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Red Lentil Salmon Patties with Jalapeno Pickled Red Onions

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lentil salmon patties

There’s no shame in my canned fish game. 

Good quality canned fish is a staple that I always try to keep on hand–it’s perfect for quick lunches and dinners and requires about three seconds of prep work (unless you ask your kitchen gadget-challenged husband to open up the can for you, in which case it takes about 3 minutes, and a good laugh). 

While I love just plunking a can of wild-caught salmon straight onto a salad, that can get a little mundane after a while. These red lentil salmon patties were born out of the need to mix things up–and empty out a fridge of leftovers and gracefully aging produce. 

lentil salmon patties

Red lentils don’t really hold their shape during cooking, so they’re best for soups, purees, and mashing into salmon patties. Traditionally, fish cakes use cracker crumbs to bind everything together, but when have you ever heard of a cracker crumb that was packed with protein and B-vitamins AND capable of lowering cholesterol

That’s what I thought. 

To be honest, I’m really into these salmon cakes. But the jalapeno pickled red onions sort of steal the show here. 

lentil salmon patties

I had a science project in 3rd grade that involved making homemade pickles. The fact that I can easily draw forth the memory of that first briny, crunchy bite from all those years back shows you what kind of an impact it had on me.

I love pickled things, so I really don’t know why it’s taken me so long to conduct some similar kitchen chemistry with red onions. 

These pickled red onions couldn’t be simpler to make and they transform into the most vibrant pink color that makes eating them that much more fun. The jalapeno imparts this really great flavor and even with the seeds it isn’t overly spicy. The brine has some honey and the onions are naturally sweet and the trio of flavors you get–sweet + the bite from the vinegar + a little kick of heat–is what keeps you going back to the refrigerator, eating straight out of the jar. 

lentil salmon patties

I’m trying to discreetly summon Spring into life, so I served these lentil salmon patties up with some sliced radish and radish microgreens.

But the next day, when the jalapeno pickled red onions were long gone (ahem), I topped my leftover salmon patties with some salsa and avocado. Both versions were good enough to add to the regular dinner rotation. 

lentil salmon patties

Cheap eats that are good for you, delicious, and versatile?

What are you waiting on? 

Red Lentil Salmon Patties with Jalapeno Pickled Red Onion

15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Serving Size: 2


    For the pickled onions
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 1 sliced jalapeno, sliced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup warm water
    For the salmon patties
  • 1 6 oz can wild caught salmon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup cooked and cooled red lentils*
  • 1 cut grated zucchini
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbs gluten free flour (I used coconut flour)
  • black pepper


    For the pickled onions
  1. Add salt and honey to a mixing bowl and add warm water. Stir to dissolve and add remaining ingredients. Toss to coat onions and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Toss again and transfer to a glass container and refrigerate. Onions can be eaten within one hour, but soften and take on a stronger flavor with time. Ideally, marinate overnight.
    For the salmon patties
  1. Grate zucchini and squeeze out a little bit of the water. Add to a mixing bowl with the remaining ingredients. Mix well to combine and form into patties by forming the mixture into a ball in your hands and flattening it. You should get 6-8 patties, depending on how large you make them. The patties will be a little bit loose.
  2. Heat a pan over medium high heat and add oil. Add patties and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side.
  3. Serve patties with sour cream (or creme fraiche or greek yogurt) pickled red onions, and a lemon wedge.

*I soak my lentils before I cook them to increase nutrient availability and digestibility 

Don't let me do all the talking! Let me know what you think in the comments.

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