Saturday, July 28, 2012

Vegan Dishes #1: Lentil Kufte

red lentil kufte
We all have to start somewhere, no I'm not a vegan, at least not everyday of the week, but I try to at least be a vegetarian 3 days a week, and that's not too far a step from being vegan.
Middle eastern food is very interesting when it comes to vegan dishes, many of their traditionally dishes are naturally vegan, others are simply a sub out for butter step away. Because the food is naturally in that state, it doesn't taste altered, and it's fulfilling. Kufte is a sort of lentil meatball, just not shaped into balls it's fresh and comforting all at the same time.

It all starts with cooked onions, some weeks I make a large batch of cooked onions and then use it through out the week, so many dishes use them. It's like squeezing all the lemons the day you buy them. If at the end of the week you haven't had a chance to use them, you can always toss them into a vinaigrette and make a salad.

This recipe wants one large onion cooked slowly on low heat for around 30 minutes.


Meanwhile boil red lentils in 3 cups of water.

You are looking for a mushy watery state.

Place onions and 1 cup bulgur in a large bowl. There are many different grades of bulgur, you're looking for size #1, which is the size that's used in tabouli. Bulgur is cracked wheat, that's cooked and then dried, and sorted according to size.

If the mixture is wet add more bulgur.

Add hot lentils, mix, cover and leave for 25 minutes.

Add most of the green onions, parsley, hot paprika, and salt. Then mix. If it's too dry you can add a little hot water or even olive oil. 

For into shapes, this shape is the traditional one used, it's basically squeezed and retains the shape your fingers give it, you can make little balls, or footballs, whatever you like, you do want something you can bite the end off of.

Top with remaining green onions and sweet paprika as a garnish.

This can be served as an appetizer or main dish, it's great with a tomato and cucumber salad, or really any other salad. You can eat these with your hands, they can be served warm, cold or room temperature.

Lentil kufte
1 cup red lentils
3 cups water
1 cup bulgur
1 large onion,
olive oil to cook onion
2 green onions, chopped (save some for garnish)
1/2 bunch parsley
1/2 tsp hot paprika (or to taste)
salt to taste
sweet paprika, as garnish

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