I was more than a little intimated when I first started dating Daniel, his mother Mona is an excellent cook. Born and raised in Lebanon Mona grew up cooking traditional Lebanese dishes that can knock your socks off. Daniel insisted that if I were to be a good Lebanese wife that I learn all of his favorite dishes. Although my cooking lessons with Mona were disastrous at first (she measures tablespoons with what ever spoon is handy), I have come to master certain dishes and Mjadara is one of my staples. Daniel insists that we have Mjadara a couple of times a month.
Mjadara is a lentil and rice dish that is hearty, healthy, vegan and easy to make.
Start by cooking the lentils, add 2 cups of lentils to 6 cups of water in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes or until lentils are soft. Do not add salt to the water as it will harden the beans.
While the lentils are cooking, dice a large sweet onion. In a deep saute pan heat olive oil and then add diced onion. Cook onion on medium high heat for 10 minutes, stirring often, then reduce heat to medium till onion is golden and soft.
When lentils are tender and soft turn the heat off. At this point you have two options, use an immersion blender to puree the lentils in the pot or use a blender or food processor.Add the sautéed onions to the lentil puree and add basmati rice. Cook until rice softens, then bring to a boil. Add salt and serve.
2 cups dry lentils (french green)
6 cups of water
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 large sweet onion
1/4 cup basmati rice
salt to taste
- Add lentils to water in large stockpot. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer till lentils are soft.
- Dice onion and add with olive oil in a large saute pan. Saute till onion is golden and soft ( approx. 15 minutes).
- Puree lentils with Immersion blender, add sautéed onions and rice. Stir and cook till rice is soft. Bring slowly to a boil and then add salt.
- Serve with warm pita bread and cabbage salad .
I love to use the pita bread to scoop the Mjadara and eat without a fork. The leftover are great wrapped up in a pita to make a sandwich.