Red lentil and bulgur patties with tomato mint salsa

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This is Armenian peasant food at its healthiest! It’s also a popular dish for lent. I think it’s the perfect vegetarian meal. I make patties with a combination of red lentils, bulgur wheat and fried onions. Traditionally, you put a small amount in the palm of your hand and close your fist to shape the mixture into little balls. Well, you can shape the mixture any way you like. It’s best to serve these patties with a tomato based salad. I have the traditional recipe below for a parsley mint salad that complements the patties so well. The actual hands-on time is 30 minutes. The cooking time is about 45 minutes.

Here is what you’ll need for the lentil bulgur patties:

  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups fine cracked wheat or bulgur (#1)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Aleppo pepper or paprika
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 2 medium onions finally chopped
  • 3/4 cup of olive oil

Here is what you’ll need for the parsley mint salad:

  • 3 tomatoes diced
  • 4 Persian cucumbers, diced
  • 1 bunch green onions, diced
  • 1/2 bunch of parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup of fresh mint, chopped
  • 3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. salt

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Rinse the lentils until water is clear. In a deep pot, cook the lentils in the water and salt under medium-high heat until the lentils are soft and cooked through. The lentils will not retain their shape when mixed. It only takes about 15 minutes.

Turn off the heat and add the bulgur, cumin, Aleppo pepper. Stir to mix throughout. Cover the pot. The water will be fully absorbed.

While the bulgur is soaking up the water in the above step, heat up the olive-oil under medium-high heat. Fry the onions until they start to turn golden, about 7-10 minutes. Make sure to mix the onions around while doing this, so that none of the onions cook to fast. Once the onions are ready, pour them, along with the olive oil, into the pot with the lentils and bulgur. Make sure the onions and olive-oil are well blended. Let the mixture cool down for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the parsley-mint salad. Simply combine all the ingredients and set aside.

Now you form the patties. It helps to dip you fingers in water to keep the mixture moist so its easier to form. Serve the patties with the parsley-mint salad.

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