Though I’m an omnivore, I eat vegetarian (or even vegan) most of the time, so that I can afford to buy the most sustainable, delicious, pasture raised meat and poultry from local family farms. For protein, I rely on legumes and eggs.
I’m going to share one of my favorite dishes, mujaddara, with you. This popular Middle Eastern dish basically consists of three ingredients that you can find anywhere (lentils, rice, and onions).
It’s simple, quick, healthy, super green, tasty, versatile and here’s maybe the best thing about it: It’s really, really cheap. I priced it out once and the tab came to 40 cents a serving. I like to serve this as a one-dish meal with sautéed greens on the side.
This recipe will make 4 to 6 servings. Leftovers formed into rough cakes and fried with an egg are very enjoyable. Enhance with chopped parsley or cilantro and your favorite hot sauce or harissa, if you like.
There are many versions of this dish, with the rice and lentils cooked in varying proportions. For best flavor, make sure you salt a little at different stages. Here’s how I make it.
2 large yellow onions, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup regular brown lentils
1/2 cup long-grain white rice
Dice one-half of one of the onions and slice the remaining onions very thinly.
In a medium saucepan with a tight fitting lid, over medium high heat, warm one tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the diced onion and a pinch of salt. Stir while cooking until it begins to brown. Add the lentils and rice, along with 3 cups of water and a healthy pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the other tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and add the sliced onions and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are brown and very caramelized. You truly want them on the verge of burnt. This is what gives the dish flavor. This will take about the same amount of time as the lentils and rice take to cook.
When the rice and lentils are tender, turn off the heat and leave covered for 10 minutes to steam. Serve with the caramelized onions on top and a dollop of yogurt if you like.
Buy organic whenever possible!
Recipe Copyright 2009 Vanessa Barrington