Food First: Summer Snacks from Basil, Peppers


One of my favorite things about summer is all of the fresh basil and peppers in the garden or at the local farmer’s market. It’s a great time to use these fresh garden ingredients to make simple, quick dishes that don’t heat up the kitchen too much. The lentils are a great source of protein that is easy to digest and packed with iron for energy. I love to make a big batch of these and have them on hand for a quick lunch or snack throughout the week. Enjoy!

Red Lentil Basil Patties
1 cup red lentils
2-1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh red pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh yellow pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely grated cheese, (6 Italian Cheese blend works well)
Himalayan Salt and Black Pepper to taste

Rinse and drain lentils and place in a pot with the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes or until lentils are mushy and all of the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In large skillet, sauté garlic and onion in 1 T. olive oil until soft (about 3 minutes). Add the red and yellow peppers and sauté an addition minute or so. Remove from heat and transfer mixture into a bowl. Add lentils, fold in basil and season with Himalayan salt and pepper. Gradually fold in the cheese and breadcrumbs. Set aside for 2-3 minutes to allow batter to thicken.

Drizzle skillet with remaining 1 T. olive oil. Scoop batter and roll into 1-1/2″ balls. Flatten into patties that are 1/2-3/4″ thick and place in skillet over medium heat. Cook until crispy (about 4-5 minutes per side). Remove from pan and keep warm on a baking sheet until finished rolling and cooking all of the patties. Makes about twelve 2-1/2″ patties.

Optional: Serve on a bed of greens. Use additional basil/olive oil/garlic and blend up in a food processor for a pesto garnish along with sliced roma tomatoes.

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