Recipe: Mujadara

Lebanese Lentils and Rice
A great vegan main course!

Most Mujadara recipes I have found make a sort of soupy dish. This recipe makes a drier more pilaf-style dish, which I personally prefer. Also, I use brown rice because it’s so much better for you than white. Be sure to use Basmati. It’s better. Honest.

(If you like yours more like soup, just add some water in the final step.)

3 cups brown basmati rice, cooked al dente 
according to package directions
1 16 oz. package green/brown lentils 
(NOT the tiny French ones or the orange ones)
5 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
3 large onions peeled and sliced into 1/2" rings
1 onion diced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin + a dash
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
1 small cinnamon stick
salt to taste

Cook rice according to package directions. Set aside to cool.
Rinse and sort lentils, making sure there is no debris. Put them into a medium saucepan. Fill with enough cold water to cover the lentils by about an inch. Bring it to a boil then turn down heat and simmer until lentils are tender but not soft, about 20 minutes. (Taste one to check) Drain and set aside.  (want to save time? Cheat and buy canned lentils, making sure to rinse and drain them before using)
Caramelize the onions:  In a large skillet or wok (Yes, I use a wok for this!) heat about 2 TBS. olive oil.  Add the sliced onions and season with a pinch of cumin, pepper and a bit of salt, and saute until they turn dark dark brown, stirring often. This will take at least 15 minutes. Watch that they don’t burn. Add a little water if they start to stick to the pan. Go for a crispy caramelized texture.
Drain the onions to a paper towel-lined plate. 
Put about 3 TBS olive oil in the skillet. 
Saute the chopped onion until soft. Mix the cooked lentils and rice with the onions in the skillet. Sprinkle with the rest of the cumin, cayenne and the cinnamon stick. Saute gently, stirring often until well blended and some of the rice starts to brown. Season to taste.
Serve on a platter with the reserved caramelized onions sprinkled on top.
Serve with warm pita bread or pita chips. Great with olives, pickled vegetables and a fattoush salad.  (recipe for that coming soon)
Also good with a little plain yogurt.
Freezes well.