Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 15 minutes Yield: 24 balls or 6 servings
1 cup red lentils, rinsed
1 1/2 cups fine bulgur wheat
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, minced
1 red bell pepper, cored and minced*
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or less, depending on your preference)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
6 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste (I used 1 teaspoon)
Chopped romaine lettuce
Fresh lemon juice
Place 3 cups of water and 1 cup of red lentils into a medium pot and set over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 7 minutes, until most of the water has absorbed. Turn the heat to low, add the bulgur wheat, cover, and cook for 15 minutes while stirring intermittently. Once the bulgur is cooked and all of the water has absorbed, remove from heat to cool.
Meanwhile, warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and red pepper, then cook for about 3 minutes. Stir in the cumin, paprika, crushed red pepper, cayenne, and tomato paste. Add 3 tablespoons water, stir to combine and cook for another 5 minutes.
Place the lentil mixture and the onion mixture into a large bowl, add the lentil mixture with the onion and red pepper paste. Stir together to combine, then set aside to cool completely for about 30 minutes.
Once the mixture has cooled, add chopped green onion, fresh parsley and lemon juice. Stir together. Add salt, as needed, to taste.
Preheat the oven to 400°F then line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop out about 2 tablespoons of the mixture at a time and roll into balls, arranging each one on the baking sheet at least an inch apart. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until light golden brown. Serve with chopped romaine, fresh lemon juice, and plain yogurt for topping.
If you are able to find Middle Eastern red pepper paste, then you can omit the minced red bell pepper, crushed red pepper and cayenne. Add the paste at the same time as the tomato paste while cooking the onion.