Chickpea Kufte with Walnut Filling is an Armenian specialty that blends bulgur with vegetables or meat. These, made of chickpeas, have a nut filling. They make a meatless dish that is festive, substantial and satisfying enough to please meat eaters, too.

Chickpea KuftaPrep Time: 1 hr 45 min
Cook Time: 20 min
Ready In: 2 hrs or so

Servings: 4

¾ cup medium Bulgur
¾ cup Onion finely chopped, divided
1 can (15 oz) Chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 large Egg White
¼ cup flat-leaf Parsley leaves
¼ tsp Red Pepper Flakes, divided
½ tsp Salt, divided (or according to taste)
1 tbsp Extra-virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp Ground Cumin
2 tbsp chopped Walnuts
¼ cup chopped Cilantro
2 tbsp dried Currants
1 cup fat-free Plain Yogurt
2 tbsp Tahini
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
small wedges of Tomatoes (optional)

In a small bowl, soak bulgur in 1 cup hot water for 30 minutes. When tender, place it in a food processor. Add 1/2 cup onion, chickpeas, egg white, parsley, half the red pepper flakes and 1/4 tsp. salt. Pulse, scraping down bowl as needed, until mixture forms a crumbly dough, about 30 seconds. Turn onto a cutting board. Knead until a grainy, tacky dough, about 1 minute. Spread on a plate, cover and chill 1 hour.
To make the filling, heat oil in a small pan over medium-high heat. Sauté remaining onion until translucent, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix in cumin, nuts, cilantro, currants, remaining red pepper flakes and 1/4 tsp. salt. Set aside to cool.
Form chilled dough into 24 balls, rolling it in your palms. Insert thumb almost to the bottom of the ball to form a cup. Spoon in 1 tsp. filling. Pinch and smooth sides over filling, sealing it inside. Repeat, filling all the kufte. To a large pot of hot water that is barely bubbling, gently add 12 balls. Cook 6 minutes, or until they rise to the surface. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining kufte.
Mix yogurt with tahini, lemon juice and remaining salt for a dip to serve with the kufte. Arrange kufte on a serving plate lined with leaves of soft lettuce. Garnish with tomatoes.

Tips & Notes
Armenian cooking may be unknown to you, but sample it and you’ll discover it is surprisingly familiar. This is because dishes from this landlocked, often war-torn country are full of well-known Mediterranean, Near Eastern and Middle Eastern flavors. The flavors reflect the influences of neighboring Turkey, the Caucasus Mountains of Georgia and the Persian food of northern Iran.
In Armenian dishes, you will recognize yogurt, bulgur, chickpeas, tahini and rice. Also, the liberal use of vibrant fresh herbs, including parsley, mint and cilantro, and the spicy and warm flavors from cumin, cinnamon and the hot red peppers popular in eastern Turkey. Like the Turks and Greeks, Armenians like lemon to brighten the flavor of their dishes, but they use green beans, tomatoes and bell peppers more often. Still, while using many of these same ingredients, Armenian cooks put them together in their own way.
Unless you live in an area with an Armenian community, there are few Armenian restaurants where you can experience this complexly flavored cooking. You could rely on recipes from the Internet and from informative cookbooks.

Nutritional Information Per Serving
Calories: 339
Total Fat: 12g
Saturated Fat: 1g
Carbohydrate: 49g
Protein: 14g
Dietary Fiber: 11g
Sodium: 671mg

Source: AICR

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