I love lentils and I love vegetarian comfort food from other countries. One of my favorite comfort foods are dals from India. Like dal, this Lebanese dish is bean (lentil) based and is really flavorful. Unlike dal, this is dish is very quick to make. It was my first mujadara, a great variation with the addition of fresh greens, the recipe from the New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark.
I used to be adverse to keeping white rice in my pantry, but when making a one-pot dish it is much more foolproof to use white rather than brown rice. The increased cooking time required for the brown rice could result in mushy lentils.
This dinner also became a wonderful CSA box in one meal. We ate this dish with roasted beets, carrots and fennel on the side, as well as with hummus (made with CSA parsley) and flatbread. I used beet greens and chard for the spring greens in the main dish (I also increased the amount). Healthy, quick, flavorful, and good. It was excellent with a dollop of greek yogurt on top.
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- 1 cup brown or green lentils
- 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, roots trimmed
- 2 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt, more as needed
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3/4 cup long-grain rice (I used white Basmati rice)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 cups trimmed and coarsely chopped spring greens (chard leaves, spinach, kale, mustard or a combination)(I used 6-8 cups chard and beet greens)
- whole milk Greek yogurt, for serving, optional
- Place lentils in a large bowl and add warm tap water to cover by 1 inch. Let soak.
- Meanwhile, halve leeks lengthwise; run under warm water to release any grit. Thinly slice leeks crosswise.
- Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crispy, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer half the leeks to a bowl to use for garnish and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt.
- Stir garlic into the pot with the remaining leeks and cook for 15 seconds until fragrant.
- Stir in rice and sauté 2 minutes. Stir in cumin, allspice and cayenne; sauté 30 seconds.
- Drain lentils and stir into pot. Add 4 1/4 cups water, 2 teaspoons salt, bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Bring to a simmer- almost to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes.
- Rinse greens in a colander and spread damp leaves over lentil mixture. Cover and cook 5 minutes more, until rice and lentils are tender and greens are wilted.
- Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
- Serve sprinkled with reserved crispy leeks and Greek yogurt, if desired.