 batch Lemony Avocado Sauce (see recipe below)
- Steam the sweet potatoes in a steamer or over the stove for 25-35 minutes or until fork-tender. Set aside to cool.
- While the potatoes are steaming, add the rinsed lentils and 2 cups water to a medium pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until tender. Add in water as needed to keep the lentils submerged. Drain off excess water and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add the steamed sweet potatoes, 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 10-15 times or until the mixture is chunky but ingredients are incorporated.
- Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add in the reserved ½ cup rolled oats, kale, pepitas, hemp seeds, cilantro, and chives. Gently stir to incorporate.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
- Form the mixture into 12 3-inch patties. Place each on the baking sheet. Note: the uncooked mixture is very wet and a bit challenging to form into patties, but just be patient and they will come together. You can also try spraying your hands with cooking spray to keep the mixture from sticking.
- Bake the patties for 25-30 minutes, being sure to flip them at the 15-minute mark. Your patties will be a light golden color when they're done.
- Let them cool completely and serve alongside the Lemony Avocado Sauce.
Lemony Avocado Sauce
- 1 avocado
- ½ cup filtered water
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt or more, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Add the flesh of the avocado, filtered water, lemon juice, garlic, sea salt, and pepper to a high-speed blender.
- Blend on high for 2–3 minutes, or until the sauce is smooth and creamy.
- Transfer to a glass jar and refrigerate until ready to serve the lentil cakes.
Meredith @ Unexpectedly Magnificent says
Ashley, every single one of your recipes look like they're to-die for. I need to go through your entire blog and make everything, ha ha! :) I love anything with sweet potato. I bet these are delicious, especially with that lemony avocado sauce!
Aww! Thanks so much, Meredith! That means a lot to me. Although with ingredients like sweet potatoes and avocado, it's hard to go wrong :)
Celeste Jackson says
These look so delicious and packed with flavor. Can't wait to try them.
Thank you! Packed with flavor? Check. Delicious? I certainly think so!
These look absolutely amazing. I am after more plant based protein recipes and these fit the bill :)
Such tasty flavours!
Thanks so much, Lauren! These are definitely a flavorful and efficient way to squeeze more plant-based protein into your diet. I hope you enjoy the recipe :)
Elizabeth @ bowl of delicious! says
You had me at "Lemony Avocado Sauce." These look delicious! Lately I've been obsessed with anything in "patty" form and am always looking for more veggie burgers, croquettes, etc. to add to my life. Can't wait to try these, and definitely can't wait to try the avocado sauce as well!
Haha! I'm glad I had you at "Lemony Avocado Sauce" too. I agree about loving anything in "patty" form; it's an easy and versatile way to enjoy such a wide range of flavors and nutrients. I hope you enjoy the recipe and thanks for commenting, Elizabeth!
Yumm these look delicious!
I was just looking at the nutritional information (thanks for that by the way, so helpful!) and was wondering where the 10 grams of sugar comes from?
Thanks, Liana! The 10 grams of sugar come from the natural sugar content in the sweet potatoes. I hope this helps, and let me know if you have any other questions!
Love veggie patties, I like that you add hemp seeds, kale and sunflower seeds! They must have tasted sooo good
Thanks for commenting, Azu! Veggie patties are the best, aren't they?? I love adding seeds and kale, because they add such awesome texture and up the nutritional goodness. I hope you have a chance to try the recipe!
Tracey @ A Taste of Trace says
I made these last night and they were delicious!! :) I love how much plant-based protein these patties have! I didn't have any avocado, so I made a tahini sauce instead. It was good - but I definitely want to try the lemony-avocado sauce too!
Hi Tracey! I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed the recipe! I'm sure the tahini sauce paired well too. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment with your results and feedback; I really appreciate it :)
The recipe rocks is delicious! Thank you Ashley!
hi.....is there a substitute for the oats - in Australia we cannot easily obtain gluten free versions and i would really like to try these. Thanks Peta
Hi, Peta! Hmm, I haven't tried substituting the oats in this recipe, but you could try using all ground raw buckwheat groats or brown rice flour. I'm just not sure how it will turn out given that I haven't tried it myself. Raw buckwheat groats do have a similar texture to oat flour when they're ground in a food processor, so that could work. I'd love to know how it works out if you try it!
Just made these for dinner, they were AH-MAZING! Didn't have kale or the seeds so I subbed spinach, chia seeds, and shelled flax. Soooo yummy. Wish I had made double!
Have you tried freezing these before cooking? Curious if they freeze well, as they would be perfect for cottage season! Thanks for the great recipe!
