This beautifully fragrant and tasty lentils rice pilaf, Mjedra also known as Lebanese Lentils and Rice, is as delicious as it is simple and wholesome. This humble Lebanese dish is deeply satisfying and soul warming with its earthy spices, tender lentils, and fluffy rice ensuring the entire family will come running to the table, making it an ultimate Whole Food Plant Based dish, no oil, no sugar, no highly processed ingredients, and gluten free.
Mjedra (Lentils & Rice) Ingredients:
- 1 large yellow onion, fine dice
- 1 cup Pacific Organic Vegetable Broth *
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup small brown lentils *
- ½ cup uncooked rice (rice of choice) *
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 Tablespoon dried minced onions
- 1 teaspoon Seven Spices *
- 1 teaspoons sea salt (+/- to taste) *
- ¼ teaspoon pepper (+/- to taste)
Cabbage Salad (Malfouf) Ingredients:
- 1 purple cabbage, thinly shredded
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (+/- to taste) *
- 5 large garlic cloves (or 10 small), crushed into a paste
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/8 cup of dried mint
- In a large ceramic/enamel lined Dutch oven/pot or similarly large stockpot, add the diced onion. Sauté over medium-high heat for 7 to 10 minutes to soften and then crisp. You want the onions browned. Do not add water or broth. When they start to really stick and brown nicely, then add the 3 cups of water and 1 cup of vegetable broth. Increase the heat to a boil, then lower to a simmer.
- Add the garlic powder, sea salt, pepper, minced dried onion, and Seven Spices.
- Add the lentils and cook uncovered for 15 minutes. See recipe notes – cooking times vary by lentils used.
- After 15 minutes, then add the rice and simmer covered for another 15 minutes. See recipe notes on cooking times.
- After the additional 15 minutes has expired, check the rice and lentils to ensure they are both tender. Once they are tender, then the recipe splits into TWO different versions of Mjedra:
- Pureed Mjedra – take an immersion blender and blend until it forms a paste. (see images)
- Mjedra (not pureed into a paste) – remove the cover and cook uncovered for 5 minutes. (see images)
- To serve, place some mjedra onto a plate and top with the Malfouf (red cabbage) salad. Enjoy!
- Shred the purple cabbage into very thin slices and place into a large bowl.
- Add one teaspoon of sea salt into a mortar, then add the garlic cloves and smash the garlic into the salt with the pestle until it forms a paste. (Approx. 2-3 minutes).
- Add the red wine and lemon juice to the mortar and stir to mix well, then pour over the purple cabbage slaw.
- Add the dried mint and toss well. Refrigerate.
*Vegetable Stock: We use Pacific Organic Vegetable Stock. We love this brand because it is Whole Food Plant Based compliant, as it does not contain MSG, has no oil, and does not contain any highly-processed ingredients; however, this brand of vegetable stock does have a strong flavor so less broth is required when compared to the water ratio. We use a higher water to broth ratio because of this. If you use another brand of vegetable broth, then adjust the water/vegetable broth ratio accordingly.
*Seven Spices: Seven Spices is a Lebanese spice consisting typically of black pepper, cumin, paprika, coriander, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cardamom (8 spices). There are a variety of Arabic Seven Spices available with variations. We prefer the Lebanese Seven Spices.
*Small Brown Lentils (Pardina/Spanish Brown): You can substitute any type of lentil for the brown lentil (other than red); however, you will need to adjust the cooking time. Small brown lentils typically cook within 20 to 25 minutes. If left to cook longer than 35 to 40 minutes, they can start to get mushy which is fine if you are making the pureed mjedra, but not, if you are making traditional mjedra. ALSO see the notes on rice as you need to coordinate their tenderness timing with 10 minutes or so. We have found that the Small Brown Lentil works beautifully with this recipe.
*Rice: The beauty of this recipe is you can substitute any type of rice you wish as well. The key is to find the best time to place both the lentils and rice (separately or together) into the pot so they are both tender at the same time, so adjust your times accordingly. If you are using a brown rice, then brown rice typically takes longer to cook than a white or basmati rice. Also, green lentils typically take longer to cook than the small brown lentils. If you are combining green lentils and brown rice, then you can add both the green lentils and brown rice at the same time and cook them with the cover on the pot to ensure they are both done at the same time or at least close to the same time. If you are nervous about the coordination of cooking times, then cook your lentils until tender and add cooked rice near the last 10 minutes or so of the cooking time.
*Sea Salt: You may need to add some sea salt. We added 1 teaspoon (plus) to the Mjedra as we felt the added sea salt improved the flavor. We added 1 teaspoon to the Malfouf salad as we felt it improved the flavor. Feel free to adjust the sea salt according to your diet and taste preferences.
*Malfouf salad: Traditionally, Malfouf salad is made with olive oil. Leaving the olive oil out of the recipe makes the salad garlicky and tart. We loved it this way.
*Nutritional Information: Does not include toppings (Malfouf, cabbage salad)
- Serving Size: 1 Serving
- Calories: 278.6
- Sugar: 3.2 g
- Sodium: 624.7 mg
- Fat: 1.3 g
- Carbohydrates: 51.9 g
- Fiber: 16.6 g
- Protein: 15.2 g