Lebanese spiced lentils and basmati rice are tossed with caramelized onions and fresh cilantro in this savory vegan mujadara.
Can I get a little gross for a few minutes? I know, this site is about food, and my husband shakes his head every time I mention something remotely gross.
Once again, I’m going to whine about summer. This time it’s the wildlife that’s got me down. Don’t get me wrong: I love animals. I don’t eat them. I’m just not into nature in my home. And nature has been in my home a lot lately.
Saturday morning we awoke, pondering, is that wasp trying to get in through the window, or out through the window? It was trying to get out. I still freak out a bit in the presence of wasps (understandably, I think). That wasn’t too bad, but later that day, around dinnertime, while seated at the kitchen table, a bat swooped in over our heads. A bat! This is actually the second time in my five years in this house that a bat’s gotten in, and I have no idea how they’re doing it.
All of that was a minor annoyance. The gross part was the moths in the pantry. I opened the door and there they were, all fluttering away in my face. I pulled out clear plastic canister of rice, set it on the counter, and watched in awe as about a dozen moths popped out of the grains. They got into just about everything and I’m not even sure they’re gone yet. I looked all over the internet, hoping someone would have a simple solution, like sprinkling cinnamon in the cabinet to repel them. No such luck.
Fortunately, this dish happened long before all of that. Mujadara is known for being a dish that can be constructed from pantry staples, but I don’t think I’ll be doing much with pantry staples for a while now.
I made this months ago and held it back, thinking it wasn’t much of a warm weather dish. Today seemed appropriate, since I’ve officially decided I’ve had it with summer.
I’d actually encourage you to enjoy this stuff any time of year. It’s incredibly delicious, and super easy, despite the long cooking time, which is mostly passive. Wait for onions to caramelize, wait for rice to boil, lentils to boil. It’ll give you lots of time to tackle those pesky kitchen chores, like scrubbing the heck out of your pantry shelves post moth infestation. Sigh.
- 1 cup green lentils
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 large onions sliced thin
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 1 3/4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper or to taste
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
- Place lentils in medium saucepan. Cover with water and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, lower heat and allow to simmer 30-40 minutes, until tender. Remove from heat and drain in a colander.
- Place oil and onions into medium saucepan. Toss a few times to coat onions and place over medium heat. Allow to cook 15-20 minutes, until onions are caramelized and slightly browned. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.
- Remove half of onions from saucepan and transfer to a plate. Add rice, vegetable broth, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and pepper to saucepan with onions. Stir to incorporate and raise heat to high. Bring to a simmer. Lower heat and cover. Allow to simmer until rice is cooked and liquid is absorbed, 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
- Add lentils, lemon juice and cilantro to saucepan with rice. Stir to incorporate.
- Divide onto plates and top with reserved onions. Serve with lemon wedges.