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Savory Quinoa Lentil Patties with Pea and Pepper Salad

What you see above was the PERFECT spring dinner: light, yet filling, with the bright tastes of citrus and spring vegetables and herbs.

It's going to seem fussy because it's the LAST meal of the week for the Fresh 20. The lentils and quinoa would already have been prepared for an earlier meal, so it would have been a matter of mixing together leftovers for the patties, then grilling up some peas and mixing the dipping sauce. As listed below, it takes a bit more work... but this demonstrates exactly why I love the Fresh 20. It's a meal planning service where you get a shopping list that's limited to 20 items each week, and these 20 items are used in different combinations throughout the week.

So this week, there was a meal with lentils, and a meal with quinoa, and a meal that combined them. One meal had pork and peas; another meal, pork and potatoes; and this one combines the peas with the quinoa and lentils. The plan is frugal, yet there's so much variety!

Although the 21 Day Fix container counts appear at the bottom, this is a tough one for the Fix... almost a treat meal... because although quinoa and lentils have significant protein content, they are considered yellow containers (carbs) on the Fix. This meal gets a bit more protein from the egg and yogurt, but still doesn't quite equal a full red container. I'd follow it up with ricotta for a protein-rich dessert, or with a silken tofu pudding for a vegan option.

Without further ado, I bring you this sample recipe:

Savory Quinoa Lentil Patties with Pea and Pepper Salad

1.5 c dried red lentils

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 small yellow onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1 Tbsp ginger, minced

1/2 Tbsp cumin

1/2 tsp paprika

Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)

1 Tbsp tomato paste

3/4 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 c chicken bone broth (or homemade veggie broth for a vegan option)

1.5 c dried quinoa

1/2 pound English peas, washed

2 green bell peppers, diced

1/2 c Greek yogurt

1/4 c fresh basil (1/2 bunch, chopped)

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

2 Tbsp whole wheat flour (can use almond flour or coconut flour, or just omit, for gluten free, 21 Day Fix, paleo, and other special diets)

1 egg (use flax or chia "egg" for vegan option)

In a large pot over medium heat, warm 1 Tbsp olive oil. When oil is hot, add onion, red bell pepper, garlic, and ginger. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add 1 tsp cumin, paprika, cayenne (if using), tomato paste, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, and lentils. Stir well to combine. Add chicken broth and 2 c water. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 25 minutes, adding more water if needed. Lentils should be creamy, but not mushy.

Meanwhile, cook quinoa with 3 c water. Once boiling, simmer for 15 minutes and then fluff with fork and cover until ready to use.

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 Tbsp olive oil. When oil is hot, add peas, green peppers, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Cook, stirring well, until lightly browned (about 5 minutes).

To make the lemon basil dipping sauce, whisk together lemon juice and zest with yogurt in a bowl, then fold in chopped basil.

Once the quinoa and lentils have cooled a bit, you can begin to make the patties. Whisk together flour, egg, and 1/2 tsp cumin in the bottom of a metal mixing bowl. Add cooked and cooled quinoa and lentils. Mix well with your hands and form into 12 similarly sized dough balls. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tsp olive oil. Add 4 dough balls and press them into patties with a spatula. Cook for about 4 minutes per side, then flip. When the first 4 are cooked, remove to a plate and repeat with 4 more and then the final 4 patties.

Divide patties and pea and pepper salad among your serving plates. Serve with lemon basil dipping sauce.

21 Day Fix container counts

Each patty = 1 yellow + 1 tsp (for the frying oil and oil cooked into the lentils)

1/3 of the pea pepper salad = 1 green + 1 tsp

The sauce doesn't have enough protein to count as a full red container, nor does it have enough fat to be an orange or a blue, so I'd probably simply skip counting it, or maybe count 1 red for this whole meal (protein in all the ingredients, including yogurt and egg, taken together)

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