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!