Vegan, Southwest-style, Amaranth Cakes w/ lentils, kale and drizzled with a vegan chipotle aioli – a high protein meal, vegan & gluten-free!
Vegan, southwest, Amaranth Cakes w/ lentils, kale and chipotle aioli - high protein meal, vegan & gluten free |
It is in the nature of things to be drawn to the very experiences that will spoil our innocence, transform our lives, and give us necessary complexity and depth.
These protein-packed cakes are made with an ancient gluten-free grain called Amaranth. Lentils and kale give heft and nutrients, while the vegan chipotle aioli, drizzled over top, gives them a flavorful smoky spicy tangy boost of flavor. Not only are these healthy guys gluten-free, they are also vegan and low in fat.
The Amaranth Cakes can also be baked, although I do prefer the crust that develops from searing in cast iron skillet on the stove. Serve with lime and cilantro and a fresh zesty Mexican style cabbage slaw or leafy green salad, and you have a healthy and satisfying, protein-rich meal.
Amaranth Cakes w/ lentils, kale and chipotle aioli - high protein meal, vegan & gluten free |

What is amaranth?

Amaranth, if unfamiliar, is an ancient grain originating on the American continent. It was a staple food of the Aztecs, Incas and Mayas, thought to have been domesticated 6000 years ago. Another gluten-free and delicious wheat alternative for those with celiac or gluten intolerance.

In many South American countries, it is sold as street food, often popped like popcorn. In India, Mexico, Nepal, and Peru, it’s a traditional ingredient for breakfast porridge. In Mexico, a favorite treat is dulce de alegria -“alegria” is the Spanish word for joy – a sweet confection made from popped amaranth mixed with sugar or honey, very similar to our rice crispy treats.

Health Benefits of Amaranth:

Amaranth is a complete protein—containing all the essential amino acids, including lysine, which is lacking in most grains. High in fiber and a good source of magnesium and iron, it can be found at most grocery stores, health food stores and ethnic markets. Bob’s Red Mill is a good source for it.

How to cook Amaranth:

Because of its small size, cooking amaranth is very fast and easy – gently boil like you would pasta, in water for 15 minutes, then drain. The cooked grains hold their shape and can be added to veggie burgers, patties, or your morning porridge for a boost of nutrition. Or for fun, try popping Amaranth, like you would popcorn on the stovetop – the little popped grains look like miniature popcorn.

In this recipe for Southwest Amaranth Lentil Patties, it adds a nutty flavor and pleasant crunchy texture.

Amaranth Cakes w/ lentils, kale and chipotle aioli - high protein meal, vegan & gluten free |
For this recipe, I used split red lentils, because they seem to cook at the same fast rate as the Amaranth.
If using different lentils, cook them separately, then combine.
Amaranth Cakes w/ lentils, kale and chipotle aioli - high protein meal, vegan & gluten free |
Amaranth Cakes w/ lentils, kale and chipotle aioli - high protein meal, vegan & gluten free |
I like to pack these guys with healthy greens, onion and garlic.
Gently sear in a skillet to get a nice crust.  Seared, the crust allows them to hold their form a little better, although I have baked them.

Drizzle with the vegan chipotle aioli- which adds quite a bit of flavor and zest. Don’t leave this off.

Amaranth Cakes w/ lentils, kale and chipotle aioli - high protein meal, vegan & gluten free |

I hope you enjoy this recipe for Amaranth Cakes! Recipe Adapted from:

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Amaranth Cakes w/ Lentils, Kale & Vegan Chipotle Aioli

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.2 from 6 reviews


Vegan,  Amaranth Lentil Cakes with vegan Chipotle “aioli”- a flavorful hearty cake that is full of flavor and nutrients.