I just found this recipe and made them tonight and let me say, I AM IN LOVE! this is honestly one of my favorite dishes now already. I'm glad I made a bunch to freeze. I adapted the recipe a tiny bit though, for example adding about a half teaspoon of Chile powder and a couple extra shakes of smoked paprika! I had them on a bed of spinach and cabbage blend and it was out of this world! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I will definitely be trying more.
Thanks for this awesome feedback, Madison! Also, love the adjustments; a few extra shakes of smoked paprika is just my style. I can't get enough of that spice lately! So happy that you're enjoying these so much :)
Jennifer Boyd says
Oh my goodness. These were out of this world. Thank you!
I tried these tonight but I made a few adjustments because I try to use what I have in stock first. I substituted the sweet potato with pumpkin and the hemp seeds with sesame and I made them nice and crunchy. These were so nice that I had three (after supper!)! I had this recipe ready to go for a vegetarian friend that was staying and just never got round to it - really disappointed I never got to share them with her now. The lemony avo sauce makes it!
Just made these! So good. Worth the effort that goes into them.
I was too lazy to make the sauce, so I topped with some mustard and fresh squeezed lemon juice instead. Yum!
WOW! I made these. They are incredible and really delicious. Now I will have lunch for the week. I don't have a food processor, so I mashed it all with a potato masher. I wanted to post a photo, they look exactly like the recipe photos. Thanks you!
Sanctuary Soirees says
I am a private events chef who recently switched to a gluten-free, dairy-free diet and came across this recipe...I am AMAZED at how much flavor is packed into these little cakes. A brilliant recipe that I will make again and again!! Thank you!
What a wonderful compliment to receive (especially coming from a chef)! So glad you're enjoying the recipe, and thanks for taking the time to come back and share your feedback—it means so much.
I am going to make these for a dinner party. Can I make them in advance, bake them, freeze them, then reheat?
Have you tried it?
Hi, Eydie! Yes, you can make them in advance. If you're making them just a day or two in advance, I'd recommend forming the patties and refrigerating without baking and then baking them just before serving. They'll retain the most moisture this way. However, if you're looking at preparing them far in advance, it's best to bake, freeze, and then reheat. Enjoy!
I made these last night, but substituted black lentils for red lentil since that's all I had.
The whole things was amazing! Love by both me and my husband. Thank you!
Swet potatoes are my jam. I'm scouring for meatless meal ideas - I've been a hardcore carnivore for a while but I'm experimenting to see if it helps with a) my grocery budget and b) my digestion. Not going cold turkey but maybe reducing meat will help - and with recipes like this one I doubt it'll be that hard! Looks time consuming but definitely worth it. I love to meal prep so kitchen time is fun for me!
Martha Stevens says
I made this recipe today. I left out the hemp seeds which were expensive in my shop and I was out of cumin, so I doubled the smoked paprika. I over-processed the mix because my processor didn't want to pulse such a heavy mixture, but that worked great for helping the patties stay together. Thanks so much for a delicious an dish. It's really superb.
So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe Martha! Thanks for taking the time to come back and share your feedback and adjustments—means so much to me and is so helpful for others as well.
These look amazing! Can't wait to try them :) Can I just clarify - is it 329 cals per one cake or two?
Per two cakes! Enjoy!
Loved these....I adjusted the spices to my own taste, and used an ice cream scoop to scoop the mixture out onto a panko crumb coated baking sheet. Flattened the balls, flipped them into more panko crumbs (I like texture), and sprayed them with cooking spray before baking. They are great! Although next time, and there will be a next time, I will just mash the mixture instead of using my food processor.
Thanks for the recipe
Hi, Beverlee! So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe. Thanks for taking time out of your day to come back and share your thoughts!
Looking forward to making this! Just a quick question. You recommend 2 patties per serving and your calories is 329 calories. Is that per patty or per two patties?
Hi, Patrick! That's per two-patty serving.
I would love to know how well these freeze and if they should be baked before freezing. would you please email me response?
Hi, Betsey! These freeze well. I recommend baking them first and then freezing. You'll want to prepare the lemony avocado sauce fresh for serving though. Hope this helps and enjoy!
Loretta Harper says
These are tasty and filling. They are a great in between meal snack. I make this recipe weekly.
They are also versatile. Sometimes the “ Best-Ever Lentil Salad“ recipes are not very good; so I use those lentils in this recipe. Boy they are very tasty.
Thank you so much for all your hard work. Sincerely Loretta
So glad you're enjoying this recipe, Loretta! Wonderful to know it's become a staple in your home. :) Thanks for taking time out of your day to come back and share your kind words and rating—means so much.