Saturday, March 26, 2011

Easy Everyday Mujadara and Moroccan DIY Spice Blend

A few months ago I mixed up a batch of chai spice blend to liven up my green smoothie making. There really isn't a simpler or more economical way to wake up your food than to make your own spice blends. You probably already have tons of individual spices if you are preparing your own healthy meals. And those little dashes of spice used in each recipe mean that oftentimes jars of spices need to be replaced before they ever get used up. Why not mix up spice blends for yourself and even for gifts?

The second homemade spice blend to scream my name was a Moroccan Spice Blend. I made it at 5 am this morning. Sad, I know.

Moroccan Spice Blend
makes 8 Tbsp

5 tsp ground nutmeg
5 tsp ground cumin
5 tsp ground coriander
2.5 tsp allspice
2.5 tsp ground ginger
1.25 tsp cayanne pepper
1.25 tsp cinnamon

Mix together and store in an airtight container.

What to do with this you ask? How about a big batch of Mujadara? It's a Lebanese dish that, if you make this way, is extremely low in fat, is full of fiber, protein and iron, AND is exceptionally delicious! If I have frozen brown rice and packaged cooked lentils on hand, it's the easiest thing I can cook up for dinner when I'm tired and I just don't feel like cooking. In fact, this dish has become quite a staple in my house for just those reasons!

Ridiculously Easy Mujadara
Makes about 10 one cup servings

Printable Version

2 large sweet onions, diced
vegetable broth
2 1/2 cups brown or green lentils (Not red lentils or french lentils! I used one package of Trader Joe's cooked lentils.)
4 cups cooked brown rice (Trader Joes and Whole Foods sell frozen brown rice)
2 Tbsp Moroccan Spice Blend
salt to taste

Heat the largest skillet you have over medium heat and cover the bottom with vegetable broth. When broth starts to bubble, add chopped onions and saute, stirring every few minutes, for 35-45 minutes or until onions are very, very soft. Reduce heat and/or add broth to deglaze the pan as onions start to stick too much. Do not let the onions burn. Buy the end of the process, your heat will likely be on low and your onions will be very soft.

Meanwhile, cook the rice and lentils separately according to the package directions. If you have the TJ's packaged lentils, just open the package! If you are cooking your own lentils, they should be tender but not smushy or soupy, they should retain their shape.

When onions are ready, add brown rice, lentils and Moroccan spice blend and mix well.  Heat everything together until fragrant, warm and combined.

You can serve Mujadara with some toasted pine nuts or chopped parsley.

Have you made any of your own spice blends lately?

What do you make for dinner when you want some good food but are too tired to make a complicated dish?


JL goes Vegan said...

I am sad to say that I don't think I've ever blended my own spices! You have definitely inspired me! The Mujadara looks incredible.

The Healthy Librarian said...

Cannot wait to try your easy breezy version of Mujadara! And I'm heading to Penzey's for that Vietnamese Cinnamon.

My old recipe used only cumin for seasoning--anxious to mix up some of that Moroccan blend!

This is THE PERFECT recipe--especially with TJ's precooked lentils & frozen rice!

BTW--have you had Aladdin's Mujadara since you nixed the oil? Yikes are they oil-laden!

Jessica said...

Seriously - that Penzey's vietnamese cinnamon is the most awesome - I use it in my overnight steel cut oats in the crock pot, in my ground coffee, it is the BEST.

twistjill said...

Hi Wendy!
I just stumbled on your blog through Dr. Fuhrman's blog and just want to let you know how much I love the idea of preparing a spice blend. Your go-to lentil/rice dish with Moroccan spices sounds delicious! What other dishes would you use this spice blend in? (I'm a big fan of cinnamon in savory dishes!). Looking forward to exploring your blog!

wendy (Healthy girl's kitchen) said...

I don't know of any other dishes I would use this spice blend with offhand, but I would think that a google search for vegan moroccan recipes would yield you the answers!

Anonymous said...

My Mum has gone away, and I didn't ask her how to make Mjuderrah, but i knew she has "secret" spices she puts in, and i found your blog and they look like what she does, so I cant wait to make this, thanks for sharing!

Traci said...

I would use that seasoning on roasted veggies, like sweet potato, carrot, cauliflower, or zucchini - or most likely a mix of several! It would also be good on roasted chickpeas!

Kathy C said...

I make my own chili powder and berbere spice blend. My husband bought me a spice grinder for our anniversary. I was so happy!

Blogging tips