Mejadra (or Mujaddara or Majadra) is a popular Middle Eastern dish that has ancient roots in Iraq. Today it is often a side dish, but for vegans it serves as a substantial and nutrition-ful stand alone. Mejadra is often made with rice and lentils, but I have also seen and tried recipes with burgul (durum wheat), freekah (green durum wheat), and quinoa.
I was introduced to mejadra by my mother in law. She always makes it for us when we are visiting her in Israel. The joys of vacation and comfort food 🙂 there is something about a meal that is cooked for you that gives it that extra layer of flavor. I think since I spend so much time in my own kitchen, I have come to appreciate others cooking for me so much that their food actually tastes even better. Her kitchen always smells so good and there is always a story behind each dish, usually about how her mother used to make it. One day I will be smart enough to write it all down.
Traditionally mejadra is made with fried onions, but my mother in law always sauteed them instead. I’ve also seen it done with raisins. My family prefers it pretty basic. The right spices take it to another level.
If you have picky eaters like I do, try only putting in a small amount of lentils first, and let them get used to the taste. Each time you make the dish, up your lentils a little.
So let’s talk nutrition. Lentils are nutrient dense, and one of the best protein sources in the nut and legume family. They are made up of about 26% PROTEIN. They are also a great source of FIBER. Lentils are loaded with magnesium, calcium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus and amino acids. With all this nutritional wealth, lentils are helpful in lowering cholesterol, keeping your heart healthy, and helping your digestive track.
They come in a variety of shades like brown, green, black and event red. There are tons of lentil recipes. My favorite way to eat lentils besides mejadra is in soup… or in a salad.
*TIP: one of the easiest Trader Joe’s hacks will be your new go-to salad to bring to parties. Combine 1 package of the steamed black lentils (from the refrigerator section) with 1-2 packages of the pre-made bruschetta (also in the refrigerator section) DONE!
So onto the recipe. Hope you enjoy my MEJADRA REBOOT.
Serves a family 🙂
You can easily cut the recipe in half… or make the full batch and reheat throughout the week.
1-2 tblsp Olive oil (Optional)
2 cups brown rice (I like the jasmine brown rice from trader joe’s) rinsed
1 cup of brown or green lentils rinsed
1 large onion chopped
1 tsp of cumin
1 or 2 tsp of tumeric
1 or 2 tsp of salt
Rinse your rice and lentils (separately).
1. In a pot heat up olive oil and saute your onion. (or water saute if you don’t want to use oil).
2. Once onions have a nice color add the lentils and saute for a few more minutes.
3. Add 4 cups of water and a little salt. Bring to a boil and let the lentils cook about 15 min. Once done, drain and rinse briefly.
4. Return the lentils and onion to the pot and add your rice and all the spices and mix. Add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover pot tightly and lower heat to low. Let simmer for 20 min.
5. Once done, I like to open the pot and fluff up the rice a bit and then recover the pot and let it stand for another 10 min or so. (This way you can also check that there is no excess water. If your pot still has water, cook covered for another 5 min).