Legumes are a staple of the Mediterranean diet. For this reason you can find plenty of vegetarian and vegan pulses recipes on my blog under the “Beans & other legumes” category.
Those of you who are regular followers of my work already know that I am a Gourmet Guru of the Pulses organization, as well as a recipe contributor to the International Year of Pulses (IYP) of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) of the United Nations.
The IYP of the FAO had as target to encourage people around the world to eat more pulses and to raise awareness on the benefits of consuming pulses for people and the planet.
Pulses are part of the legume family, but when we talk about pulses we refer only to the dried seed. Legumes are good sources of proteins, amino acids, fibre, iron, B group vitamins and other nutrients that help prevent cancer, diabetes and heart diseases.
Pulses are an excellent source of folate that is essential to the nervous system function and especially important during pregnancy to prevent fetal neural tube defects.
Pulses are linked to a sustainable agriculture. Pulses crops increase farm biodiversity and create a more diverse landscape for animals and insects. And pulses have nitrogen-fixing properties that help improve soil fertility. By producing a smaller carbon footprint, pulses help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Today I am sharing with you yet another recipe with pulses, my Lebanese family recipe for Moudardara: lentils with rice & caramelized onions.
The consumption of cereals with pulses has the potential to increase the absorption of protein of the overall meal. So it is good to have your favourite pulses recipes with some bread or rice to increase the absorption of the protein. The Moudardara recipe contains rice what is perfect to absorb the protein of the lentils.
It is also important to know that to increase the body’s ability to absorb iron from the pulses it is good to combine them with vitamin C rich foods. This is why we add lemon juice to the “Moudardara: lentils with rice & caramelized onions” right before serving.
If you try this tasty and nutritious vegan Mediterranean diet recipe of “Moudardara: lentils with rice & caramelized onions”, please let me know, leave a comment and rate it. I would love to know what you come up with. Enjoy!
- 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 400g (2 cups) Dried brown lentils
- 50g (¼ cup) Rice (ideally whole grain rice), rinsed
- 2 Onions thinly sliced
- 1 Lemon, freshly squeezed (approx. 4 tablespoons)
- 1 Tablespoon sea salt (or salt to taste)
- Lentils do not require pre-soaking. Just make sure there are no little pebble in between, rinse them very well with cold water and drain. Rinse the rice with water and have the rest of ingredients prepared as indicated in the ingredients description.
- Add the lentils in a pot with enough water to have them well covered and a pinch of salt. Bring them to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer for about 15 minutes stirring from time to time.
- While the lentils are cooking, heat 2 tablespoons of EVOO in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced onions and a pinch of salt and sauté over low heat. Stir well to cover the onion slices with the olive oil and sauté for about 5 minutes until the onions are tender and golden.
- Reserve a portion of the onions for decoration of the dish and add the remaining onions already sautéed to the lentils. Once the lentils have cooked for 15 minutes, add the rinsed rice and add 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Make sure there is enough cooking water from the lentils to cook the rice, at least 250 ml (1 cup) of water, if not add it. Cook on a low heat for approximately 10mins (or for as much time is indicated in the rice cooking instructions) stirring from time to time.
- Once the rice and lentils are cooked and the cooking water evaporated, remove from heat. Add the freshly squeezed lemon juice, drizzle with EVOO and serve with the remaining sautéed onions on top. This dish can be served hot or cold (ideally for summer).