Mujaderra, is a lentil and rice pilaf topped with a glistening pile of sautéed onions. It’s easy to see why it’s known as Middle Eastern comfort food. There are so many variations of this recipe, but this involves just five ingredients — rice, lentils, olive oil, salt and onions.
By adding seasonal produce into this dish such as kabocha squash, they’re as decorative as they are delicious. But you could also substitute acorn squash or small sugar pumpkins in place of the kabocha squash. The soft sweetness of squash offers a perfect contrast to the earthy brown rice and lentils. This hearty vegetarian meal has it all — a complete protein, vitamin-rich winter squash, plus the sweet treat of fried onions.
Take it to the next level by topping with tahini dressing or a spoonful of labneh. This dish is vegan, gluten-free and perfect as a weeknight dinner or holiday entree.
- 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup brown lentils, rinsed and sorted
- 1 cup brown rice
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 2 large white onions, sliced thinly
- Paprika to taste
- 2 kabocha squash, cut in half and seeded
Optional tahini dressing:
- 1/2 cup tahini
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Salt to taste
- Water as needed to thin
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Bring water, 2 tablespoons of oil and salt to boil. Then add brown lentils and brown rice. Let this come to a boil and then turn down the heat to low. Cover, and let simmer for 45 minutes or until tender.
- As the rice and lentils simmer, coat the flat side of the squash halves with olive oil and sprinkle the insides with salt. Place flat-side down on baking sheets and roast in the oven for 30-45 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork.
- Meanwhile, heat a frying pan or cast iron skillet on medium. Add 1/4 cup oil and the sliced onions, and sauté for 20 minutes or until the onions are soft and browned to your liking. Season with paprika to taste.
- If you want to garnish the dish with tahini dressing, make this by whisking all ingredients except water together. You’ll notice that the dressing will become very thick. At this point, add water 1 Tablespoon at a time until you’ve reached your desired consistency.
- When the squash and mujaderra are both done cooking, scoop each half of the squash with mujaderra, top with onions, and serve. Garnish with fresh herbs, tahini dressing, labne or Greek yogurt.