Spicy Lentil Cakes with Miso Gremolata

Spicy Lentil Cakes with Miso Gremolata | thekitchenpaper.com

The weather here is finally REALLY nice! Like, really really nice! Yesterday Derek and I went for a run together {oof. I know I’m seriously out of running shape when he beats me down a long hill!}, and I was genuinely hot in my shorts and tank top. This doesn’t bode well for adjusting to SE Asia, as it was only 61F here, with no humidity, and I anticipate twenty+ more degrees and a LOT more humidity in Vietnam! Please brace yourselves for sweaty pictures.

Spicy Lentil Cakes with Miso Gremolata | thekitchenpaper.com

Along with the incredible weather this weekend, we had the 10th Annual Rock Paper Scissors tournament. This is something Derek has done since college, and is an entirely silly {I mean that in a very good way} and hilariously fun event. I think some of our friends and party-goers are/were skeptical, but I thoroughly enjoy the party every year. We have a huge bracket up on the wall to keep track of rounds, someone officiating {who you do NOT argue with}, and really strict rules about vertical paper. Vertical paper is definitely not allowed! I’ve yet to win, or even make it to the finals, but usually I get at least a few rounds in. This year, I lost my first round, and then lost my first round in the consolation bracket! BOO! I was pretty confident this would be my year! I suppose our friends wherever we are a year from now will have to put up with our shenanigans, too… I don’t see this being a tradition that’s going to die anytime soon.

Spicy Lentil Cakes with Miso Gremolata | thekitchenpaper.com

The great thing about this party is that it’s always right around Derek’s birthday {which was on Friday}, which means the weather is always springy. “Springy” in Montana can mean a foot of snow (I believe this was the case two years ago), or beautiful “warm” weather. I put warm in quotes as Montana warm is not what most people probably think of as warm! This weekend we had “Montana warm” weather and kept the doors and windows open! I’ve been thinking a lot lately that I’d love to live in a climate where I can have an open-air house! It’s so nice to feel the breeze and smell the outdoors, even in bed or in the kitchen. Provided the outdoors is outdoorsy and not the middle of a huge city. Shall we talk about food? Onto food!

Spicy Lentil Cakes with Miso Gremolata | thekitchenpaper.com

This recipe was born partially from wanting a break from cakes and cookies, but mostly from my effort to clean our our pantry. I have all sorts of beans and grains and legumes I need to use up! Lentils are something I honestly don’t cook with much, which is too bad because I LOVE them! I think they’re texture is absolutely perfect. Lentils are also a food I’m particularly proud of cooking for Derek, because when we met he claimed to DESPISE lentils. He was very anti-lentil. I was convinced I could cook them in a satisfactory way! So I did! And now he likes lentils. {and ginger! and bread pudding! more things he claimed to dislike!}

Spicy Lentil Cakes with Miso Gremolata | thekitchenpaper.com

As for the miso gremolata, I’m not even sure I should be calling it a gremolata at all. Dear old Mr. Gremolata is probably rolling in his grave knowing that this butchered “gremolata” is using his name! Mr. Gremolata is a purely fictional character, in case you were actually wondering. At least, I think he is. I have no idea — he could be real! Anywho: I just wanted a flavorful, semi-pesto-inspired sauce for these patties, and I had a bunch of fresh parsley and basil on hand. Why the heck not throw them together!? Plus, MISO! Is this at all pathetic that most of my recipes are throwing together every random thing in my fridge and calling it delicious? That’s basically my approach to cooking, and it works for me, so perhaps I’m just hoping to inspire you to do the same!

Spicy Lentil Cakes with Miso Gremolata
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • Lentil Cakes
  • 1 cup lentils (uncooked)
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ small white onion
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil + some for frying
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • ⅓ cup oatmeal*, uncooked
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Miso Gremolata
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, gently packed
  • ½ cup fresh basil, gently packed
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp white miso*
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. First, cook the lentils in the water as per the directions until soft. Drain any excess water, and set aside to cool slightly.
  2. In a food processor, combine the garlic, onion, jalapeño (seeded if you want less spice), and bell pepper. Pulse until they are finely chopped. Add the spices, olive oil, and tomato paste, again pulsing until incorporated.
  3. Add the cooked lentils and pulse a few times, so that the lentils are partially broken up but some are still whole. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and add the oatmeal, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
  4. Form the mixture into small patties and cook in a heavy saucepan with 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium (or slightly hotter) heat until crispy on each side.
  5. To make the miso gremolata, combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Serve on top of the lentil cakes.
If you're going for gluten-free, make sure your oats are certified GF. I thought I could get away without the oatmeal the first time I made these, and my patties fell apart in the pan. Don't skip it! If you don't have oats on hand, you could sub in ⅓-1/2 cup of flour, or perhaps bread crumbs {Neither of those will work if you're going for gluten-free, unless they are deemed gluten-free!}. You may need to increase that amount, depending on the amount of liquid in your mixture.

Not all Miso is gluten-free, so make sure yours is!



  1. says

    these looks great… I am always at a loss for what to do with my lentils besides my standard Daal recipe. When do you leave? Soon???? It’s about 81 here in HK, so I anticipate it will be fairly warmer down in Vietnam!

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