A lazy one pot recipe that will meet all your needs. Lentils and rice or otherwise known as "mudardara" in Arabic. Simple and delish. Beans, lentils and chickpeas have essential amino acids that rice lacks. Simply pairing rice with lentils will give you a vegan-friendly meal with complete proteins. Not only that, but lentils are also a good source of iron.
I watched my mum make this recipe almost fortnightly as a child, so it's very close to home. When I started eating less meat at 25 years old, I turned to the recipes that I grew up eating, knowing that they contain years of knowledge on eating more with less.
I love this recipe because it's humble and made with mostly 3 ingredients but packs a punch of flavour.
This recipe comes from generations of families and communities living for survival. My mum grew up in a small village in South Lebanon and lived through many civil wars. During rougher times, food supply was limited and legumes and grains were the most sustainable option for a family of 5. She watched her mother cook simple, healthy meals and I'm sure her mother (my grandmother) did the same. Each generation watching and learning how to provide for a family by being creative with minimal resources. This recipe is one of the very many authentic Lebanese dishes that come from these past times that I am excited to share on this blog.
This recipe has a number of variations, but I enjoy it most with (dairy free) yoghurt and fresh herbs. You can also eat it with a fresh red cabbage salad, dressed in lemon and olive oil.
Tips for a smooth cooking process
Cook on low heat
Ensure that you cook on low-medium heat the whole time. Yes, this is more time consuming but it will allow the rice and lentils to cook evenly and prevent the dish from burning at the bottom.
Don't stir the rice after you mix it through the lentils
Once the lentils are half cooked you will add the rice, extra water and bring to boil. It's important in this step that you don't mix it together as it's coming to boil as stirring the rice will activate the starch and make the dish clumpy.
Don't forget your seasoning
Cooking rice is like cooking pasta. If you forget to season it while it's cooking, it will taste very bland.
Don't be shy with the addition of salt either. Once the rice is added to the lentils, add extra salt and bring to boil.
Soak and drain your rice in advance
Soak your rice for 15-20 minutes before cooking to kick start the absorption process and speed up the cooking process.
Learn an authentic Lebanese dish that is essential on a plant-based diet. Vary the dish up with different spices, herbs and dressings to make it interesting!
Lentils and Rice
Time: 45 Minutes Yield: 4 Serves
1 1/2 Cup of Green Whole Lentils, soaked and drained
1 Cup of Basmati Rice, soaked and drained
1 Medium Brown Onion, diced
1 Tsp of Ground Cumin
3-4 Bay Leaves
1 Tsp of Salt (or more as required)
6 Cups of Water
1 Medium Brown Onion, sliced
4 Sprigs of Dill, chopped roughly
Natural Greek Yoghurt or Dairy Free Yoghurt
1. Dice the onion finely and place in a large pot on low heat with a drizzle of olive oil, stirring until translucent and cooked.
2. Add lentils and cumin and mix through and then add 4 cups of water and bay leaves and bring to boil for 20 minutes until lentils have absorbed most of the water but not fully cooked.
3. Transfer rice (which have already been soaked and drained), into pot of lentils and add an extra 2 cups of water and salt and mix. Cover the pot and let it simmer for an additional 15 minutes until most of the water has been absorbed.
4. Once the rice has cooked through, remove from heat and let it sit for an additional 10 minutes, covered, so the rice can absorb the remaining liquid and steam.
5. Meanwhile, in a separate pan heat about 1 tbsp of olive oil and add the sliced onion, cooking until caramelised.
6. Serve your rice with a topping of caramelised onions, dill and yoghurt and enjoy.
Average Quantity per Serving
Energy 426 kJ
Fat, total 0.4g
- saturated 10.1g
- sugars 1.6g
* Created with foodstandards.gov.au Nutrition Panel Calculator. Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on quantities used and served.