Lebanese One-Pot Mujadara with Spring Greens

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
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
  • 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
  1. Place lentils in a large bowl and add warm tap water to cover by 1 inch. Let soak.
  2. Meanwhile, halve leeks lengthwise; run under warm water to release any grit. Thinly slice leeks crosswise.
  3. 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.
  4. Stir garlic into the pot with the remaining leeks and cook for 15 seconds until fragrant.
  5. Stir in rice and sauté 2 minutes. Stir in cumin, allspice and cayenne; sauté 30 seconds.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
  9. Serve sprinkled with reserved crispy leeks and Greek yogurt, if desired.

Rick Bayless’ Swiss Chard Tacos with Caramelized Onion, Fresh Cheese and Red Chile

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I have previously mentioned my affection for Rick Bayless stemming from when we enjoyed his restaurants while living in Chicago. Now I have several of his cookbooks. This dish was adapted from his book Mexican Everyday: Easy, Full-Flavored, Tradition-Packed. I would eat these tacos EVERYDAY. Healthy and delicious! We ate them with Frontera Chipotle Salsa (easy and really good) but they would be also be great with the Smoky Tomatillo Salsa I made for enchiladas the other night. We ate them in hard shells- to please my kids (who have become HUGE taco fans!), and had salsa and sour cream to pass at the table. Rice and refried beans were served on the side. In the past I have added cooked, shredded chicken to the greens in the final few minutes of cooking.

  • a 12-ounce bunch Swiss Chard (or collard, mustard, or beet greens), thick lower stems cut off OR 10 ounces cleaned spinach (about 10 cups)
  • 1 1/2 T vegetable oil, olive oil, fresh pork lard or bacon drippings
  • 1 large red onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 3-6 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth or water
  • salt
  • 1 or 2 cooked chicken thighs, shredded, optional
  • 12 warm corn tortillas, warmed (soft or hard)
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) queso fresco, crumbled or chopped into chunks (feta or goat cheese could be substituted), for serving
  • about 3/4 cup Smoky Chipotle Salsa (Frontera), or Smoky Tomatillo Salsa, or hot sauce, for serving
  • sour cream, for serving
  1. Cut the chard crosswise into 1/2-inch slices (small spinach leaves can be left whole). In a very large (12-inch) skillet, heat the oil (or tis stand-in) over medium high. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown but still crunchy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and stir for a few seconds, until aromatic, then add the broth or water, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the greens. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and cook until the greens are almost tender, anywhere from 2 minutes for tender spinach to 7 or 8 minutes for thick collard greens; Swiss chard needs about 5 minutes.
  2. Uncover the pan, raise the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring continually, until the mixture is nearly dry. Taste and season with additional salt if you think necessary. Add the shredded, cooked chicken, if using.
  3. Serve with the warm tortillas, cheese, salsa or hot sauce, and sour cream for making tacos.

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