This is not a dish for the low-on-energy, it's a lot of different steps, and a lot of dirty pots and pans. But I think it's worth it. It's a great fall meal, and could be easily adapted to different seasons. I got the original idea from Cooking Light magazine, but of course, I embellished. I wasn't thrilled about the salsa on the side that the magazine suggested, so I served them with my signature yogurt-cumin sauce.
5 cups water, divided
1 cup dried small red lentils
1/2 cup uncooked basmati rice
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 cup of chopped chard
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tsp paprika
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp minced jalapeno
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup panko (1/2 for mixture; 1/4 for rolling the cakes in)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
To prepare cakes, bring 4 cups water and lentils to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain. Place lentils in a large bowl.
Combine remaining 1 cup water and rice in pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 18 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Add cooked rice to lentils.
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper, onion, and garlic to pan, along with cumin and paprika; saute 2 minutes or until tender. Add in the chard and the chopped celery and saute until wilted and cooked. Add to rice mixture. Let the entire mixture cool for about 15 minutes.
Add mozzarella cheese and remaining ingredients, stirring until well combined. Using an ice-cream scoop, make cakes and roll each one in a bit of panko. Pop in the fridge for a few minutes until cool.
Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Cook each cake for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Carefully turn cakes over; cook 5 minutes on other side. Remove cakes from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and remaining rice mixture. Serve with yogurt sauce.