This completely vegan and bursting with flavor Lentils with Rice recipe is a traditional Lebanese dish made with simple ingredients that make it healthy, delicious and easy to prepare.
Lentils with Rice, known as Mdardra, is unique to the city of Beirut as a variation of the traditional Lebanese dish Majadara in which bulgur is used instead of rice.
Unlike the traditional recipe, mine has garlic and other spices.
Mdardra is served as a main dish in many homes though you would find it on the Mezze menu of most Lebanese restaurants.
You only need a few simple ingredients to make this recipe: long grain rice, green lentils, a yellow onion, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, cinnamon and two bay-leaves.
How to Cook Lentils with Rice
To start with, there are two ways to cook the onions for this recipe.
Traditionally, the easy, healthy way is to cut the onion in half and slice it medium size. Cook the onion slices in olive oil on medium heat for around 5 minutes or until they become beautifully caramelized. Remove from heat, and set aside in a plate.
The other way is for people like me who prefer their onion slices crispy.
Cut the onion in half and slice it in medium size. Separate the slices and soak in a bowl of hot water and a generous amount of salt. Cover the bowl and leave for a half hour.
Strain the water and deep fry the onions in little batches until crispy golden. Set aside in a plate on a paper-towel to absorb excess oil.
To save time, while the onions are soaking in salty water, rinse the rice well under running water for 20 – 30 seconds to remove dirt and as much starch as possible. Less starch means less calories and the rice does not become sticky. Set aside.
In a large pan, on medium heat saute the diced onions in olive oil for around 8 – 10 minutes or until translucent. Add the minced garlic and saute for 30 seconds, then add lentils, 4 cups of warm water and salt. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer.
After 5 minutes, add the rinsed rice, cumin, cinnamon and bay leaves and simmer covered on low heat for 15 – 20 minutes until rice is fully cooked.
Serve with crispy onions on top and garnish with chopped parsley.
What You Can Have with Lentils with Rice
Lentils with Rice is great with:
- Red Cabbage Salad
- Greek Yogurt and Cucumber Salad
- Lebanese Fattoush
For the Crispy Onions:
- 1 cup chopped onions
- oil for deep frying
For the rice:
- 2 cups rice, long grain
- 1 yellow onion, medium, diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 cup green lentils, rinsed
- 4 cups water, warm
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 bay-leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, for garnishing
- 1 cup crispy onions, for garnishing
For the crispy onions:
1. Cut the onion in half and slice it medium size. Separate the slices and soak in a bowl of hot water and a generous amount of salt. Cover the bowl and leave for a half hour.
2. Strain the water and deep fry the onions in little batches until crispy golden.
Cooking the lentils and rice:
- While the onions are being soaked, wash the rice under running water for 20 -30 seconds. Set aside.
- In a large pan, saute the diced onions in olive oil until translucent. Add minced garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Then add lentils, 4 cups of warm water and salt. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the washed rice, cumin, cinnamon and bay leaves and simmer covered on low heat until rice is fully cooked.
- Serve with crispy onions on top and garnish with chopped parsley.
I prefer to use Uncle Ben's long-grain rice for this recipe. I also recommend you soak the rice in water for 20 minutes before cooking to cook faster and better.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 450Total Fat: 85gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 75gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 536mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 4g