In Brazil we have a strong influence of Lebanese food in our culture. Charuto or “cigar” is one example. The regular “cigar” that I”ve been eating since I was little consists of cabbage stuffed with rice, ground beef and diced tomatoes. It’s delicious!! My grandma makes the best one!! But I really wanted to try something healthier with as few carbs as possible. So, I came up with lentils, mushrooms, diced bell peppers and carrots instead of rice and ground beef. It’s a very low-carb and gluten-free meal. Score!!! We made a video on our Instagram.
2 cups lentils
1 cup diced mushrooms
1 cup diced bell peppers
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
3 tomatoes, diced
1 onion, diced
1 tbs mashed garlic
1 ts oregano
1/2 cup of black or green olives
Basil for garnish
Salt and pepper
Separate cabbage leaves taking out the middle part (stalk). In a large saucepan add water and vegetable stock until filled halfway and bring to a simmer. Add the cabbage leaves and cook until they are soft. Set aside.
In a bowl mix the cooked lentils, all the veggies (we used a food processor to make them very fine, except the lentils), salt, pepper and oregano. Mix well.
Open the cabbage leaves place 1 cabbage leaf in the center and place 2 large spoons of the lentil filling. Fold the opposite ends over the filling and then roll up to form a cigar. Make other rolls with the rest of the leaves and filling. Make a “bed” with tomatoes, onions, garlic, olive oil, black olives and sauté. Add the cigars next to each other (never over), add water or stock until they are covered.
Let cook for about 30 minutes without stirring. Garnish with basil leaves and feta cheese.
How to cook basic lentils
Rinse the lentils under running water. Add lentils and water/vegetable stock to a saucepan (with a lid) and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low and cover to let the lentils simmer.It usually takes about 30-45 minutes for them to cook.
Beijos e Tchau!
Ludmilla and Marilyn Chudda