Lentil-Stuffed Whole Wheat Pita Pockets

Adapted from The New Vegetarian Grill

After going just a little lentil-crazy over the winter, I had taken a break. This summer recipe was a reminder why I got so nutty over them in the first place. I love to grill almost daily in the summer, but I don’t like to eat meat every day. This vegetarian supper is perfect for a meatless Monday or really just about any other day.

  • 1 cup French green lentils
  • 2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 3 oz. soft goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 whole wheat pita pockets
  • 2 cups arugula
  • Bring a pot of generously salted water to a rolling boil. Add the lentils, reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 30 minutes. Lentils should be tender but not mushy. Drain the lentils and place them in a large bowl.
  • Meanwhile, prepare a grill to medium high direct heat.
  • In a bowl, toss the onions with olive oil. Rub the thyme leaves vigorously between your palms to help them release their flavor, then add them to the bowl. Sprinkle the onions with salt and pepper and toss.¬†Lightly oil a vegetable rack, then place the onion mixture evenly across it.
  • Grill the onions, turning with a metal spatula every so often, until softened and nicely browned, about 12 to 15 minutes. While the onions are cooking, set the whole bell pepper on the grates. Allow one side to become blackened, then rotate it. Continue this process until the skin is blistered and blackened all the way around, about 10 minutes. Remove the pepper from the grill and seal it into a paper bag to rest for about 10 minutes. This will allow the pepper to steam a bit, which will make it easier to peel the skin from the flesh.
  • Cut a few long slits into the pepper. Steam will billow out, so be careful not to burn yourself. If there are any juices, let them run into the bowl with the lentils. Peel and seed the pepper, then dice it and toss it into the bowl with the lentils. Add the onions, goat cheese and vinegar. Toss to combine, then add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cut each pita in half. Wrap the pitas in foil, then set them on the grill to warm. To serve, stuff each pita with 1/2 cup arugula and a generous dollop of the lentil mixture.
  • Quick Tips
  • 1. The recipe said specifically not to try this with any other type of lentil. I was tempted to try it with black beluga lentils anyway, but I didn’t have enough of them. Apparently, the mild flavor and firm texture of the French green lentils is perfect for this recipe.
  • 2. In typical fashion, I deconstructed these pitas for my children. Their plates included a little pile of lentils, a serving of the peppers (remember to set some aside) and the pita bread cut into triangles. I also offered some of the lentil mixture but they were much more interested in the parts sold separately.
  • 3. I liked the lentil mixture so much I ate it by itself the next day for lunch. You could also put it over a bed of greens and make it into a salad.

Preparation time: 30 minute(s)

Cooking time: 45 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

 

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