Red lentil day, Spicy "Mediterranean" red lentil wrap

A healthy Mediterranean lunch option when working from home

How food looks as you prepare it can make as much difference to you the cook as it does,on the plate, to the person who gets to eat it. When life feels a little grrrrr, I am absurdly cheered by the fresh brightness of a vibrantly orange daal.
Sometimes, just once in a blue moon, there are days that are pleasantly noteworthy or memorable. A day when you discover how to make a dish that is naturally gluten free, high in fibre and protein, low in fat and calories. Packed with flavour, this deserves a pat on the back. No marks here for authenticity, but who gives a monkey´s for authenticity when something tastes so good. Let’s get this out of the way. This is neither Indian or Turkish, but while I was working on developing the taste I required, I realised that there were elements of both these cuisines melding with each other, a traditional Indian daal and a Turkish lentil kofta (which is usually served in some sort of a meatball form). These tender and spicy vegetarian meatballs made with red lentils and bulgur are a popular finger food in Turkey. I played around with some traditional vegetarian versions to create a filling of nutty red lentils and bulgur, spiced up with cumin, red pepper, and onions. Something was emerging that was more than compatible with the Mediterranean diet. My finished portion would be rolled up in a sheet of lavash (wrap) (I used whole wheat), along with crunchy shredded cabbage and gorgeous red pepper paste. So my inspiration started off with a fairly traditional red lentil daal and then got spiced up with cumin, coriander, turmeric and a red pepper paste, onions, garlic and bulgur wheat, which achieved that gorgeous nutty taste that I was looking for. A spicy mediterranean style wrap that was both vegetarian and vegan was what I decided on. A spicy daal
rolled up in a tortilla, along with crunchy shredded crisp cabbage was to be the perfect side to any curry.I t never made it that far as I decided It makes a great lunch just on its own. Oh well I´ll just have to make it again. As they say in many Mediterranean countries, no worries. 

"The inspiration"
Basic Masoor Dal Tadka –
Indian Red Lentil Dal

"The twist"
Spicy Mediterranean red lentil wrap
Again I consulted some Turkish recipes to make the paste. Traditionally, making red pepper paste requires days of sun drying, but this simplified version just involves simmering red bell peppers and cayenne on the hob. Alternatively, if you want to skip  a step or are short on time, you can use a good quality commercial brand pepper paste or mild harissa, which can be found in most delis, or the specialist aisle of your supermarket. 

For the red pepper paste (makes about 3/4 cup)
6 medium red bell peppers, cored and chopped
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon Flor de sal
Olive oil to cover (if refrigerating)

For the lentil filling:
1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed
3/4 cup fine grain (#1) bulgur wheat
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 spring onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon Flor de sal

To assemble the wraps:
6 (approximately 9x12-inch) sheets lavash, white or whole wheat
2 cups shredded cabbage

To make the red pepper paste:
Combine bell peppers, cayenne pepper, and salt in a food processor and puree. Pour the puree into a skillet over low heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced to a paste. This can take up to 2 hours. Let cool before using. To store, pack the paste into a jar, pour enough olive oil on top to cover, and refrigerate.
To make the lentil filling: Combine lentils and 2 cups of water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 20 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in bulgur. Let stand until water is absorbed and bulgur is soft, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent. Stir in cumin and red pepper flakes and cook for another minute.
Add onions, spring onion, parsley, and salt to lentil-bulgur mixture and stir until well combined. Let cool before using to make wraps. (If you want a smoother texture, you can run the filling through a food processor, but I like it just as it is.) You can freeze the filling in an airtight container if not using all at once.
To assemble the wraps: Lay out a lavash sheet with the shorter end closest to you. Spread 1 1/2 tablespoons of red pepper paste across the lower 1/3 of the sheet. Top with the lentil-bulgur mixture, and then the cabbage. Roll from the bottom up, and spread an additional 1/2 tablespoon of red pepper paste across the top end to help seal the wrap. Repeat for remaining wraps.
To serve, cut each wrap in half on the diagonal and serve 

*For those who are new here, please note that you can click here and check the previous post. 


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