Units Scale
  • 1 cup split red lentils
  • 1 cup amaranth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion,finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups finely chopped kale
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed (this is the binding agent, so don’t leave out)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
  • oil for frying

Chipotle “aioli”


  1. Add split red lentils and amaranth to a pot. Cover with water and boil for 15 minutes, until tender. Place in a fine mesh strainer and let drain extra well, pressing liquid out. While draining…
  2. In a large skillet, saute onion in oil over medium high heat for two minutes. Turn heat down to medium. Add garlic. Saute 3-4 minutes. Add finely chopped kale, spices and salt.
  3. Add onion-kale mixture to lentil amaranth mixture in big bowl. Stir to combine well. Add ground flax seeds and fold in fresh cilantro. Let cool.
  4. Make Aioli. Place all Aioli ingredients in a food processor and blend until very smooth, scraping down sides. Place in bowl and set aside.
  5. When cool enough to handle, form 2-3 inch patties and lightly coated in flour and dry amaranth seeds. Refrigerate 20 minutes.
  6. Heat 1 -2 tablespoons oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat.
  7. Sear patties a few minutes on each side, until golden brown and place in a warm oven until heated all the way through.
  8. Serve with the chipotle aioli and fresh sprigs of cilantro.


  • Serving Size: 1 patty with sauce
  • Calories: 425
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Sodium: 618.3 mg
  • Fat: 13.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 59.3 g
  • Fiber: 9.6 g
  • Protein: 20.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

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  1. I made these today and found it to be pretty messy ordeal but I’m always happy to try to get the perfect veg burger. Like others, I could not get these to bind. I chilled them for at least 40 minutes and they would not even roll into a ball to form a pattie. The split dal was falling away and while the patties were gently placed in a frying pan, coated with flour and dusted with amaranth, to my shock the amaranth seeds migrated out of the patty and was a big mess. I took the rest of the patties out of the fridge and baked them in a 400degree oven for 15 minutes. They stayed together but are cracking. I might put all the patties into a rice dish and eat it like a chili from India. The recipe tastes good but I wish I had used bread crumbs and eggs. I did use ground flax for binding but it did not work. I followed the recipe. The aiolo sauce with silken tofu was delicious.

    1. Sorry about this Kathy- is it possible they were undercooked? It sounds like it but hard to telll without seeing. I will have to make this again, it has been a long time. If you get the grain and split lentil both really soft (but not watery)- they bind to themselves.

      1. I wondered if the lentil/amaranth mix was undercooked also. I noted the water was nearly gone in the pot so maybe measuring 6-8 cups of water would work.
        I crumbled some patties and pressed them into steamed cabbage leaves for stuffed cabbage and they formed better today. I frozed 4 patties but they would be good mixed in brown rice . Thank you!

  2. I felt I should comment since people were searching for replacements for the flax seed. I don’t use flax since I read it can cause issues down the line with people with thyroid problems. I replaced the flax seed with hemp seeds (2 tablespoons) and added a little bit of little bit of nutritional yeast (about 1 tablespoon) and that worked perfectly to bind the mixture. I also think that using a cast iron pan is helpful and letting it get super super sizzling hot before plopping the ball in there is key. It didn’t turn into a perfect doughy ball for me, it was very loose and could fall apart but if you’re gentle it holds just enough to sear it and seal the edges by flipping it and searing it on the other side. This was a hit. My boyfriend threw one of the large ones I made into some bread and topped it with the aoli and it was a delicious veggie burger as well. Loved this recipe!

  3. 5 stars for the flavors, but the patties still fall apart, we could not even form them properly. We followed the instructions to the T, except we replaced the flax with 2 eggs. I’d like to try make them again. Should I use the flax after all? Does it bind better than an egg? Should I try blending the lentils with the amaranth together, or even the whole thing including the vegetables? Try to cool down the mixture in the fridge even before we try form the patties? Not sure what else I could try,

    1. Hi Ewa! This is an older recipe that I haven’t made in such a long time! I think I made it with ground flax and not eggs? Did you use split lentils here? Or whole lentils? You could try blending all of it a food processor, forming into patties (pressing tightly with your hands) then chilling in the fridge before pan searing? Let me know how it goes. 🙂

    2. I followed the recipe to the given specifications. Flavors are good as you stated, but they do not stay together with the ground flax seed either. I was going to try eggs and a bit of sprouted spelt flour next time.

      1. Hi Karin- sorry to hear this. No changes to the recipe? I’m stumped as to why these aren’t sticking together. I’ve made these several times, with never a problem. To confirm, you used split lentils? Can you think of anything else?

