I came up with this recipe in a rushed way, when we had guests coming over and I found out at the last minute that one ingredient from my tried recipe was avoided by one of our dear guests. So I had to improvise and do it fast. And, surprisingly these wraps are probably one of my best recipes to date. They’re nutritious, filling, rich and good-looking (How YOU doin’?). They are also quite easy to prepare, an excellent left-over for lunch the next day or even to take on a hike/picnic/road trip. They can actually serve as breakfast wraps, lunch or dinner. Or eat half of it for a healthy snack. Lentils are gems in the food world. They are versatile, rich in nutrients, tasty and easy to prepare.
Since these wraps are so delicious, I decided to enter this recipe into the recipe contest for Canadian Lentils. If you like the recipe – find the Canadian Lentils page on Facebook, find my recipe/photo in their photos, like, share and comment as this counts towards my score. The recipes in the contest are all amazing (including a chocolate lentil cake?!?!) so definitely go check out their page.
INGREDIENT LIMELIGHT: Lentils
What it is: Lentils are legumes and they grow in pods with one or two seeds inside of the pod. Lentils are considered one of the oldest foods cultivated: being found by archaeologists in the Middle East (dating 8,000 years ago) and mentioned in the Bible.
What it does: Lentils are a superfood in my eyes and they are essential for vegetarians or vegans to thrive (and omnivores too, you know). Because lentils are little fiber powerhouses, they lower cholesterol and regulate blood-sugar. By lowering cholesterol, they help to decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases. With their high content of potassium, lentils help lower blood pressure. Lentils are high in folate, which helps to lower homocysteine, thus helping with cardiovascular conditions.
What it has: Lentils are incredibly high in fiber (1 cup of cooked lentils provides a whopping 16 grams of fiber), protein (1 cup of cooked lentils has 18 grams of protein) and to that, 0 grams of fat. In terms of micronutrients – lentils are an excellent source of molybdenum and folate, a very good source of phosphorus, copper, manganese and copper, and a good source of iron, zinc, vitamins B1 and B6. Lentils are truly super legumes!
What to lookout for: Purines. Again, if you look at all the incredible benefits of lentils, purines are not a huge concerns, but do talk to your doctor if you feel you might be at risk.
Forms, variety and cooking: Lentils can be found whole or split – by split, it means that the seed coat was removed and the inner part was split in half. Split peas cook faster than whole lentil. In Canada (and I’m sure in US as well) the most common lentils found are green and brown lentils, as well as, green and yellow split peas. It is best to soak lentils before cooking them, to break down the phytic acid. Cover lentils by about 2 inches of water, bring to a boil then simmer 20-30 minutes (or more). I usually eyeball it and test taste them to make sure they’re the right consistency (firmer for salads, mushier for soups etc.). I also add either a 1-inch kombu strip or a bay leaf to further increase digestibility. Lentils are indeed a budget-oriented-health-fanatic’s treasure.
Lentil Eggplant Wraps
Serves: 4-5 full meals
Time: 45 minutes
1 cup brown lentils, uncooked
1 large eggplant, cubed
1 zucchini, cubed
1 large onion, sliced into thin wedges
1 Tablespoon coconut oil (optional, you can water sautee the veggies)
1/4 cup raisins (I used Sultana raisins)
Spices and seasoning:
Salt, to taste
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup tahini
juice of 1 lemon
2 dates, pitted and chopped*
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
A pinch of mint, thyme and salt
Each wrap includes (scale down the quantities if you tortilla is smaller):
A large (preferably jumbo) tortilla
1 cup of Lentil-eggplant mixture (above)
2-3 Tablespoons sauce (above)
3 avocado wedges
a handful of greens (I used baby kale)
1/4 cup Dayia cheese (optional, but highly recommended)
Step 1: Cook the lentils (with a strip of kombu or some bay leaves to take care of the phytic acid) until done.
Step 2: Start with a big pan, or a wok. Saute sliced onions in coconut oil (or water) until they start to turn golden and luscious. Add in eggplant and zucchini and raisins, saute until soft – about 10-15 minutes. Add all the spices and salt, and mix in the lentils. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Set aside.
Step 3: Prepare the sauce – add all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.*
Step 4: Assemble the wrap: Layer the greens, avocado, lentil-eggplant mixture, sauce and daiya cheese. Fold (as nicely as you can) and arrange on a baking pan seam side down. Toast in a convection oven until golden (or preheat oven to 400F and bake for 5 minutes, or until desired level of crispiness/golden color is achieved). Serve. Or, wrap each wrap, when cooled, in aluminum foil and take the next day to work.
Notes: If you don’t have a food processor/blender, or you don’t want to use dates, you can substitute the dates with 1 Tablespoon of maple syrup or honey and mix the sauce ingredients in a bowl until smooth.
Here’s a little photo tutorial for assembling your wraps:
Have the sauce ready:
Have the lentil-eggplant-zucchini mixture ready:
Start with greens:
Add on avocado slices:
Spoon the eggplant-zucchini-lentil mixture:
Add your sauce (generously) and sprinkle with Daiya cheese:
Grill in a convection oven (or a stove oven) for everything to melt and voila – look at those luscious lentils mixed with the goodness of vegetables and moistened by the rich sauce and melty cheese. Enjoy, you guys!