Updated: Oct 4, 2022
Written by: Natalie Faella, MS, RDN, LDN | August 24, 2022
I'm going to start this recipe with complete honesty and say: I've never really liked lentils. I tried to like green lentils, then red lentils... but they never really did it for me. Now I realize I just wasn't eating them in the right form! I am honestly surprised by how much I enjoy these red lentil flatbreads. So naturally, I had to share this recipe with you.
I saw this "red lentil tortilla" trend on social media and was intrigued to try to make my own. I'm deciding to call these red lentil "flatbreads" instead because their texture is a little more flatbread-like than tortilla-like, at least to me. They're malleable, but you can't wrap them up like a burrito without them splitting. When warm, either fresh off the stovetop or after a quick 15-30 second microwave, they can be folded like a pita pocket to make a sandwich or used to scoop up the goodies in your salad. When toasted, they're awesome to dip in hummus or guacamole.
These would also be great for kids. They're softer/less chewy than a traditional tortilla or pita bread, making them easier for little ones to eat. They also provide a boost of protein and fiber, which can be especially helpful for those kiddos who need a little more of that in their diet. Kids can tear these apart and munch on them as part of a meal with cheese, fruits, veggies, etc. You can also smear hummus, guacamole, cream cheese, etc. on top. My 15-month-old nephew LOVES cream cheese (and bagels — it must be in our gene pool) and is going to be my sweet little guinea pig for this recipe's kid-friendliness. I'll circle back with the results!
Now let's talk nutrition.
Lentils are a great plant-based protein. 1/4 cup (uncooked) of lentils provides about 14g of protein. For this reason, and with the fiber they provide, they can keep you feeling fuller longer than a traditional tortilla. They're also a great source of folate, iron, and potassium. These flatbreads are also suitable for those who are gluten-free or vegan.
Just because this is a nutrient-dense option, doesn't mean you need to replace all of your future tortillas and pitas with this recipe. I'm not suggesting these as a replacement, as the taste and texture are much different, but more so if you're looking for a little variety and interested in trying something new for you or your family. I love pita bread and tortillas, so I know those will always be in my diet, but I'll continue making these red lentil flatbreads from time to time to switch it up!
Before we get to the recipe I just want to note that this process is a little time-consuming. You have to let the lentils and water sit for at least 6 hours before cooking. The first time I made these I waited 6 hours. The second time, truthfully, I forgot about them and waited over 24 hours and saw no real difference. So I say, if you're interested in making these, prep the lentils before bed, let them sit overnight, and whenever you get to them the next day they'll be ready to go.
Ok, that's enough from me, here is the recipe!
Yield: 6 Flatbreads
(The first time I made 12 flatbreads with 1 cup lentils and 2 cups water. You would need to add extra seasonings if you take this route!)
1/2 Cup Split Red Lentil (I use these Red Lentils from Whole Foods)
1 Cup Water
1/4 tsp Salt (I use Redmond's Real Salt. It's unrefined & full of trace minerals.)
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Paprika
Sprinkles of Onion Powder and Pepper (to your liking)
Optional: extra sprinkle of salt while cooking for more flavor
Combine lentils and water in a bowl and allow to sit for 6-12 hours.
Pour the lentil and water mixture into a blender.
Add your seasonings: salt, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, and pepper.
Blend until smooth. (Should only take a few seconds).
Grease your frying pan and keep on low heat. (Low heat is important - if the pan gets too hot, the mixture could scorch and won't spread as easily making thicker pancake-like flatbreads).
Pour 1/6th of the mixture onto the frying pan. Tilt the pan to spread the mixture out forming a larger circle. (With frying pan in hand, circle wrist around 360°. See video below!). Can also use a spatula or spoon to spread the mixture into a thinner circle. If your mixture feels too thick or isn't spreading, stir in 1/4 cup of water to the remaining mixture and make sure your burner is on low heat.
Wait 1-2 minutes for bubbles and holes to form and the sides of the flatbread to lift easily before flipping with a spatula. (I always use my hands to flip, too. Kind of like when making crepes.).
When both sides feel more toasty than doughy, and have some golden hues, you're good to go and start on to the next one!
This recipe is a good practice of patience! The flatbreads may take up to 4-5 minutes on each side to get toasty when keeping the pan on low heat (depending on your stovetop). I usually have 2 frying pans going at once so I can reduce the total cooking time. They are hard to burn so you could simultaneously prep some other food for the week or a meal while making these. Honestly, I found it kind of nice to slow down, put some music on, and chill out while making them!
Check out some pictures of the process and different ways to enjoy them below:
Cooking the flatbreads:
Enjoy with hummus:
Or as a "sandwich"
Or with your salad!