Recipe: Mujaddara

Mujaddara is a Lebanese dish, but I’ve also seen it associated with Jordan and Iran. I believe the origins are regional and predate today’s borders, but if you have more info please let me know in the comments below.

This recipe is simple,  savory, and an unsuspecting crowd pleaser. The caramelized onions are heaven and the vibrant spices bring the dish to life. Rick houses it.

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Ingredients

1 c lentils
1/2 c olive oil
1 t cumin seeds
1/2 t black peppercorns, cracked or whole
3-5 red onions
2 t sea salt
3/4 c brown basmati rice
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t cayenne
1″ cinnamon stick
3 c water
1-2 lemons
2 T pine nuts, toasted (optional)

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  1. Put lentils into a medium saucepan and cover them with about an inch of cold water. Bring it to a boil over medium-high heat, then turn down to a simmer and cook about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. While the lentils cook, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for a minute. Add cumin seeds and peppercorns, occasionally shaking the pan until the cumin seeds darken, about one minute.
  3. Sauté onions and 1/2 t sea salt, stirring often. The onions are done when they’re dark brown in color with slightly crispy edges. This will take about ten minutes.
  4. With a slotted spoon, move about half of the onions to a tea towel or paper towel-lined plate. These are for garnish.
  5. Add ground cumin, cayenne, and cinnamon stick and sauté about one minute.
  6. Add rice, stirring often until some grains start to brown. In quick succession, add the cooked lentils, water, and remaining sea salt and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to a simmer, cover, and cook 30 minutes.
  7. Keeping the lid on, turn off the heat and allow the rice mixture to steam for about five minutes.
  8. If using, toast pine nuts in a small skillet over medium-low heat about five minutes.
  9. Serve rice mixture with the reserved onions, a squeeze of lemon juice, and pine nuts, if using.

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Unlike the photo above, make a polished table presentation by filling a mold or small bowl with the dish and flipping it onto a plate.

Enjoy this mujaddara for lunch or dinner, as a side, or as a main course.

Serves four.

Adapted from Lebanese Lentils, Rice and Caramelized Onions.

Recipe: Pad Thai

 

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Ingredients

6 oz rice stick noodles
1/4 c maple syrup
1/4 c mirin
3 T ketchup
3 T soy sauce or tamari
1 1/2 T lime juice
1 T sambal oelek or sriracha
~15 oz baked tofu*
1/2 red onion, cut into 1/4″ slices
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 scallions, chopped
1 handful of baby carrots, shredded
1/4 c fresh cilantro, mint, or combo, chopped
1/2 c roasted peanuts, chopped

*Get hard, vacuum sealed tofu in the refrigerated section. Don’t get the crumbly stuff. This should require a knife!

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  1. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
  2. Whisk syrup, mirin, ketchup, soy sauce, lime juice, and sambal oelek together. Set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, heat coconut oil over high. Add tofu and stir-fry for four minutes.
  4. Add onion and garlic and stir-fry for one minute.
  5. Add noodles and sauce mixture and stir-fry until even coated.
  6. Add scallions and carrots and stir-fry until all ingredients are well combined and heated through.
  7. Remove skillet from heat. Stir in herbs and peanuts.

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Serves four.

Adapted from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch.

Recipe: Roasted Beets and Sweets

 

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Ingredients

3 large beets*, peeled and diced
3 T olive oil, divided
3 sweet potatoes*, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 t garlic powder
1 t sea salt
1 t black pepper
1 t cane sugar**

*Bonus points if you use rainbow beets and different sweet potatoes. The more color, the better!

**Ditch the sugar to make this recipe paleo.

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  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. In a bowl, toss beets in 1 T olive oil until coated. Distribute evenly on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes.
  3. Rinse the bowl, then toss sweet potatoes, onion, garlic powder, sea salt, pepper, sugar, and 2 T olive oil until coated.
  4. Mix sweet potato mixture with the beets on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, stir the mixture, then bake another 25 minutes until all vegetables are tender.

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Serves six.

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Adapted from Roasted Beets ‘n’ Sweets.

Recipe: Thai Curry Vegetables

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Once the vegetables are chopped and ready to roll this Thai curry comes together in a flash.

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Ingredients

2 c Thai jasmine rice
3 c water
1/2 t sea salt
1 can of coconut milk (do not shake)
1/2 c vegetable stock
4 t soy sauce*
4 t brown sugar*
6 tablespoons fish-free Thai green curry paste, like Thai Kitchen
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
asparagus bunch, cut into 2″ pieces
1/2 eggplant, diced
1 lime
handful of basil leaves, cut into thin chiffonade

*Tamari or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos can be used in lieu of soy sauce and sugar can be left out if you prefer to avoid it.

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There’s a lot of vegetable flexibility here. Some other delicious options are green beans, mushrooms, baby sweet corn, and broccoli. I encourage you to use what you have on hand.

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  1. Combine rice, water, and sea salt in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, stir once, lower to simmer, and cover for 18 minutes. Do not lift lid.
  2. Spoon 6 T of coconut cream from the top of the can of coconut milk into a deep skillet. Pour remaining contents into a bowl, mix well, and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl combine vegetable stock, soy sauce, and sugar until sugar is dissolved, set aside.
  4. Heat skillet containing coconut cream on medium-high until it bubbles. Add curry paste and reduce heat to medium-low, stirring constantly until fragrant, about three minutes.
  5. Add onion, bell pepper, zucchini, sweet potato, asparagus, and eggplant. Stir until warm, 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add remaining coconut milk and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about ten minutes.
  7. Stir in soy sauce mixture and juice from one lime.
  8. Serve curry over the rice and top with basil.

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Serves four.

Adapted from Vegan Thai Curry Vegetables.

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Recipe: Açaí Bowl

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Açaí bowls are more than internet photo fodder, they’re healthful and delicious. Because I eat vegetarian (erring on the side of vegan) I often start my days with one. Cooking has become a bit of a love language for me, so on a recent trip home I racked my brain trying to think of something to accommodate both my dietary ideals and my parents who eat paleo. Açaí bowls are adaptable and are the only vegan / paleo crossover meal I’ve managed so far. They also, you know, look nice.

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Ingredients

1 t coconut oil
2 T unsweetened coconut flakes
1 4 oz pack frozen unsweetened açaí
1 banana
2 T coconut milk*
1 Medjool date, pitted*
1 T peanut butter*
1 T chia seeds
2 T granola
1 T dried goji berries
1 T cacao nibs
small handfuls of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries

*Other types of milk, dates, and nut butters can be used. Almond butter works great for paleo folks.

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  1. Melt coconut oil over medium-low heat. Add coconut flakes and toast until lightly browned, 2-3 minutes.
  2. Blend açaí, banana, coconut milk, date, and peanut butter until smooth.
  3. Pour into bowl and top with toasted coconut, fresh fruit, chia seeds, dried goji berries, cacao nibs, and granola.

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Toppings can be edited to fit tastes. Since berries have such a precarious shelf life, often I do not have all four kinds on hand so I just use what’s around. Sliced kiwi is a delicious topping, too.

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Serves one.

Recipe adapted from It’s All Easy: Delicious Weekday Recipes for the Super-Busy Home Cook by Gwyneth Paltrow.