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North Carolina's Winning Recipe: Korean Lentil Patties

“I created this dish because I like to cook with my mom in the kitchen. I wanted to make a healthy meal that highlights my Korean background and also learn more about nutrition when I cook. I made this recipe for my dad and he loved the taste. I am very lucky to live in North Carolina because I can choose so many wonderful vegetables to cook with, including sweet potatoes, which are so tasty!”

Mena Choi, Age 10, the 2016 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge winner from North Carolina

Makes 6 Servings


For Korean Lentil Patties:

  • ¾ brown lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Korean hot pepper paste or red chili paste
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • Juice from ½ fresh lemon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Olive oil

For Greek Dill Yogurt:

  • 1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon dill


  1. To make the Korean Lentil Patties: In a large stockpot, combine lentils with the broth and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Once tender, drain the lentils to remove any extra liquid and let cool for 10 minutes.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the lentils with the remaining ingredients except the breadcrumbs. Form into 6 balls with your hands. Place breadcrumbs on a plate and roll the balls in the breadcrumbs, flatten into patties, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the patties on a large baking sheet and drizzle olive oil over the top of the patties. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with Greek Dill Yogurt.
  2. To make Greek Dill Yogurt: In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt and dill and serve with the patties.

276 calories 7g fat 39g carbohydrates 15g protein

Mena serves this with roasted sweet potatoes.