Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Meatless Monday with Mindy #15 Mujadara Salad

Welcome to the 15th installment of Meatless Monday with Mindy!

You don't have to be a vegetarian to savor a meatless meal, and trading one meat based meal a week can add up to some significant calorie savings as well. Plant-based meals are a great way to add protein and other nutrients to your meal without adding inches to your waist. Eating meatless is also an inexpensive and easy way for eating healthy. 

Today I had a craving for Mujadara (lentils, rice and onion) but wanted to use some of the lettuces and spinach that are becoming available in my garden too. (Stay tuned for an update soon on what's growing there.) I had been outside most of the day tending to weeding and transplanting some of my starts. Being outdoors always seems to work up an appetite, but the heat and humidity made me crave something refreshing as well.  I created this recipe being inspired by my garden and the Mujadara I have been craving. It's a little more time intensive than most of the recipes I post here, but well worth the effort. 

I hope you enjoy it.  

Mujadara Salad

Serves 4

1 cup brown or green lentils (not lentils du Puy), sorted for debris and rinsed
2 cups water
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 medium onions, thinly sliced
Kosher salt
¾ cup Arborio rice
3 cups water
Mixed lettuces, spinach, kale, etc

Make the Mujadara:

Throw the lentils into a medium saucepan. Add the water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then turn down to a simmer and cook until the lentils are tender but not mushy, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.

While the lentils cook, add the olive oil to a large heating skillet.  Allow the oil to heat for just a minute, then add in the cumin and ground pepper and stir to infuse the flavor for about 1 minute.

Add the onions, sprinkle with a dash of kosher salt and cook until they turn dark caramel brown, stirring often. This will take about 15 minutes. Splash the onions with a little water if they stick to the bottom of the pan. You'll know they're done both by their deep chestnut color and by the slight crispiness developing on some of the onions.

Using a slotted spoon or spatula, remove about half of the onions to a paper towel-lined plate; these are for garnish later.

Add the rice and cook, stirring often until some rice grains start to brown.

Quickly, add the cooked lentils, 3 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of salt; bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer, covered, and cook 30 minutes. 

The water should be completely evaporated and rice should be tender. (If there's still too much water in the bottom, put the lid back on and cook for another 5 minutes.)

Turn off the heat, keep the lid on, and allow the rice to steam undisturbed for about 5 minutes.

Make the salada:
Chop cucumber and tomatoes into ½ inch cubes. Chop the cilantro and mix in with the vegetables. Drizzle with olive oil, just enough to lightly coat the veggies. Stir well and set aside.

Assemble the Salad:
 I washed and spun dry fresh lettuce and spinach from our garden. If you don't have your own garden produce, use bite-sized pieces of your favorite leafy greens and line large salad bowls with the greens.  Using a soup ladle, dish the Mujadara onto the greens. Surround the lentils with the salada. Top with reserved caramelized onions and dig in!

My honey came back for seconds and I ended up licking the spoon as I put away the left-overs.  This should serve 4, but we had very little left over tonight with just two of us eating it.

What are you cooking up?

I'd love to see your meatless recipes.  Share your blog by clicking on the blue frog below.


Jenny said...

It looks yummy! I read this as work last night and meant to stop my and pick up some onions on my and got part way home and realized i didn't stop. :( So I cooked up quinoa and added black beans, peas and corn. It was yummy too. I'll have to try this soon!

Mindy Howell said...

Jenny, have you tried this yet? You'll have to let me know when you do and what you thought of it.