Red lentil fritters


The challenge with these fritters is to infuse them with flavor as they tend to be bland on their own; so go ahead and add all the spices that your little heart desires and you will be rewarded with a delicious appetizer. Squeeze some citrus juice on the fritters before inhaling them, it will enhance their flavor and help with the absorption of the iron in the lentils.


  • 1 cup of red lentils, cooked in 2 cups of water for 30 minutes till soft.
  • 1/2 cup of bulgur (#1), soaked in water 10 minutes, then drained and squeezed of the extra water.
  • 3/4 cup of rice, cooked.
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of sumac (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon of harissa (can substitute red pepper paste of your choice or chili paste)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, mashed with salt in a mortar till pasty
  • 2 scallions, minced (can substitute shallot) (optional)
  • Rind of an orange or a lemon or a lime
  • 1/2 cup of minced cilantro
  • 1 cup of minced Italian parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons of powdered dried mint
  • 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper, 1 teaspoon of salt (to taste)
  • 1 cup of  sesame seeds (can substitute pistachios, pecans or walnuts, chopped fine)
  • 1 or 2 lemons, quartered
  • oil for frying, as needed

These are served with a quick salad of diced tomatoes, diced feta and minced parsley dressed in lemon juice and olive oil, with a touch of sumac if desired.

NOTE: I made the effort to buy a feta with a Greek origin and was rewarded with a creamy smooth-tasting cheese, far superior to the other varieties I used to buy. I soaked the feta in water to make it a bit less salty.

For extra flavor, fry the minced herbs and garlic in a little olive oil for no more than 10 seconds, then add to the lentil mixture.


  1. Place the cooked (and drained) lentils in a large bowl. Add the drained bulgur, rice, egg, flour, minced scallions, harissa and other spices, rind of a citrus and toss well to combine. Heat a little olive oil in a small skillet, throw the minced herbs and mashed garlic and stir to combine the mixture for no more than 10 seconds. Remove and add to the lentil mixture and toss.
  2. Shape the fritters with  an ice-cream scoop and dip in the sesame seeds or other nuts.
  3. Heat some oil in a pan (about one inch) and when hot (at 350F to 375F), drop the fritters and cook about 3 minutes on one side and one minute on the other. Place on a plate lined with paper towels.
  4. Serve with the salad and some quartered lemon or limes.

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  1. Posted June 22, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    These remind me of some baked falafel patties I just made. You can even make them gluten-free with garbanzo flour instead of regular. I like how you coated them in the sesame seeds.

  2. Posted June 22, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    That looks amazing! Whew that is a lot of ingredients but I bet the flavor just surrounds the house and palate!


  3. Joumana
    Posted June 22, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    @Lentil Breakdown: Great idea Adair! I still have a bag of chickpea flour I need to use up!

  4. Posted June 22, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    The sesame seed coating is splendid and reminds me of my mum’s sasame chicken which btw she fries perfection :) Wonderful hearty flavors here Joumana and beautifully presented!

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  5. Posted June 22, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    mmm–this looks delicious! I love love love red lentils. I have to try this one day.

  6. Posted June 22, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    So pretty. I love the addition of citrus peel to waken everything up.

  7. Posted June 22, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    Oooh, Beautiful :) I love red lentils and these fritters absolutely fantastic!

    Have a great day,


  8. Posted June 22, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    Looks delicious Joumana! I have to try soon, thanks for sharing….

  9. Posted June 22, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    A great dish! Red lentils have such a lovely flavor.

    Bises et bonne journée,


  10. Posted June 23, 2011 at 1:42 am | Permalink

    Fritters looks soo tempting and crispy..

  11. Posted June 23, 2011 at 3:39 am | Permalink

    I can imagine how delicious it would have tasted with all those ingredients in it..YUM..loving the feta salad too..looks so fresh!!

  12. Posted June 23, 2011 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    Ta recette est superbe. J’aime le fait que tu serves tes galettes de lentilles avec cette belle salade grèque. Je la note. Merci Joumana.

  13. Posted June 23, 2011 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    great appetizer idea!! the spices really kick up the lentil and the sesame coating add great texture.
    thank you for sharing


  14. Posted June 23, 2011 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Really delicious looking fritters, Joumana. I love all the spices and that crunchy sesame coating looks wonderful!

  15. Posted June 23, 2011 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I absolutely love red lentils, and the salad you served it with look perfect for summer!

  16. Posted June 23, 2011 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    These look awesome! I love anything I can put lemon juice on. I actually have all of the ingredients in my pantry right now!

  17. Posted June 23, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Joumana, I miss you and your beautiful posts. You never disappoint me and feel so therapeutic when I come a just scroll down you recent posts. Thanks for you creations… they are very inspirational. I have not been blogging for quite sometime, but you make me want to return and see what you’ve been up too.

  18. Posted June 23, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    ces beignets doivent être bien gouteux, j’aime beaucoup l’idée
    bonne soirée

  19. Posted June 24, 2011 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    I love lentils in all their forms and can totally see doing this dish as a side, not just an appetizer to shake things up a bit. Delicious with chicken or fish, I bet. – S

  20. Posted June 24, 2011 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    The red lentils help the dish look better than the brown or green ones..i just love meatless patties/fritters.

  21. Posted June 28, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    These are just packed with beautiful flavors…great use for lentils, which I adore :)

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