Lentils with Rice and Crispy Onions—this completely vegan lentil recipe is a traditional Lebanese dish made with simple ingredients and very easy to prepare.
Lentils with Rice, or Mdardra, is unique to the city of Beirut as a variation of the traditional Lebanese dish Majadara which has bulgur instead of rice.
However, unlike the traditional recipe, mine has garlic and other spices.
Although you can find Mdardra as a main dish in many homes though it is on the Mezze menu of most Lebanese restaurants.
You only need a few simple ingredients to make this rice recipe: long grain rice, green lentils, a yellow onion and garlic. You will also need, salt, pepper, cumin, cinnamon and two bay-leaves.
For the Crispy Onions, you will need one large onion and vegetable oil for frying.
How to make Lentils with Rice and Crispy Onions
Start with preparing the crispy onions.
Cut the onion into think slices and deep fry with vegetable oil until crispy and golden.
Alternatively, you may saute the onions in olive oil for around 5 – 10 minutes they become beautifully caramelized. Remove from heat, and set aside in a plate.
Next, work on the rice, rinse 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 around 15 minutes until rice is fully cooked.
Serve with crispy onions on top and garnish with chopped parsley.
What You Can Have with Lentils and Rice
Lentils with Rice is great with any side of salad or yogurt. I made a simple cabbage salad on the side but here are some other sides you can try as well,
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
- Cut the onions into thin slices.
- Deep fry in vegetable oil until crispy golden. About 10 - 15 minutes.
Cooking the lentils and rice
- 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. About 15 minutes.
- 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
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