I cooked this “peasant food” for the first time recently. It’s such an easy delicious meal. I am a sucker for highly spiced food and hearty comfort food, and this definitely fits the bill. As spring creeps in I’m looking forward to fresh light meals, but in the meantime we’ll enjoy a few more of our new winter faves. I tinkered with the spice a little on this one. I think it could endure countless variations and still be just as tasty, and the house smells wonderful!

I learned a lesson about lentils. Reds are much more delicate. I thought it was no big deal to mix the leftover reds and greens from the pantry. Mistake. The first pot I made was a mush mess, so I had to start over with just greens. Live and learn.

Serves: 4
Spiced lentils and caramelized onions with rice
  • 1½ cups green lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 large onions, or equivalent, diced
  • 2 cups stock or water
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ½ tsp cayenne
  • ¾ cup whole grain basmati rice (prepared)
  1. Add lentils and 3 cups water to pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 35-45 minutes until tender and water is absorbed.
  2. Prepare rice according to package instructions.
  3. Heat a separate pan to high. Add onions. Stir and cook. Add stock or water by ¼ cup fulls to avoid sticking and burning. After 10 minutes reduce heat to medium. Cook another 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Add all spices.
  4. Combine lentils, rice, and onion mixture. Serve.

Most recipes I’ve seen call for using oil to caramelize the onions. I don’t see how that would add anything since this dish is so flavorful. I love using the water/stock method for the onions. The stock intensifies the flavor, and you don’t have any issues with greasiness in the final dish. I used a wild rice blend because it was available in the pantry. I would normally use a whole grain basmati or jasmine rice, but the wild rice was really good too.

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