Most of us have been there at some point. More month than money. If you are looking for a super cheap filling meal at the end of the month, try this simple Middle Eastern comfort food, Mujaddara lentils and rice.
With only a few ingredients, you may already have these in your home and can whip it up right now. Rice, lentils, cumin, salt, pepper, onions, and olive oil are all that it takes to make this inexpensive comfort food.
I personally love lentils, but my husband is not so fond of them. He was super excited when he came in and smelled the aroma of onions releasing their sugary goodness, but when he saw the bag of lentils, he said in a reluctant tone, “Lentils? I’ll try them.”
Poor guy. He was expecting the worst. I didn’t say anything to him but watched him quickly eat one bowl and even went back for a second. He claimed the onions on top made the dish, and I would agree. Who can resist tasty dark onions? They add a depth of flavor that stand out against the neutral lentils and rice.
I will be making this again when money is tight or I just need a good pantry meal.
A few notes, cartelized onions take time. If you have the time, by all means take the time to truly caramelize them. It may take 45 minutes. If you don’t have the time, you can quickly darken them on a higher heat and then turn them down to soften them. Either way is fine, but the carmelized version will have more flavor. Also make sure you are using the common brown lentil. Red will cook too fast and turn to mush. Green take too long and will be hard.
- 6 T. olive oil, divided
- 2 onions, sliced thinly
- 1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
- 1 cup Jasmine rice, rinsed
- 4 cups water
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cumin
- In a large skillet or shallow dutch oven, heat 3 T. of olive oil to medium low heat.
- Cook 1 large onion slowly until dark brown in color.
- Add salt and cumin and cook for a minute.
- Add lentils and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer with the lid on.
- Cook for 10 minutes.
- Add rice and 2 more cups water. Bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until water is evaporated and lentils and rice are both tender.
- While rice is cooking, heat a skillet with 3 more T. olive oil. Add another sliced onion and brown until it gets a deep brown color.
- Fluff cooked rice and lentils with a fork. Serve with more browned onions.