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You gotta make this camping recipe for herby red lentil spread

Camping recipes don't have to be boring. Check out this one from Dirty Gourmet's new book "Dirty Gourmet Plant Power: Food For Your Outdoor Adventures".

By: Emily Nielson + Save to a List

Excerpted from Dirty Gourmet Plant Power: Food for Your Outdoor Adventures by Aimee Trudeau, Emily Nielson, Mai-Yan Kwan (June 2023). Published by Mountaineers Books. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

This recipe is adapted from a Turkish classic dish called mercimekköftesi, or lentil meatballs. To make this dish more portable, we’ve skipped the “meatball”assembly portion and decided to offer it as more of a spread. Although the ingredients are relatively straightforward, the combination of these flavors is unique and it’s hard to resist eating more.

"If you have leftovers, the flavors will continue to develop and get better over time, so this is a great one to have in the fridge."—Mai-Yan

Herby red lentil dip

Makes 3 cups
Cooking time: 20 minutes

2½ Cups water 
½ Cups red lentils rinsed
½ Cup bulgur
6 Tablespoons olive oil divided
1 Onion finely chopped
2 Garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 Teaspoon ground cumin
1 Teaspoon salt
½ to 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper(optional)
1 Bunch fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
½ Cup chopped scallions

Bring 2 ½ cups of water to a boil in a 2-quart pot and add the lentils and bulgur. Turn down the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, partially cover with a lid, and cook for 10 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes to steam and finish the cooking process. 

Meanwhile, in a skillet set over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, tomato paste, cumin, salt, and (optional) Aleppo pepper, and cook for a minute more. Add 1 tablespoon of water to help scrape up any stuck-on tomato paste bits and mix those in. Turn off the heat. 

In a large bowl, combine the cooked red lentils and bulgur, the spiced onion mixture, and the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix with a fork, mashing everything together until well combined. Add the parsley and scallions and mix until evenly distributed. 

Keep the spread refrigerated until you are ready to pack it for your outing. Serve with crackers, hummus, and crudités. 

Tip: If you’re going on a picnic and are bringing a cooler, consider serving this with lettuce leaves for a refreshing hand-held snack.

Three people holding beverages in a desert. The wind is whipping their hair as they smile at the camera from behind sunglasses. They are surrounded by dirt with mountains and blue sky in the distance.
The Dirty Gourmet authors. Photo: Daniel Pouliot

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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