Thursday, July 8, 2010

Red Lentil and Millet Bites

Today I wanted to make some small bean and grain balls, or bites as I am calling them, to add to the salads we seem to eat constantly. Since many of you ask about making my veggie burgers gluten free I decided to make this version without vital wheat gluten. Here is what I did:

Red Lentil and Millet Bites
Makes 56 bites


1 cup red lentils, dry
1 cup millet, dry
6 cups water
1 carrot, finely grated
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons nigella seeds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
sea salt, to taste


Combine the red lentils, millet and water and simmer until the water is almost completely absorbed. Then turn off the pan and cover the pan with a lid. Allow to stand for at least 15 minutes so the remaining water will be absorbed.

Move the millet and red lentils to a mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Thoroughly combine the ingredients. Taste the mixture to see if you need any additional seasonings.

Line a half sheet pan (11 ½ by 17) with silpat or parchment paper. Use a 1 1/2 tablespoon disher to portion out the balls and place them on the pan. You should get approximately 56 balls. There will be enough to substantially cover the pan with little room left over.

Once the bites have cooled place the pan in the refrigerator so the mixture can “set”. I refrigerated mine unit they were completely cold.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the convection fan on if you have one. Bake the balls until they are firm on the exterior but still a little soft on the interior. This took 30 minutes in my oven.

Allow the balls to cool before removing from the pan. They will be a little soft on the bottom if you used a silpat. Using parchment instead of silpat should allow the bottom to become crisper from more direct contact with the metal pan.

To freeze the leftovers, after they are cold slide the silpat lined pan into the freezer uncovered. When the balls are hard place them into a sealed freezer safe container.

Nutritional Information per bite (or 1/56th of the recipe):

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 31.68
Calories From Fat (18%) - 5.81

Total Fat - 0.69g
Saturated Fat - 0.08g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 2.39mg
Potassium - 41.57mg
Total Carbohydrates - 5.11g
Fiber - 0.88g
Sugar - 0.1g
Protein - 1.47g


These are mild in flavor so they will work with any type of salad dressing. The interior texture is soft, like a bean burger. The exact interior texture will depend on how long you cook them and the heat of your oven. Mine had a slightly crunchy exterior and a somewhat soft interior. I found them to be a little addictive straight from the oven. I think they will make a great addition to salad. I plan to reheat them in the microwave to make dinner or lunch prep quicker.

For those of you that aren’t avoiding gluten I think a ¼ cup or so of vital wheat gluten would improve the texture of the bites by making them a little more firm. However I will be using this version again when I want the softer texture. Alternately you could add a little dry oatmeal to the mixture to help the texture dry a little. That should also make them firmer.

I like that these are lower in fat than most falafel. I included sunflower seeds for the anticancer effects of the phytosterols they contain. Nigella seeds have been shown to reduce the release of inflammatory mediators in pancreatic cancer cells. Turmeric also has been shown to cause cancer to commit suicide (apoptosis). Like usual I try to cook with items and methods that are health promoting. ;-)

One of my favorite things about these is how low in calories they are. That means the four I just consumed straight out the oven aren’t going to end up directly on my hips.

Unrelated note:

The dumbbells just arrived. Yay! I am so not right about some things, LOL. It is a little late to try them out today but you know what I will be doing tomorrow morning. ;-)

The weather today was much better than it has been. We were only in the mid 90s which felt like a cold front had come through compared to what we have been experiencing. It was nice to be able to spend a little time outside this morning without immediately wilting in the heat.

Today has been a rather lazy one at my place. I was in the mood to lounge about read and drink iced green tea. It was a pleasant day just not particularly productive. Tomorrow will need to be more productive to make up for my slacking today. ;-)

Talk to you all again soon.  I hope everyone has great evening.


  1. Great idea!
    Thanks for making them gluten free.
    These would also travel well. :)
    I like that, for the days when I need to be out and about.

  2. Naina,

    You are very welcome. Sorry my recipes so often use gluten. I try to make gluten free variations when I remember. ;-) If you want to use the method I simply overcooked the millet to make it a binder.

    You would need to put these in a hard sided container so that they don't get squashed if you want to travel with them.

    have a great evening,

  3. Oh these sound great. Love it! Can't wait to hear about the weights.

  4. Heather,

    These were surprisingly addictive. I got a little carried away sampling when they came out of the oven. ;-)

    I was bummed the weights didn't come soomer in the day. But I am psyched to try them out tomorrow morning. LOL

    talk to you later,

  5. These look delicious! And I just happen to have 5 lbs of red lentils, just waiting for a recipe.

    Thank you for making them GF, too. My husband will appreciate that. Or perhaps he won't. He detests lentils.

  6. Carolyn,

    My husband would gladly come live at your place since you have 5 lbs of red lentils. They are his favorite. The lentils fall apart when they cook with the millet. If you don't tell your hubby what they are he might not know. ;-)

    There are many other red lentil recipes on my blog if you want to search for more recipes. Since they are Dan's favorite I use them often.

    I hope you like these as much as we did. :-) We just had them on a salad and they worked great that way.


  7. Those look wonderful, I can't wait to give them a try!

  8. Good Morning Janet,

    These were good on a salad last night. I warmed them briefly in the microwave. Using the little disher made the process much quicker to turn them into ball shapes. I had not done that before but definitely will again. Who doesn't love a good time saving tip?

    have a great Friday,

  9. This seems like a fun idea to play with, and why not, I have all of those ingredients? Nigella seeds are the newest addition to my spice rack (oh, who am I kidding spice CABINET).

  10. Sarah,

    Enjoy playing with the recipe. I can't wait to see how you tweak it. Next time I am going to add a little vital wheat gluten so we can compare the texture. I think 1/4 to 1/2 cup should be right.

    hope you had a good weekend,


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