SUMMER! There’s something about the warmest season of the year. The sun’s influence has a miraculous effect on my happiness. It just makes life feel so harmonious. I just LOVE a beautiful, sunny, breezy summer day…a weekend day of course, filled with relaxation and a delicious meal.☜That was moi a few hours ago.
And then Sunday afternoon creeped up on me, had the audacity to interrupt my happiness and bring me the Monday blues.😒🤔 And all I kept repeating in my head: “Wasn’t it Friday like 8 minutes ago?!”
But, I quickly put on my big girl panties and reminded myself that I still had one more delicious meal to savor on our deck. Lebanese Lentil Rice Pilaf (Mdardara) with Cabbage Tomato Salad was the perfect summer evening meal. The pilaf was absolutely delicious and nutritious paired with the ever so refreshing summer salad.
This is one of our favorite vegetarian meals that we enjoy yearlong. But I do enjoy this more in the summer since the pilaf doesn’t have to be served warm and so leftovers are very easy to serve. I also use my rice cooker in this recipe, ensuring a perfectly done pilaf.
This pilaf is topped with scrumptious caramelized onions. They add so much flavor to this dish!
The Cabbage Tomato Salad is very easy to prepare. It’s a mixture of white cabbage, tomatoes, lemon juice, olive oil, fresh garlic and dried mint. The garlic lemony juiciness of the salad adds a kick to the lentil rice pilaf. I love using my Mortar and Pestel to mince my garlic. I feet it adds so much more flavor.
I hope you try this and enjoy it as much as we do! And most importantly, may your coffee be strong and your Monday be short! 😁
What I’ve used in this recipe:
Here’s a complete list of my kitchen essentials
- Large Brown Lentils - 1 cup.
- Basmati (White) Rice - 1.5 cups, rinsed.
- Onion - 1 medium, finely diced.
- Onion - 3 large, cut into wedges.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 1-2 tbsp.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Vegetable oil - ¼ cup.
- Cumin - 2-3 tsp.
- Cinnamon - 1 tsp.
- All Spice - 1 tsp.
- Salt - 2 tsp.
- Water - 2 cups for par-boiling the lentils.
- Water - 4 cups.
- White Cabbage - ½ small, shredded to desired size.
- Tomatoes - 4, chopped.
- Garlic Clove - 1, minced.
- Lemon - ½, juiced.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil - drizzle to taste.
- Dried Mint - 1.5 tsp
- Salt - ½ tsp.
- In a medium pot, add the lentils and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile in a large sauce pan, add 1-2 tbsp of olive oil, diced onion, cumin, cinnamon, all spice, salt and caramelize until golden brown. Should be ready when the lentils are done.
- Drain the lentils and add along with rinsed rice to rice cooker.
- Add one cup of water to the caramelized diced onion to scrape all the bits and spices then pour into the rice cooker.
- Add the remaining 3 cups of water to the rice cooker and mix all the contents well. Turn on rice cooker with the white rice setting. Should take around 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the ¼ cup of oil in your saucepan and caramelize the onion wedges until golden brown. Drain on paper towels until ready to serve.
- Top your Lentil Rice Pilaf (Mdardara) with the caramelized onion wedges and serve with the Cabbage Tomato Salad. The pilaf can be served warm or cold.
- Add all ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Tastes best when served immediately.
- If you're not using a rice cooker, from steps 3-5, add all the ingredients to a large pot instead, bring to a boil, then simmer covered until the water is absorbed. You might need to play around with the measurements of water.