Red lentils are easy to cook and are packed with all the good stuff; protein, iron, fibre and B vitamins. But sadly I'm not very good at using them in my cooking. The proof was in the large unopened bag of split red lentils I found in my cupboard last week. So I set out on a mission to actually open the bag and use the lentils to make something both myself and Greg would like.
As Greg is not a great lentil fan, I ideally wanted to make a recipe where it wouldn't be particularly obvious that red lentils were in it. I thought the colour and taste of sweet potato would probably help me there. Plus, sweet potatoes are a rich source of fibre, contain vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium, vitamins B and C, and contain the antioxidant beta-carotene. So all in all, a solid choice to accompany my red lentils.
Finally, I had some chorizo and feta cheese in the fridge that needed using so I whacked those in alongside some garlic, onion, herbs and spices, and ta-da! My new favourite fritters were born.
Utensils: Chopping board, peeler, knife, saucepan, food processor or potato masher, large mixing bowl, large skillet pan or non-stick frying pan, oven tray or roasting dish.
Top Tip: Want to make these fritter vegetarian? Try using sweetcorn or roasted chickpeas in place of the chorizo.
Sweet Potato, Red Lentil, Feta & Chorizo Fritters
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 3cm cubes
100g split red lentils
1 small red onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon oregano
150g chorizo, chopped into 1/2cm cubes
150g feta cheese, chopped into 1/2cm cubes
1 large egg
100g plain flour
Serves: 3-4 with a side salad. You could also buy some burger buns and make these fritters into burgers if you need them to go a bit further.
1. Rinse the lentils and then place them in a large pan of cold water. Turn the heat on and bring the pan to the boil. Boil the lentils on medium-high heat for 10 minutes. While the lentils are boiling, peel the sweet potato and chop it into large 3cm cubes.
2. Once the lentils have been boiling for 10 minutes, add the sweet potato cubes and then turn the heat down to a simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until both the lentils and sweet potato are cooked.
3. While the lentils and sweet potato are cooking, prep everything else. Chop the chorizo and feta cheese, dice the red onion and garlic cloves and place in a large mixing bowl alongside the chilli flakes, smoked paprika, ground cumin, ground coriander and oregano. Set the mixing bowl to one side for now.
4. Once cooked, drain the sweet potato and lentils and rinse under cold water. Then, place the lentils and sweet potato into the bowl of a food processor and whizz until smooth. If you don't have a food processor, use a potato masher to mash the lentils and sweet potato together. Add the egg and plain flour and whizz /mash again until smooth.
5. Add the lentil mixture to the mixing bowl with the rest of your ingredients and mix carefully using a spatula until everything is combined. If you have time, chill the mixture for an hour before cooking.
6. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan) and place your oven tray or roasting dish in the oven. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet pan or non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, use an ice cream scoop or large tablespoon to add piles of the fritter mixture to the hot oil. Depending on the size of your pan you'll probably want to add 4 or 5 piles at a time, cooking in batches and transferring each batch to your tray in the oven before starting a new batch.
7. Once a crust has formed on the bottom of each pile, flip them over and press down firmly on the tops with the back of the spoon or a potato masher to form a fritter shape. Allow a crust to form on the second side before transferring to the oven.
8. Once you have finished frying all of your batches on the hob, bake the fritters in the oven for 25-30 minutes until each fritter has a nice golden crust. Serve with a side salad and some guacamole. I also served some crunchy roasted chickpeas (recipe coming soon!) alongside these fritters for an extra protein hit. Yum.
Storage: If you have any leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. If you reheat any leftovers, make sure they are piping hot before serving and only reheat once.