I have to admit, when I first read this recipe I was a little dubious. It just didn’t sound like there were enough flavorful ingredients to make it a satisfying meatless entree. I mean, bulgur wheat and lentils? Really?
Happily, I was wrong. This was probably the best vegetarian dish I’ve made since I began participating in Meat Free Mondays last summer. Quite simply, it was amazing!
The success of this dish can be attributed to two of its ingredients: Kalamata olives and Feta cheese.
Kalamatas are my favorite olives. I buy them from this little Greek grocery store I like. It’s not close, but I’m willing to make the trip just to buy the olives. They marinate them in a little EVOO and some Greek herbs, so the flavor is just explosive.
Kalamatas usually come with pits in them, so be aware of that when you’re eating them. But, man, are they delicious! They have so much more flavor than your everyday black or green olives, which to me mostly taste like salt.
Feta cheese is a crumbly, white, slightly salty cheese made of goat’s milk, but it tastes nothing like goat cheese. You can buy either domestic or imported, but the imported is about double the price.
I know this is a budget cooking blog, but if you can afford it, the imported is 1000% better than the domestic. The feta cheese I buy is imported from Bulgaria, but you can often find it imported from Greece. While domestic Feta’s flavor is mild, the imported is so flavorful, creamy and delicious that it can be eaten by itself, but it is most commonly found sprinkled on salads.
Mediterranean Bulgur and Lentils
1 cup uncooked bulgur wheat or cracked wheat
1/2 cup dried lentils, sorted and rinsed
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp sea salt
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
2 14-oz cans vegetable broth
1 15.5-oz can Italian-style tomatoes with olive oil and herbs
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted, rough chop
1 cup crumbed imported Feta cheese
1 or 2 whole wheat pitas
1. In crock pot, mix all ingredients except tomatoes, olives and cheese.
2. Cover and cook on low 3 to 4 hours or until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally because most of the liquid will be absorbed.
3. About 30 minutes before service, turn crock pot to warm setting (or just turn it off if yours doesn’t have a warm setting), and stir in tomatoes and olives. To serve, pile in center of bowl and garnish with Feta. Serve with whole wheat pita on the side.
Have you every been pleasantly surprised by a recipe you weren’t sure about? If so, share your experience in the comments section below. And thanks for looking at my blog!
Funny, as soon as I saw the title, I expected to see cumin.
And I really like that the cooking liquid is full strength broth as opposed to mostly water. The way the bulgur absorbs the flavor is incredible…
Made a simple Turkish stew last night as part of the Sunday cookoff. Seasoning is cinnamon and nutmeg. I was stunned at how good it tasted – unsweetened cinnamon, so it’s savory. That recipe was a surprise (even though my girl tells me we’ve made and enjoyed it before…
I like it to, but a little cinnamon goes a long way. Plus I’ve learned nevery to tell anybody there’s cinnamon in something (other than something obvious, like pumpkin or apple pie) because they always claim they can taste it. Funny, when you don’t mention it, they never taste it.
Nice recipe = sounds better than it looks.
Thanks, I think.
Just what are lentils???? Peas???
They are in the legume family, like peas. Except they are flat like tiny flying saucers.
This looks so fantastic! Bulgur and Lentils… be still my heart! I am putting this one on the menu for next week, I know the fam will love it.
Please let me know how it turned out. We really, really liked this one!
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