This last week I've had a craving for a hearty bowl of lentils and rice loaded with onions. Mujadara is a meatless Middle Eastern dish made with lentils and rice. It was traditionally eaten during Lent when many people were fasting from meat. It's also commonly eaten all year round. It's super healthy, delicious, and easy to make. Growing up, we didn't really eat this dish because my mom never made it. She was never a fan of Mujadara. I recently had it at a friend's house and fell in love with it. So, I decided to attempt to make it. As I started to cook, the smell of the fried onions filled the kitchen. Oh, what an amazing smell. Really quickly, the dish started to come together. Success! I put together the perfect Mujadara with the perfect fresh salad to accompany it. My craving was satisfied.
2 cups small brown lentils, rinsed
4 cups water
3/4 cup canola oil
6 large yellow onions, diced
1 teaspoon salt
2 cup long-grain white rice, soaked in water for 5-10 minutes and then drained
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups lentil water* (See step 1)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
TOMATO & CUCUMBER SALAD
6 large tomatoes, diced
3 cucumbers, diced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper
1 teaspoon dried mint
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
Juice of 1/2 lime (about 3 tablespoons)
Place the lentils in a small saucepan with 4 cups of the water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, and then reduce the heat and simmer, cover until the lentils are par-boiled (20 minutes). Remove from the heat, drain the lentils (keeping 4 cups of the water) and set them aside.
In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the diced onions and cook until the onions are dark golden brown, about 40 minutes, occasionally stirring. Sprinkle the onions with the teaspoon of salt as they cook.
Once onions have cooked for 40 minutes, transfer 3/4 of the onions with some of the oil into a pot. Add lentils and rice and mix well.
Add 1 tablespoon salt and the black pepper.
Add the 4 cups of lentil water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until liquid has been absorbed and the rice and lentils are both cooked through, about 20 minutes.
In the meantime, continue frying the remaining onion until dark, brown, and crispy. Be careful not to burn them!
Remove from the heat and serve the Mujadara hot or at room temprature with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and extra fried onions, if you like, and a side of Tomato & Cucumber Salad and/or Yogurt.
If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #EATDRINKPLAYLA. I'd love to see how yours turned out!