In my family growing up, we had Mujaddara, a gently cooked lentil and caramelized onion dish. This hearty side was often an accompaniment to fish, especially during Lent. My mother often made it super thick, with just lentils and sweet onions, which we would then devour with loaves of warm Syrian bread. #comfortfood.
As I moved into my own home and started cooking for myself; this was one of the first dishes I made consistently. By adding brown rice (as is common); this little dish-that-could became a cheap, filling and nutritious staple to my early 20’s steady diet of
beer I mean salad.
In this version, I’ve dressed up the basic ingredients of caramelized onions, lentils and rice with kale and tomatoes to make it more of a one-dish meal. Make good use of your summer produce and toss in here to add more color and flavor. Warming cumin adds earthiness and depth to the flavor. It’s perfect served warm as a side dish to grilled steak or fish. I personally love it best cold with a big scoop of plain yogurt, which makes it such a satisfying dish in the summer. It’s also divine when sneaking a spoonful out of fridge in the middle of the night. Mmmujaddara:
Time: 70 minutes – Serves: 8 (as a side)
We’re using chicken broth and butter for flavor; but by using vegetable broth and oil; this dish is completely Vegan if that’s your bag.
1 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 large sweet onion
2 c. kale (heaping)
1 c. grape tomatoes, halved (or 1 can (14.5oz) fire roasted diced tomatoes)
1 c. brown lentils
2 c. brown rice
1 tbs cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
6 c. chicken broth
Sea Salt & Black Pepper
Before you begin, be sure to pick over your lentils carefully; as they’re a natural product, the occasional tiny pebble or bit of organic matter can be in the bag, so just give them a once-over and rinse. Peel garlic and onion, trimming ends and dicing both finely. Clean kale thoroughly and remove the tough inner ribs. Chop kale into 1″ pieces. Clean tomatoes and halve (or open the can).
In a large, deep stockpot, heat butter and oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, sprinkling liberally with salt and pepper. Saute until lightly golden. Mix in kale and tomatoes, toss until wilted. Stir in cumin and paprika (if using). Finally stir in lentils and rice, mixing together until rice is translucent, only about 3-5 minutes.
Slowly add chicken broth (lentils and rice should be covered; if not, add more liquid). Cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook covered until tender, about 50 minutes. All liquid should be absorbed, if not, allow to cook longer. Taste and add more seasoning as needed. Serve warm or cold. Serves 8 as a side dish or makes tons of delicious leftovers for 2. Yes, it’s even more awesome the next day.
Serving suggestions: Plain yogurt, crispy fried onions or fresh tomatoes & cucumbers drizzled with oil.