Turkish Red Lentil Lettuce Wraps




Yield 40 wraps

Recipe from the Turkish "Meatball" guru, Elizabeth Taviloglu.



  1. First, wash the red lentils in a wire mesh strainer until the water runs clear.  Transfer the lentils to a large saucepan and add the water.  Turn the heat to high and bring it to a boil.
  2. Once the water boils, cover the pan leaving the lid cracked, reduce the heat, and let the lentils boil until they are very tender and fall apart.  Add more water, if needed as they cook.  Once the lentils are fully cooked, there should be about ½ inch to 1 ½ centimeters of water remaining on top of the lentils.  {If there is too much, gently drain some of the water.  If there is too little, boil some water separately and add enough to bring it to the right level.}
  3. While the lentils are still hot, stir in the tomato, pepper paste, and seasonings.  Then add the fine bulgur and stir it together with a wooden spoon until it’s well combined.  Cover the pan again and leave it to cool down.
  4. As the mixture cools down, the bulgur will absorb the extra liquid and become soft.  When it’s cool enough to handle, knead in the olive oil, lemon juice, green onions, and chopped parsley, until they are distributed well throughout the mixture.  Finally, taste the mixture and add more salt and hot pepper to your liking.
  5. Line your serving platter with lettuce leaves, then begin making your meatballs.  Gather some of the mixture into a lump the size of a large walnut, forming it into a long cylinder shape with tapered ends, and place it on the platter.  Repeat this until all of the mixture is finished.
  6. You can stack your meatballs any way you like, making several layers.  Sprinkle the top of your stack with more chopped parsley leaves for garnish to make it look even nicer.  Eat each meatball wrapped inside a piece of torn off lettuce.  Healthy…and oh so delicious!

Recipe by Unruly Bliss at