Colorful Caponata with Lentils in Warm Pita

caponata-lentils

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This traditional dish hails from Sicily, and it’s packed to the brim with scrumptious veggies. Eggplant and zucchini melt in your mouth after they’ve been baked to perfection, and the red pepper makes everything pop with color. To top it all off, we’ve got nutritious green and lentils tucked into warm pita, where all the flavors and nutrients can meld together in a warm pocket of Italian goodness. (Tip: Make a big batch and freeze them for a delectable home-cooked meal later.)

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients

1 eggplant

1 zucchini

½ red pepper

4 garlic cloves

2 celery stalks

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 can no-salt diced tomatoes

2 teaspoons dried oregano

½ cup green lentils

2 teaspoons capers

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

4 whole wheat pitas

Salt & pepper to taste

 

 

Directions

  1. Produce Prep: Wash all the veggies. Remove the tough ends and stems from the eggplant and zucchini. Chop each into bite-sized chunks. Remove the stem and seeds from the red pepper and chop into bite-sized chunks. Peel and roughly chop the garlic. Dice the celery stalks.
  2. You will need 3 cooking dishes for this recipe: 1 baking dish that can be covered with a lid or aluminum foil, 1 large frying pan or cast-iron skillet, and 1 soup pot with a cover.
  3. Lay the eggplant, zucchini and red pepper pieces on a baking dish or pan. Choose a pan that can hold the rest of the veggies later, and can be covered with a top or aluminum foil. Line the pan with olive oil or parchment paper to prevent sticking. Broil the vegetables for 5 minutes or until lightly browned.
  4. In a large skillet with a little bit of olive oil or water, sautée the diced celery stalks for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Add the garlic, canned diced tomatoes, dried oregano and chili powder. Stir and heat for about 1 minute. Then, stir in the broiled eggplant, zucchini and red pepper.
  5. Transfer the veggie mixture to the back into baking dish with the parchment paper and bake the veggie mixture (covered) at  400°F/200°C.
  6. Bring water and green lentils to a boil in a pot with a lid. (Your water measurement should be 2.5 times the lentil measurement.) Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until water is absorbed and green lentils have softened. Add more water if needed.
  7. After 10 minutes of the green lentils cooking, add capers or olives and balsamic vinegar to the veggie mixture in the oven. Stir and return the pan to the oven. The veggies are done when they are soft throughout.
  8. When the green lentils and veggies are almost done, warm the pitas by wrapping them in aluminum foil and putting them in the oven. Pull them out when you’re ready to eat.
  9. Season the green lentils and veggies with salt and pepper to taste. Add optional ingredients, like chili pepper flakes, now. Stuff the pita with the green lentils and veggies and enjoy!