Tag Archives: How to make Lentils and Basmati Rice

Guest Blogger: V is for Vegetables – Lentils and Basmati Rice with Caramelized Onions and Spiced Pita

15 Nov

Please welcome back Vanessa, author of V is for Vegetables. You can read her previous post here a recipe for Zucchini Boats. Check V is for Vegetables on Twitter as well. Please welcome back Vanessa!

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My new iPhone finally arrived in the mail. Can you believe the camera on it? I love how many different uses the iPhone has and the camera might be my favorite part on the new one. The camera has facial recognition technology on it which is nothing new but I loved how it kept finding faces in the rice. Do you see a man’s face to the left of the center onion ring? I didn’t see it at first until I realized my phone was trying to tag him as a person. The phone is almost too smart.

This Middle Eastern dish is often called Mujadarah which is a fancy way of saying “rice, lentils and onion.” I adapted this dish from Veganomicon, the excellent cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. The one downfall of this cookbook is the lack of pictures. When I first made this dish, I thought, “No wonder there are no pictures… This looks like kitty litter.” With a little garnish, this dish ends up looking as delicious as it tastes.

Ingredients for rice, lentils and onion:

  • 3 large red onions, peeled and sliced into thin rings
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup long-grain basmati rice (brown or white), rinsed
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • Basil leaves for garnish

Directions for rice, lentils and onion:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Lay the onion rings flat and separated in a large roasting pan. Toss in olive oil. Roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes until translucent and slightly burnt.

3. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add rice, cinnamon, allspice, and cumin. Return to a boil then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

4. Uncover and gently stir in the lentils. Bring to a boil again then lower heat, cover and simmer. Cook until all water is absorbed. For me, this takes 12-15 minutes. Allow the dish to cool for 10 minutes then fluff with a fork.

5. Fold in the caramelized onions, garnish with basil leaves and serve with pita bread.

Ingredients for spiced pita:

  • 4 whole wheat pitas
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil for brushing
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions for spiced pita:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Slice the pita bread into 1/8ths like a pizza.

3. Combine olive oil with the seasonings. Brush the mixture onto the insides of each pita crisp.

4. Spread the pita crisps out on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes until light brown.

Serves 4-6

Slightly adapted from: Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook

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