Seasoned with cumin, paprika, and turmeric, these red lentil fritters feature an delicious blend of flavors. We add onion and garlic to the mix, forming a batter that is perfect for dropping into hot oil and creating super crispy fritters. Serve with a mint-garlic yogurt sauce for a fantastic meal!
If you want to make falafel from scratch, soak raw chickpeas (or fava beans) overnight, then grind until fine. Same thing here with lentils: soak, grind, mix with spices and onion, deep fry and BOOM you’ll have something magical. Even if it’s a million degrees where you live like it is here in Boston right now, you’ll have something perfect when paired with raw cabbage, herbs, cuke and a cooling sauce.
This Red Lentil Fritter Recipe is
- easy to make
- perfect for summer
- tastes delicious in a pita packed with veggies
- great for dinner guests
- high in protein
- so delicious!
Red Lentils: These cheap, highly nutritious and delicious staple is packed with protein. In this recipe, they don’t need to be boiled—just soaked overnight and rinsed. They’ll be cooked in hot oil, not boiled!
Cumin: This aromatic spice has a distinct warm and earthy flavor profile. Cumin seeds, when toasted or ground, release a fragrant aroma and add a rich, slightly nutty taste to a wide range of recipes, including curries, stews, soups, and spice blends.
Paprika: This vibrant and versatile spice is made from ground dried peppers. It adds a beautiful red color and a mild, slightly sweet and smoky flavor.
Turmeric: This beautiful yellow spice widely recognized for its warm, earthy flavor and distinct aroma. It is widely used in Indian and Southeast Asian recipes. It also offers potential health benefits, attributed to the active compound in it called curcumin. This versatile spice can be added to a wide range of dishes, including curries, rice dishes, soups, and even smoothies.
How To Use Red Lentils in this Recipe
I found these neon orange lentils at an Armenian market in Watertown … aren’t they pretty?
Red lentils have a fascinating history that spans thousands of years. Believed to be one of the oldest cultivated crops, lentils have been a dietary staple in various cultures around the world. Red lentils, specifically, have been cherished for their vibrant color, distinct flavor, and numerous nutritional benefits.
Nutritionally, red lentils are a powerhouse. They are an excellent source of plant-based protein, making them a valuable choice for vegetarians and vegans. Additionally, they are packed with dietary fiber, essential vitamins such as folate, and minerals like iron and potassium. Red lentils are also low in fat and have a low glycemic index, making them a healthy choice for those looking to maintain stable blood sugar levels.
One of the remarkable features of red lentils is their ease of preparation. Unlike other types of lentils, red lentils cook relatively quickly due to their smaller size and thinner skin. They can be easily cooked within 15-20 minutes, making them a convenient option for busy individuals seeking a nutritious meal in a short amount of time.
These Lentils are Fried, Not Boiled
However, in this recipe, red lentils are simply soaked overnight and rinsed. Small, tablespoon-sized portions are dropped into hot oil to cook them. Easy!
When it comes to affordability, red lentils shine. They are among the most affordable sources of plant-based protein, making them an economical choice. Red lentils are readily available in most grocery stores and markets, and their long shelf life ensures that they can be stored for extended periods without losing their quality.
Red lentils are remarkably versatile. They can be used in a wide variety of dishes, ranging from soups and stews to curries and salads. Red lentils easily absorb flavors and spices, making them a perfect base for hearty and flavorful meals. They can be cooked and mashed to create delicious spreads and dips, or even used as a meat substitute in vegetarian burgers or meatballs. The culinary possibilities with red lentils are endless!
How To Deep Fry These Fritters
I first tried air frying these, and it was … a mess. But it’s not necessary to crank up a deep fryer to make these. I use this Lodge cast iron pot with a few inches of oil and it works perfectly with minimal fuss.
To deep fry like a pro, you want to get the oil sizzling at around 350 degrees. No worries if you don’t have a fancy thermometer, just grab a chopstick and give it a go!
Grab a medium-sized, heavy cast-iron pot and pour in several inches of neutral-tasting oil like grapeseed, canola, or vegetable oil.
Heat the oil over medium-high heat. After about 7 minutes, grab a wooden chopstick. Plunge it into the pot and watch for bubbles to form around it.
If those bubbles pop up right away, you’re ready to fry! But if not, give it another minute and try again.
You are going to drop tablespoon-sizes portions of fritter batter into the hot oil. Remember, don’t overcrowd the pot! The fritters need space to move around. If not, they’ll end up sticking together and bringing down the oil temperature. Soggy, greasy fritters are no good!
