Spring is here and life is in full bloom. And when it comes to lunch, there is no match to a fresh, light meal. I find that the most satisfying meals are the ones full of different textures, flavors, and colors, filling the eyes before the stomach. Mealtime is slowly savored in a comfortable setting and never alone. This is the Levantine way, or should I say the Mediterranean way. Food is not taken lightly and yet it’s not fussy.
This porridge is not so photogenic, but it makes up for it in taste. A real time and money saver with a lot of potential to be a great lunch or even snack. Mjadara, as it’s called back home, is a very popular summer time dish. The accompaniments to the porridge are just as important to the dish and bring out all the flavors. A little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon, a quick salad and some pita bread makes the complete set. Once you try it, I am sure that it will be one of your favorite as it is mine.
Lentil and Onion Porridge
1 cup French lentil
2 tablespoon rice *
3 cups water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt, scant
Freshly cracked pepper to taste
Wash lentils and place in a pot over medium heat in the water. Boil until the lentils are soft for about 20mn. At that point, the water would have mostly evaporated. With an immersion blender, pulse until slightly smooth, leaving some texture. In another pot, drizzle the olive oil and add the diced onions. Saute until soft, add cumin and stir for about a minute, then add the lentils, salt and pepper. Boil for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking, then pour in a shallow dish and let cool. Serve with salad (recipe follows) and pita.
* Rice is optional in the dish. If brown rice is used, add it to the water with the lentils as it requires more time to cook than white. For white rice, it can be added halfway through the cooking process with the lentils.
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1 cup clover sprouts or your favorite
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 medium cucumber, sliced
1/2 cup radish, sliced
1 lemon, juiced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
Toss all ingredients in a bowl and serve with the porridge and pita.
I hope you enjoy this meal as much as I do.