At our house, left over lentils get stuffed into pita pockets for lunch the next day. These nifty little lentil pockets pack a delicious, nutrient punch with tons of fiber, phyto-nutrients and healthy fats. The dog days of summer make many of us crave meals on the lighter side. Ideally, you want to utilize the abundant, local produce that is available at this time of the year. These pockets with the refreshing, crunchy, salsa totally fit the bill! Who said if it is healthy, it probably does not taste good??!!! Easy to assemble too! Check it out…
For the sprouted lentils
Yield: 9 servings; 1/3 cup each
- 1 cup lentils, unsprouted (may use the flat, tan colored ones, mung beans or whole math beans, featured).
- 2 tbsp. olive or peanut oil
- ½ tsp mustard seeds
- 1 and 1/3 cup onions, finely chopped
- 1 cup fresh tomato, finely chopped
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp chili powder
- ¾ tsp coriander-cumin powder
- 1 tsp salt or to taste
- 2 tbsp. fresh coriander leaves, chopped fine, divided
- Please refer to my post, “Complete meal on a plate” for instructions on sprouting lentils. 1 cup of math or mung beans soaked a day earlier, will yield approximately 3 cups of sprouted beans.
- In a 3 quart nonstick, or thick bottomed sauce pan, heat oil on medium heat.
- Add mustard seeds, stir for a few seconds until mustard seeds begin to sizzle.
- Add chopped onions and sauté, until transparent, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add fresh chopped tomatoes, sauté until tomatoes wilt and soften, and the mixture forms a homogenous mass, about 4-5 minutes.
- Stir 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves into the mixture. At this time, oil should start separating from the sides of the pan
- Add all spices to the pan, stirring well.
- Add sprouted lentils, stirring well into above mixture.
- Add approximately 3 and ½ cups boiling water or vegetable stock to lentil-onion mixture and bring to a rolling boil for about 4-5 minutes.
- Cover tightly and allow to simmer on low heat until lentils are cooked, tender to the touch and have absorbed most of the cooking liquid.
- You may add more liquid if desired for a soup like consistency, but for the pita recipe here, you would want lentils that are somewhat moist, but not floating in liquid.
- Stir salt to taste into lentils, along with the remaining tbsp of coriander leaves and set aside.
- This recipe yields approximately 3 cups of cooked sprouted lentils.
For the fresh salsa:
Yield: 2 and a 1/4 cup of fresh salsa
- ¾ cup of bell peppers, finely chopped
- ¾ cup of fresh tomatoes, finely chopped
- ¾ cup of red onions, finely chopped
- 2 small hot, green chilies, seeded and chopped
- 3 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and toss gently
- Taste for seasoning and adjust as required
- Set aside.
For the garnish
- ½ cup chopped, fresh avocado
- 1/2 cup freshly grated cheese (sharp white cheddar)
- 2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
5 high fiber (greater than 5 grams of fiber per serving), pita pockets
To assemble bean sprout pita pockets:
- Carefully cut each round pita pocket in half. (You will get 10 pita pocket halves, but will be using only 9 of these for this recipe)
- Place about a third of a cup of the cooked lentils in one half of a pita pocket
- Spoon ¼ cup of fresh salsa over the lentils in the pita pocket.
- Top with a small amount of avocado, grated cheese and cilantro for the garnish.
- Repeat this process for all the pita pockets. The recipe yields 9 pita pocket halves.
- Serve immediately as pita pockets are likely to get soggy if not.
A Registered Dietitian’s tip: This is pretty much a complete meal in a pocket. The pita pocket serves as a high fiber whole grain, lentils provide tons of protein, the peanut oil and avocados supply healthful, unsaturated fats and the vegetables provide a plethora of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. In addition, sprouted lentils pack the nutrient power of a germinating seed! All for well under 200 calories per serving and 7 hefty grams of fiber! Pair with a yogurt or a bowl of fresh fruit for a satisfying meal. So go ahead, dig in and indulge!
Chef’s tip: Allow 48 hours for lentils to sprout in dry, cool weather and about 24 hors when humid and warm. Make sure that lentils are on the drier side when stuffing the pita pocket as it is likely to get soggy and fall apart.