Sunday, June 13, 2010

When Life Hands You Lentils, Make Fat Free Vegan "Mujadara"

It's Pot Luck Season here in Northern Ohio and that fortunately  affords me an opportunity to share my love of healthy food with other people.  In a matter of one week, I have four pot luck dinners to plan for, prepare for and attend .  That's probably why I have been so quiet on the blog these days! So much good stuff going on!

For yesterday's event I decided that I was going to tweak a recipe out of The Engine 2 Diet called Candle Cafe Brown Rice and Lentil Burgers. The tweak was that I was planning on making balls instead of burgers to make a vegan "meatball."  When it came time to roll the balls and I tried doing so, nothing was going to hold the mix of ingredients into a ball shape (I guess I missed the part of the recipe where it said to add whole wheat flour if the mix wasn't sticking together--oh well, it was a happy accident). So I tasted the concoction and decided that it was delicious as is, added a bit more brown rice, and brought it to the party as a warm salad. No hassle with rolling into balls! Yipee!

I loved it, my husband loved it, and so did all of the party goers. I brought along a bowl of Kale Butter and it was a great pairing. We just spooned the kale butter on top of the brown rice and lentils. When a guest at the party, who happens to be a local vegan chef, tried the dish, she immediately exclaimed that, "It's Mujadara!"  Mujadara (also spelled Mujadarah, Megadarra or several other variations) is a delicious, inexpensive, and simple to make Lebanese comfort food.  My version's spices are not the traditional cumin, cinnamon and allspice, but the results were just as spectacular.

Wendy's Warm Brown Rice and Lentil Pilaf

7 cups water
1 cup dry lentils, rinsed and drained
2 cups uncooked brown rice or 4 cups cooked brown rice
4 garlic cloves
2 medium red onions, chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp chili powder (or, for traditional Mujadara, use 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp cumin)

In a saucepan, bring 3 cups of the water to a boil.  Add the lentils, reduce the heat, and cook until the beans are softened, about 15 minutes (check for doneness, the lentils should be soft but not falling apart, this may take longer than 15 minutes).  Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, in another saucepan, bring the remaining 8 cups of water to a boil, add the rice, reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the rice is tender, about 40 minutes. Drain and set aside.  (Or, microwave two Trader Joe's frozen brown rice pouches to yield 4 cups of brown rice.)

In a saute pan, water or broth saute the garlic, onion, and carrots over high heat until lightly browned.  This may take a while. If mixture starts to burn, lower the heat a bit.  In a large bowl, combine the lentils, cooked rice and vegetables.  Add the salt and chili powder and mix well.

Delicious served with a dollop of kale butter on the top.


QZB said...

Looks great, I like the whole "deconstructed" thing these days. And I'm a big fan of your model, as you know!

Healthy Girl said...

Thanks QZB!

the Cleveland Cupcake Company said...

I made the kale butter for a group of friends when we grilled out a few weeks ago and it was awesome. I left it fairly chunky so it clung to the delicious grilled blackened corn on the cob. I'm still thinking about it.

Wendy said...

I know, isn't it just soooo delicious! Thanks for letting us know that you liked it!

Blogging tips