Middle Eastern spices are like no other. You may not be familiar with them, but they can transform a dish from ordinary to extra-ordinary! In this recipe, you’ll find hints of cinnamon, raisins and allspice, the perfect blend of flavours that will have your taste buds wanting more.
Mujaddara is a Middle Eastern dish that consists of lentils, rice, and onions. If you’ve never bought lentils before, you can find them at the grocery store in either a canned or dried version. In a hurry? Go for a canned version. Just make sure you choose a ‘no-salt-added’ version or simply rinse the lentils under cold water for 20 seconds – This will remove 40% of the salt. If you prefer to cook lentils from scratch, cook them in a pot of water for 20 minutes (no soaking required!) Faced with different varieties of lentils at the grocery store? Choose green or brown lentils, as they hold their shape better than the red ones (which are more appropriate for soups or dhals).
Here’s a glimpse of the spices I used for this recipe:
Not familiar with some of these spices? Here’s a quick breakdown for you:
Cinnamon: Cinnamon is commonly used in baking, but it is a popular spice used in Moroccan rices and stews. A pinch goes a long way in these types of dishes.
Allspice: Contrary to what many people believe, allspice is not actually a blend of spices. It comes from a small berry, and gets its name because its flavour closely resembles cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon.
Cumin: Cumin is a versatile spice and is smoky in flavour. We use it to make taco fillings, hummus, and curries.
Coriander: Often confused with fresh cilantro, coriander is the actual seed of the cilantro plant. It lends an earthy flavour to meals that marries well with cumin.
Now that you are more familiar with these spices, time to start cooking!
- 2 Tbsp (30ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 1 tsp (5ml) of each: ground cumin, ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp (2.5ml) of each: ground all spice, ground cinnamon, pepper, salt
- 1 cup (250ml) long-grain rice, uncooked
- 2 cups (500ml) low-sodium vegetable broth
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1/4 cup (60ml) raisins
- 1 cup (250ml) green lentils, cooked
- 1/4 cup (60ml) cilantro, chopped
- Heat oil under medium-high heat. Saute onions for 2-3 minutes, until softened. Add spices and rice, and toss until rice is well infused with spices and oil (additional 1 minute).
- Add broth and cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Once rice is cooked, add raisins and green lentils.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro.
Per serving: 350 kcal, 7.6g fat (1g saturated), 60g carbohydrates, 4g fiber, 11g protein, 280 mg sodium