Middle Eastern food is one of my favorite food groups. I can eat it every day. Although I enjoy cooking, I find that many of the recipes either require too many ingredients that I do not have or require way too much labor (chopping parsley for days). Mujadara, however, is one of my favorites to make at home. The ingredients and the instructions are basic and you can cook it once and eat many times.
Mujadara is a low calorie, low cost meal packed with health benefits. This recipe is super easy to make (except that I have a tendency to burn instead of caramelize the onions). I love to make it as a side dish for dinner and then enjoy the left-overs as a main course for lunch. Dr. Oz lists lentils as one of the best anti-aging super foods and here’s more on the 7 Health Benefits of Lentils.
1 bag lentils
1 c long grain brown rice
6 cups low sodium veggie or chicken stock
1/2 Tbs. cumin
cut 1 onion into 1/2 inch pieces
heat olive oil in frying pan
caramelize onion (cook until dark brown, but careful not to burn)
remove from pan and set aside
Dice remaining 2 onions
Cook diced onion in olive oil in a saucepan on medium heat until soft, 2-3 minutes
Add lentils, salt and pepper to taste
Add stock and cumin
Cook for 35- 40 minutes covered
Let stand for 5 minutes and stir with fork
Top with caramelized onion and serve
If using a quick cook rice (not recommended), simmer the beans for the first part of the 35-40 minutes and then add the rice for the amount of cooking time according to the directions on the rice package.
Lentils are one of the oldest foods dating back to prehistoric times. Archaeologists have found lentils in ancient ruins dating over 8,000 years old. The legumes were a very common food among ancient Greek and Roman civilizations and the health benefits from eating them was also known at this time. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, prescribed lentils to his patients. Aristophanes, from ancient Greek times proclaimed of soup made of lentils “You, who dare insult lentil soup, sweetest of delicacies.” On Wikipedia I even found that there is even reference to them in the Bible, in Genesis 25:30-34, Esau is prepared to give up his birthright for a pot of fragrant red lentil soup being cooked by his brother, Jacob.