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  5. I made these successfully today. I don’t know if the recipe has been changed to account for the issues people have had, but it worked for me, I just had to be gentle with patties. I only made a few changes. I used ~2.5 cups of water while cooking the amaranth/lentil mixture and might have cooked them longer than 15 mins because I wasn’t paying attention and I did not have to drain it. I added red peppers to both the cakes and the chipotle “aioli”, but just because I was gifted two huge bags of homegrown peppers last week and need to use them. I did not refrigerate the cakes but let the mixture cook for a while then added in the flax meal last and let it sit in the warm pan for a while (10 mins?) to soak up. In the aioli, I used jarred chipotle peppers instead of powder because I had them on hand. I only rolled the patties in the whole grain flour and not amaranth, but only because (a) I was lazy and (b) I was being stingy with my amaranth. I then baked them without searing on a silicone mat, once again out of laziness. I ended up with 12 cakes, they fit perfectly on a baking sheet.

    The chipotle “aioli” is amazing and I’ll be finding excusing to make it frequently from now on.

  6. I liked the flavors here, but like others have said the patties did not bind–they fell apart. I used the flax seed…and then I made extra flax eggs because the first batch I fried fell apart so bad. The extra flax eggs did not help. I made the recipe exactly as stated. Would definitely not make again 🙁

    1. I need to redo this recipe- people are having problems with it. I’m so sorry, I’m not sure what happened. I may have left something out when I typed up the recipe. Sorry about that, so frustrating.

    2. A few questions….Did you bake or sear these? did you use GROUND flax? Did you use red split lentils or whole lentils? Thanks…trying to figure this out!

      1. I seared them, ground flax, split lentils…I tried extra flax and mashing everything…just trying to get it to bind…it did not work.

        1. Ok, huh, I’m stumped! so perplexing. Well… when I get back from traveling, I will have to remake these. Sorry Rosey!

    1. The Aioli ingredients are listed below the patty ingredients. You blend all the Aioli ingredients in a food processor. ( see step #4) 😉

  7. Made these tonight and my toddler loved them! This is the first time I’ve ever seen him chow down on lentils and kale, so this recipe is definitely a keeper. I decided to bake them, which seemed to render the step of rolling them in dry amaranth useless as they didn’t develop that nice golden color. I ended up increasing the heat to 400 degrees halfway through, which helped them get a better crunch. I might start at a higher temperature next time, or just forget baking altogether and sear them.

    Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  8. All the comments where from people who hadn’t made it. I just did. The recipe is totally lacking. Try forming patties then frying them. Not going to work. The recipe needs a binder. I used some panko crumbs and two eggs for half the recipe. Still wasn’t enough. Be warned.

    1. Hi Rick, ground flax is the binder here…along with the red lentils ( split lentils- not whole). Did you use both? Im sorry this didn’t work out for you– I actually make this often, with no problems with the binding….so very curious to see what could have gone wrong for you? Sylvia

      1. Ah, didn’t have the flax seed. My bad. They were very tasty. My wife loved them and she’s a devoted meat eater. She even ate them for lunch the next day!

        1. Oh OK that makes total sense….I will stress that ground Flax is the binder- it’s not only for nutritional purposes. Thanks so much!!

    2. I’m so happy to see someone else failed at these lol. I don’t understand the extra layer of amaranth when it doesn’t really cook or get tender?? It’s like sand……. and patties did not bind.

      1. Ok, I guess I will have to test this one again. 🙂 Thanks for the feedback. Did you use the ground flax seed in the recipe to bind? Did you bake this, or pan-sear? Thanks.

  9. I love, love, love how they turned out! I’m glad you liked my recipe :). Can’t wait to try your chipotle “aioli” recipe. Sounds perfect!

  10. These photos make me want to run right to the kitchen to whip up a batch of these awesome veggie burgers. I think I even have some amaranth…said one vegan to the other! 🙂

  11. These are gorgeous. I love amaranth and I don’t use it nearly enough. Have a wonderful trip!!

  12. Love the look of these! I can’t believe I have never tried amaranth, I always have grains for my lunch so must go to the health food shop and pick some up

  13. They seems gorgeous!! I have some amaranth in my pantry waiting for an amazing recipe 😀


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