I was in a super Springy mood when I made these, and it was also St. Patty’s Day so I wanted to make something green. My original plan was to make something more Irish, (my take on corned beef hash) but the snow storm prevented me from going out and getting the necessary ingredients. Hopefully it was the last snowfall because Spring cannot come soon enough for me.
This salad is super simple and fresh, and is a healthy vegetarian option for those of you who are looking for plant-based protein sources. The cakes have protein from the lentils and bulgur wheat, and there is a little bit of egg to bind them as well. I have been obsessed with making different variations of these “cakes” lately. Another one of my faves that I posted a few weeks ago are the Panko Crusted Mung Bean Quinoa Cakes.
They are fabulous to eat as a snack, and both recipes make a ton of cakes, around 15-20 depending on how big you make them.
This salad is incredibly fresh and simple and is a great introduction to Spring flavors.
Yield: 15-20 cakes, depending on size. I make them about 2 in. wide, and 1/2 in. thick.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
1 bunch of asparagus, cut into 1 1/2 in. pieces, and if the ends are thicker, cut them lengthwise in half again
5-6 c. fresh baby spinach
For the cakes:
3/4 c. bulgur wheat, cooked and cooled (I use Trader Joe’s 10-minute bulgur)
1 c. red split lentils, cooked and cooled (I use TJ’s for these as well)
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried tarragon
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. ground sage
1 tsp. garlic powder
pinch of red pepper flake
salt and pepper
3/4 c. plain breadcrumbs, seasoned with salt and pepper
For the vinaigrette:
2 tsp. lemon zest
juice of 1 lemon
1 T. fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp. stone ground dijon mustard
salt and pepper
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
Begin by steaming the asparagus. In a medium saucepan, bring water to boil seasoned with salt. Add asparagus, and blanch for about 2 minutes, just until asparagus turns bright green and is slightly tender. You do not want to overcook these. Drain and run under cold water to stop cooking.
Next, make the dressing. Combine all ingredients for the vinaigrette up until the olive oil in a small bowl. Then, slowly stream in the olive oil and whisk until combined. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
Next, combine bulgur, lentils, eggs, thyme, tarragon, basil, sage, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and red pepper flake in a medium bowl. I find the easiest way to approach this is to use your hands. Form cakes into 2 inch wide 1/2 inch thick patties, or desired size, and coat in breadcrumbs. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium/high heat with 2-3 T. olive oil. Place cakes in pan, and cook about 2-3 minutes per side or until golden. You may need to drizzle in a bit more olive oil during the cooking process because I find the cakes tend to soak it up. The olive oil helps to make that beautiful golden brown crust. Once cakes are finished cooking, set aside for several minutes to cool.
Toss the asparagus and spinach in a bowl with desired amount of dressing. Top with lentil bulgur cakes and serve!