Take your time and fry in small batches. And when those golden fritters come out, sprinkle with some salt right away.
Set up a cookie sheet with a cookie rack to transfer the fritters onto while you fry the rest of your batches. Using paper towels is fine too, but they are crispier when allowed to cool on a cooling rack.
How to Store and Reuse Frying Oil
Once the frying is done, move that pot of oil to a different burner and let it cool completely. Then, transfer the oil to a container and store it in the refrigerator.
When you’re ready to fry again, let the oil warm up to room temperature before reheating. You can reuse this oil 2-3 times.
How To Serve Lentil Fritters
These fritters can be served with a vegan yogurt sauce with mint, lemon and garlic. Or you can opt for a spicy vegan mayo sauce using sambal or sriracha.
Pack your pita with fresh cucumber, tomato, fresh herbs and microgreens. Add a dollop of fresh hummus if you’d like. If you are serving these to guests, set up a station with all of these ingredients so guests can create their own red lentil fritters in pita.
Check Out These Recipes for More Ways to Use Lentils!
Lentils are so cheap and packed with protein. They are super versatile and can be tossed into salads, used to make falafel or pureed into soups.
- Try this Deep-Fried Lentil Falafel recipe that uses green lentils, nuts and spices. Once fried, pack these into a pita for a delicious and filling lunch or dinner.
- This Vegan Split Pea Soup is perfect for colder days. Using split green peas, this soup blends up beautifully with a stick or high-speed blender. It’s easy, simple, filling, and packed with protein!
- These Easy Lentil Burgers use black lentils, shiitakes and spices to create a burger that’s perfect for browning on the stovetop. It’s perfect for summer!
Red Lentil Fritters with Mint-Garlic Yogurt Sauce
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: 2 large servings
- Diet: Vegan
for the mint-garlic yogurt sauce
- 1 cup plain or Greek vegan yogurt (I used Kite Hill)
- juice from half a lemon
- 2 TB chopped fresh mint
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- a few pinches of salt
for a spicy sauce option
- 1/2 cup Sir Kensington’s Chipotle Fabanaise
- 2 TB sambal
for the fritters
- 1 cup dried red lentils, picked over and soaked for a few hours to overnight, then rinsed well
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 TB olive oil
- grapeseed, vegetable or canola oil, for frying
- salt, for seasoning once fried
- 1 cup mandolined cabbage
- large tomato, halved and sliced
- 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup hummus
- chopped olives and/or cornichons
- handful of fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro and/or mint
- microgreens or sprouts
to make either sauce
- Combine ingredients together, chill until ready to serve.
to make the fritters
- Grind the lentils in a food processor. Transfer to a large bowl and combine with the red onion, spices and olive oil. Chill for at least an hour for best results.
- Heat several inches of oil over medium to medium-high heat to 350 or 375 degrees in a small cast iron pot. The oil is ready (usually after 5 to 7 minutes) when you insert a chopstick into the oil, touching the bottom of the pot. If bubbles form around the chopstick immediately, you are ready to fry.
- Working in small batches of 4-5 fritters, form 1 tablespoon-sized fritters and carefully drop into the oil. Allow to fry a few minutes, or until golden all over. Use a skimmer to transfer the fritters to a baking sheet lined with paper towels or a cooling rack.
- Be sure to hit the piping hot fritters with a few pinches of salt.
- Repeat the process with the remaining batter.
- Serve immediately with the cool vegetables, hummus, herbs and sauce.
- Prep Time: 1 hours
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Lunch, Dinner
- Method: Blended, Chilled, Deep Fried
- Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Some gratitude over this past week.
1. Visiting friends in New Hampshire right by a lake this past weekend. The water and view was so calming!
2. I started acupuncture. No idea if it will work, but grateful for the ability to try it out.
3. Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life, which I’m currently reading. It’s put some of the seemingly negative or useless things that have come up over the past couple of years into perspective and has added in some meaning to the present.
Hi! I tried to bake them in the oven (450º) with the fan on and brush the fritters with oil before putting them in the oven and it was delicious! They were not to dry!
Marianne, I love that you were able to bake with good results … thanks for letting me know! 🙂
These fritters look delicious and the photography is BEAUTIFUL! Thanks for sharing!
Can you bake these fritters instead of deep frying them?
Zoe, I don’t think so, they’ll likely turn out very dry. However, if you try that with good results, I’d love to know!
Thank you for these amazing recipes. Your site is wonderful.