To keep this classic Middle Eastern lentils and rice dish weeknight-friendly, slice the onions and steam the brown rice in advance. I also recommend taking advantage of pre-cooked lentils (look for them in the refrigerated section) to save major time. Meatless Monday or not, this is one of the most crave-worthy plant-based comfort foods I can think of.
- 2 cups brown rice
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 5 cups thinly sliced onions (about 3 medium onions)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 cups cooked lentils*
- Sea salt
- 1/2 cup finely chopped herbs (parsley, mint, cilantro)
- 2 heads romaine, chopped
- 1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
- 3 tablespoons tahini
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 pressed clove)
*I like Melissa’s steamed lentils or Trader Joes steamed lentils (look for them in the refrigerated section); a 1-pound package yields about 3 cups. See recipe notes for instructions on cooking dried lentils.
Prepare brown rice according to package directions; set aside.
In a heavy skillet (not nonstick) with lid, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 1 minute, until onions are coated in oil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and continue to cook for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, or until onions are a deep golden brown color. Add cumin seeds, paprika, and cinnamon and cook for 1 minute more. Deglaze pan with 2 tablespoons of water, using a wooden spoon to scrape up the caramelized bits from the pan.
Gently fold in the cooked lentils. Season to taste with salt (I add about 1/2 teaspoon), then fold in the herbs.
To make the Tahini Yogurt, combine all ingredients (yogurt through garlic powder) in a small dish and whisk to combine.
To serve: Divide the chopped romaine into bowls (you can lightly dress with olive oil, lemon juice and salt if you prefer). Top with a scoop of brown rice, followed by the lentil onion mixture. Drizzle with sauce and top with extra chopped herbs if you like.