By Marissa Bognanno, Professional Chef & Zumba Instructor, and Author of The Boot Blog
Isn’t it fascinating how our palates change as we grow older? I wouldn’t touch a lentil with a ten-foot pole 10 years ago, and now I’m eating bowls of them with swirls of olive oil and dried peperoncini, savoring their mealy texture rather than hating it. Researchers say that you can intentionally change your palate by tasting and re-tasting the food you wish to acquire a liking for, but in my case all it took was living in Italy to learn that foods that were “ew” inducing in my past could actually be good, if prepared well.
Lentil Cakes with Minty Yogurt
for the patties:
1 can cooked lentils
1 tablespoon olive oil (plus more for the patties)
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
for the minty yogurt:
1 container greek yogurt (I used Total 0%, about 6 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon parsley
1 teaspoon dried mint
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a food processor, blend 3/4 of the lentils with the olive oil until creamy. Transfer to a bowl with the rest of the lentils and add the breadcrumbs, egg, salt, soy sauce and chili flakes. Mix well. Form patties (about 5 or 6) and place on a foil-lined baking sheet, brushing tops and bottoms with olive oil. In the meantime, make the yogurt by mixing all the ingredients together and keep in the fridge until ready to serve. The patties are done when firm to the touch, about 25 minutes. Dollop the yogurt on top to serve.
Crunchy on the outside, soft and rich on the inside, with a hint of meaty umami from the soy sauce and a kick from the chiles, these are definitely my new favorite way to eat lentils. If my younger self could see me now!
P.S. More “gross” foods that I now love: mushrooms, cauliflower and spinach. What are yours?