Happy Meatless Monday! Today I’m sharing a recipe for mujadara — a family favorite. I’ve shared a different recipe for mujadara before, but this one is simpler to make (one pot!) and just as delicious. I actually came across this particular recipe on the NY Times website. It’s so great I thought I’d share it with you here.
I realize I didn’t delve into what exactly mujadara is when I posted it the first time, and for that I apologize. If you’re unfamiliar or you’ve never heard of it, mujadara is a Middle Eastern dish consisting of lentils, rice, and onions (or in this case, leeks). There is usually some sort of cumin, coriander, salt combination and it can be served either hot or cold. I highly recommend trying it, even if you decide not to make it at home. It’s filling, it’s nutritious, and the flavor is just amazing.
Mujadara with Leeks and Greens
from the NY Times
- 1 cup brown or green lentils
- 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, roots trimmed
- 2 ¼ teaspoons salt, more as needed
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ¾ cup long-grain rice
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 cups trimmed and chopped spinach or kale
Place lentils in a large bowl and add warm water to cover by at least one 1 inch. Let soak while preparing the other ingredients.
Halve leeks lengthwise and run under warm water to release any grit. Thinly slice leeks.
Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring occasionally 5 to 10 minutes, until golden brown and crispy. Transfer half the leeks to a bowl to use for garnish and sprinkle with a dash of salt.
Stir garlic into the pot with the remaining leeks and cook for 15-30 seconds until fragrant. Stir in rice and sauté 2 minutes, then add in cumin, allspice and cayenne; sauté 30 seconds while stirring.
Drain lentils and stir into pot. Add 4 1/4 cups water, 2 teaspoons salt, bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat for 15 minutes.
If you’re averse to spice, which I am when it comes to cayenne, you can omit it and it doesn’t lose any flavor. The most recent time we made this, my husband helped me and he ended up putting cayenne into the spice bowl (I usually measure and combine all the spices into one small bowl while I’m cooking to minimize stress in the kitchen). While I didn’t care for it too much, I definitely didn’t mind it. Just something to keep in mind if you don’t love spice.
Aside from that, this is really one of the best recipes I’ve made for Meatless Mondays. And the proof is in the pudding — even my kids love it and they’re the world’s pickiest eaters!
Have you had mujadara before?
If yes, do you like it? And if no, what’s your favorite Middle Eastern dish?