Meatless Monday: tabbouleh-lentil pita

It’s Monday again, folks! I hope you’ve had a good one. Whether your Monday has been great, bearable, or blah, here’s something to look forward to: lentil-tabbouleh salad and pitas!

I love lentils. They’re all the nourishment I want from meat, without the meat. And don’t be intimidated by tabbouleh (also spelled tabouli, among other spellings); it’s just bulgur wheat, tomatoes and parsley. (Sorry, gluten-intolerant readers, you’ll have to skip this one. I’ll make some gluten-free meals soon!) This meal is so easy, it’s pretty much cheating to even call it a recipe.

Time: ~1 hour (You have to let the tabbouleh stand for a while)

Serves: 6

Total Cost: < $10. The most expensive part of this meal was the feta cheese, followed by the tomatoes. Lentils and bulgur are quite cheap, and a local restaurant sells pitas for around $.15/piece.

Ingredients:

1 cup lentils
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup bulgur wheat (or one box pre-made tabbouleh)
2 medium tomatoes or 8 cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup parsley
Lemon juice to taste
1/3 cup olive oil
Tzatziki (optional, I usually go without for a healthier pita, but here’s some great recipes)
Pitas, grape leaves, whole wheat wraps, etc.
Anything else you want to add

Directions:

1. In a saucepan, saute the garlic in olive oil or butter until fragrant. Add the 1 cup lentils and 2 cups water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until desired consistency. Pour through a colander to drain.
2. In a bowl, prepare the tabbouli according to the directions on the box. Or, pour 1/2 cup hot water over 1 cup bulgur wheat and cover. (I personally think boxed tabbouleh is very silly, but the Male Compatriot didn’t realize how easy it is to “cook” bulgur and tried to make my life easier with tabbouleh-in-a-box.)

3. Cut the tomatoes into chunks, shred the parsley and cut up whatever other vegetables or items you may want to add. Some options: Mint leaves, cilantro, red onion, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, baked salmon (of course not on meatless Monday!), mashed avocado, dill, feta cheese, etc. I would not recommend carrots or mushrooms for this particular meal, the flavors just don’t quite mesh to my taste buds.

4. Add the lemon juice and olive oil to the tabbouleh and let sit for 30-45 minutes.

5. Shred some lettuce, spinach or other leafy green, toast your pitas for a few seconds so they don’t rip, and fill with lentils, tabbouleh and whatever else you may desire.

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Fresh, organic tomatoes, feta cheese and tabouli. (Also, a ton of bread and some mint sauces, courtesy of 5 room mates.)

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I buy organic olive oil in 3-gallon bulk containers and fill an old wine bottle every once in a while.

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Stir, stir, stir!

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Lentils before draining. I’m still practicing my photography, and sometimes the pictures don’t turn out at all. Sigh.

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So delicious, I forgot to take a picture until halfway through!

Enjoy your meatless Monday, and stay hungry, healthy and happy, my friends.

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