Vospov Kufteh is a Lenten dish made by Armenians. I will boldly state that it's my least favorite Armenian dish since it's depressingly bland. There's also gluten in it (cracked wheat) and I gave that up years ago.
Kufteh (with meat) has so many delectable flavors, mainly because of all the incredible spices used, so I wondered why can't those bold flavors be used with lentils? And time to make it gluten-free.
My first attempt is not only good--nailed it! This is without question the most delicious vospov kufteh I've ever had--and will become a staple in my vegan diet.
1 cup quinoa
1 cup red lentils, rinsed and cleaned
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped or minced
OPTIONAL: 1-2 tbsp olive oil (don't use if you're oil-free and sauté the onion in 1/4 cup of water instead)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 tbsp mild red pepper paste
1 1/2 tbsp hot red pepper paste
1/4 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp Aleppo red pepper
1/3 cup of water
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt
1/3 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
1/3 cup chopped chives
I cooked the quinoa the day before as this was going to be my binder and I like how the chilled quinoa adheres to the cooked, warm lentils.
Follow the instructions for your quinoa, but it should be 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of boiling water. Let it simmer until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa is soft.
Using a small pot, cover the lentils completely with boiling water, bring to a boil, then let it simmer on medium for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, sauté your chopped onions in a saucepan, either in olive oil or water. Sauté for about 7 minutes.
Add the tomato paste, mild pepper paste, hot pepper paste, Aleppo pepper, paprika, cumin, salt, black pepper and 1/3 cup of boiling water to the onions. Mix together creating a paste.
Let the lentils and the onion mixture cool, but you still want the lentils warm when adding the quinoa.
In a bowl, add the lentils, quinoa and onion mixture. Taste your ingredients and adjust accordingly.
While that's cooling, chop your parsley (I like to use scissors for cutting chives, otherwise chop those, too). Keep some of the chives off to the side so you can sprinkle some over the plated vospov kufteh.
Mix the parsley and chives in with the vospov kufteh. Then add the lemon juice and mix again.
I like to let it chill as it's easier to create little balls or oval shapes, however you want, as I served it on endives.
I was blown away by how delicious it is! Wouldn't change a thing.