Simple Savoury Lentil Pancakes
These really simple savoury pancakes are low-fat, rich in protein and surprisingly versatile. They can form the basis of a quick lunch or act as a healthy side accompanying stews, soups and curries.
4 – 6 pancakes
Protein, fibre, iron
8 hours (soaking), 15 mins (cooking)
This has to be one of the easiest and healthiest recipes I’ve ever whipped up. They are surprisingly simple to prepare. The basic 2-ingredient pancake consists of soaked lentils and water – that’s it! You can add salt and a few spices if you prefer, but they are pretty good without. They are really versatile and can be used in place of bread or unhealthy fried sides.
- 250 g red or yellow dried lentils
- 50 ml fresh water
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tbsp oil for frying (i.e. olive or sunflower)
I find that turmeric and cumin make for a good combination, especially if you plan to eat these with spicy Indian flavours. You can just as easily leave out the spices all together, or choose your own dried herbs and spice combos to try out in the mix. Any of the ingredients can be switched out or removed, except the lentils and water of course.
There are other ingredients you could add into the mix such as chickpea flour which will give a slightly smoother texture, or baking powder which will help make them more fluffy. However, one of the things I love about this version is the simplicity. The first time we tried them, we were surprised how well they turned out with just the basic ingredients.
Ways to Prepare These Lentil Pancakes
Pretty much any kind of veggies, spreads or salad will work well as toppings. Experiment with different combinations of savoury spreads, vegetables and salad ingredients and you’re sure to find a favourite.
For a Mediterranean twist, try hummus and grilled vegetables. Fancy some fresh Mexican flavours? Top them with guacamole, chopped red onion and tomato salad, and a squeeze of lime juice. You can even whip these up and eat with whatever leftovers you have from last night’s dinner. We’ve enjoyed these lentil pancakes for lunch multiple times with a dollop of leftover black bean chili, a spoonful of soya mince bolognese sauce, and even more experimental leftovers.
Try the following topping combinations:
- Hummus, black olives, grilled vegetables (e.g. red pepper, aubergine, courgette)
- Vegan sour cream, vegan feta-style cheese, freshly ground black pepper
- Guacamole, red onion, tomato, fresh coriander, lime juice, chipotle chili sauce
- Baba ganoush, lemon juice and pomegranate seeds
A Healthy Alternative to Bread
In many cultures, it’s common to accompany your main meal with some form of bread for scooping, dipping or just generally nibbling on as your meal progresses. The problem with bread is that it’s not as healthy as you might think. It often contains a large amount of hidden salt. White bread especially not only contains salt, but surprising amounts of sugar and other preservatives that can do more harm than good. Due to white bread being heavily processed, it doesn’t offer much nutritional value either. If you can’t live without it, then it’s best to choose whole grain varieties.
If you are actively trying to reduce your salt intake, however, then these lentil pancakes can come in handy. You can even cut out the salt altogether, and make them just with lentils and water. The pancakes have a relatively neutral taste so they can replace bread for many different kinds of dishes.
They can easily be dipped into soups or used to scoop up your favourite curry in place of naan bread. Because they are almost exclusively made of lentils, they are high in protein and fibre but low in fat. They’ll fill you up quicker than bread too so you need not eat as much to satisfy your hunger.
I’d love to hear from you how they turn out for you and what other ingredients you combined them with. Let me know in the comments below.
Step by Step Instructions
Rinse the lentils thoroughly until the water runs clear. Check for and discard any damaged lentils or rocks, then soak the lentils overnight in water for 8 – 12 hours.
Rinse and drain the lentils, discard soaking water.
Put the lentils in a blender with fresh water, salt, pepper and spices.
Pulse until the mixture is smooth and use a spatula to scrape lentils in from the sides.
Heat up a frying pan to medium heat, and add a small amount of the cooking oil.
Add the lentil mixture one ladleful at a time and cook like regular pancakes. Once the pancake begins to firm up (3 – 5 minutes), flip and cook the second side. Continue to cook until lightly browned on each side.
Add a dash of oil if needed then repeat step 6 until all the mixture is used up.
Best served immediately.
Full Recipe Instructions
Savory Lentil Pancakes
- Frying pan
- 250 g red or yellow dried lentils soaked overnight in water
- 50 ml fresh water
- 1 pinch salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tbsp oil for frying olive or sunflower oil
- Rinse the lentils thoroughly until the water runs clear. Check for and discard any damaged lentils or rocks, then soak the lentils overnight in water for 8 - 12 hours.
- Rinse and drain the lentils, discard soaking water.
- Put the lentils in a blender with fresh water, salt, pepper and spices.
- Pulse until the mixture is smooth and use a spatula to scrape lentils in from the sides.
- Heat up a frying pan to medium heat, and add a small amount of the cooking oil.
- Add the lentil mixture one ladleful at a time and cook like regular pancakes. Once the pancake begins to firm up (3 - 5 minutes), flip and cook the second side. Continue to cook until lightly browned on each side.
- Add a dash of oil if needed then repeat step 6 until all the mixture is used up.
- Best served immediately.