Lentils, rice, olive oil, and onions, this Middle Eastern standard is the ultimate pantry recipe. It's also the classic example of a dish that's greater than the sum of its parts. All you need is to enjoy every each bite of this delicious Mujadara recipe.
1. Heat the olive oil in a very large nonstick skillet over low heat (if you only have smaller skillets, divide the oil and onions between two). When the oil shimmers, add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, 15 to 20 minutes, season with salt and pepper.
2. Meanwhile, bring 4 1/2 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan or small stockpot and add the lentils. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, then add the rice and half the cooked onions. Season with salt and pepper to taste, Simmer, covered, over very low heat until the lentils and rice are tender, about 20 minutes more. You may need to add more water toward the end; check after 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let rest, covered, for 5 minutes.
3. While the rice and lentils are cooking, cook the onions remaining in the skillet over low heat, stirring often, until dark brown and nearly crisp, 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Serve hot or at room temperature, with browned onions sprinkled on top.
Lentils, like all dried beans, vary in their cooking time depending on several factors, including age. Yours may take longer to become tender, but they shouldn't take much more than an hour.
Hard water can also affect the cooking time, if your water is hard, use bottled water.
You can serve this dish with plain yogurt or sour cream and fresh green salad.