I’ve had an intermittent mild cold and fever throughout the past 2 weeks, which has made working on Sweet Little Kitchen very difficult. Whenever my exhausted self gets home from work, I just want to plop my 99.6º body and sore throat on the couch to watch an episode of Gilmore Girls and drink a mug of herbal fruity Celestial Seasonings tea. But I’ve been feeling slightly better as of late, so hopefully this virus, or whatever it is, has left and I can move on to more productive things.
If you’re looking for an easy meal to fuel you through a rough day, you’ve come to the right place. I know mujaddara sounds intimidating (Drew said it sounds like the name of a Disney villain), but I promise it’s easy and made with things that are very likely sitting in your kitchen at this moment. According to Wikipedia, the Arabic word mujaddara means “pockmarked,” as the lentils among the rice resemble pockmarks. And it’s reported to be a derivative of the Biblical “mass of pottage” or lentil stew Jacob used to buy Esau’s birthright. And it is good – so good. This recipe is Middle Eastern comfort food at its finest.
I think you could easily swap out the chopped apricots for raisins to make this meal even more budget-friendly. I like to buy brown basmati rice at Trader Joe’s or Costco, but I know it can be a little tricky to track down. You can sub in a long grain white rice – just make sure to decrease the vegetable broth and cooking time by a small amount, since white rice cooks more quickly. To make it vegan, you can double the amount of olive oil and omit the butter and spiced mint yogurt. Don’t you love adaptive, flexible meals?
Looking for other comforting Middle Eastern recipes? Check out my recipe for Persian Pomegranate Chicken.
- • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- • 1 tablespoon olive oil
- • 2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
- • 2 cups vegetable broth
- • ½ cup lentils
- • ½ brown basmati rice
- • ½ cup dried apricots, chopped
- • ¼ slivered almonds (or roughly chopped whole almonds)
- FOR THE SPICED MINT YOGURT
- • ⅓ cup Greek yogurt
- • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, minced
- • 1 tablespoon olive oil
- • 2 teaspoon lemon juice
- • 1 teaspoon honey
- • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- • pinch of salt
- • pinch of paprika
- In a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. When the butter has melted, add the onions and a few grinds of salt and pepper. Cook the onions until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook the onions until they begin to turn light brown, about 3 more minutes.
- Raise the heat to medium-high and add the vegetable broth and lentils to the skillet. Cover and reduce the heat to low, simmering the lentils for 10 minutes. Uncover and stir in the rice, chopped apricots, and almonds. Cover and simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let it sit, covered, for 5 minutes to let the rice and lentils finish cooking in the steam.
- To make the mint yogurt, stir together all the ingredients in a small bowl.
- Top the mujaddara with a dollop of spiced mint yogurt before serving.