5 Lenten Dinner Recipes
Mujadra served with Garden Salad
(adapted from http://www.maureenabood.com/ check out her page – she has other excellent Middle Eastern inspired vegetarian and vegan recipes)
1 cup whole brown or green large lentils, sorted and rinsed (you can cheat this bit and use canned lentils, but they are mushier)
¼ cup canola oil
2 or 3 onions diced (about 4 cups)
1 cup long grain rice
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
For fried onion garnish
1 large onion cut in very thin rings
canola oil for frying
Place lentils in a small saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until lentils are par-cooked, 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat. Be careful not to overcook here; the idea is to par-cook the lentils.
In a large, heavy sauté or sauce pan (with a lid), heat the canola oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until deep golden brown, about 20 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt as the onions cook.
Take the onions off the heat and add 2 cups of water. Place back on the heat and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. The liquid will take on the deep golden colour of the onions and the onions will continue to soften.
Add the rice and par-cooked lentils (and their liquid) to the onion mixture. Cover and bring to a boil. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and cook until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice and lentils are cooked through. The texture of the rice and lentils is somewhat al dente. Take care not to overcook or the mixture will become mushy. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot, warm, or room temperature drizzled with olive oil.
For fried onion garnish, heat canola oil over high heat in a small saucepan (the small saucepan reduces the amount of oil needed for depth). When a small piece of onion dropped into the oil floats to the top and bubbles vigorously, the oil is ready. Fry the onion rings in batches until golden brown, reducing heat as needed to prevent burning. Remove and drain on paper towel. Place the onions on top of the mujadara on a serving platter or individual plates.
Sauteed Endive and Homous
2 bunches of endive
2 – 3 medium onions thinly sliced
3tbsp vegetable oil
- Cut and discard the very bottom ends of endive which may still have soil on them, then wash until you get rid of the grit. Drain the endive then dry on a tea towel.
- Steam the endive by boiling it in water for about 15 minutes or until tender. You must drain all the water and in batches begin to squeeze all the water from them into separate batches. This step can be done the night before and the individual drained batched can be left in the fridge overnight.
- When ready, heat up the olive oil in the pan and stir in the finely chopped onions, let them cook for about 3 minutes then add the garlic and cook for another minute (do not burn the garlic). Add the endive in batches to the mixture, stirring each around with a wooden spoon until heated through so that they absorb the other flavours.
- Serve with a garden salad or enjoy the dish with Lebanese bread and humous bu tahini(recipe below)
2 cups cooked chickpeas (soak overnight and boil. Use skinless if you can or you can also use canned chickpeas if you are low on time)
1 garlic clove (optional)
½ cup tahini, well-stirred before measuring
½ teaspoon salt
Juice of 1 lemon
Chickpea cooking liquid, cold, or cold water, as needed
Extra-virgin olive oil, for finishing
Sumac, for finishing
In the bowl of a food processor, puree the chickpeas and garlic until a thick paste forms. Give this a couple of minutes (longer than you’d think). With the machine running, add the tahini, salt, and lemon juice. Slowly add cooking liquid or water, a tablespoon at a time, until the hummus is very smooth and light but still thick (again, process a little longer than usual). Taste and adjust with salt and lemon juice as needed.
Spoon the hummus onto a plate, spreading the hummus with the back of a spoon to form a well in the center. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sumac, and serve immediately.
Lentil Soup with Spinach and Lemon
½ cup brown or green whole lentils
½ teaspoon salt,
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups finely diced yellow onion
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 large garlic cloves, minced
4 cups spinach – you can also use Kale, swiss chard or other greens
3 diced potatoes
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
In a soup pot over high heat, bring lentils, 4 cups water, and ½ teaspoon of salt to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, just until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes add the potatoes at about the 15 minute mark and boil with it till also just tender.
Meanwhile, in a medium sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper and any other spices you want to add. Sauté until very soft and translucent. Add the minced garlic and sauté just until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add and spinach or other green and sauté until the spinach is bright green and tender. Add, the spinach mixture to the lentils and potato and stir in the lemon juice, and heat through for just a few minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Serve warm, but not piping hot, for best flavor. Garnish with chopped parsley.
Vegetarian Stuffed Zucchini (Lebanese style)
small Lebanese zucchini, approximately 10 cm long
2 heaped tbsp tomato paste
1 cup (200 g) long-grain rice, washed
handful of roasted pine nuts
1 medium tomato, finely diced
½ onion, finely diced
⅓ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
⅓ cup chopped mint
⅓ cup chopped coriander (optional)
¼ tsp chilli powder
1 tsp baharat or allspice
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp salt
20 g butter, softened
2 tbsp olive oil
Thoroughly combine the stuffing ingredients.
Cut off the zucchini stalks, then slice off the dried tips at the opposite ends without removing too much flesh. Carefully hollow out the zucchini from the stalk end by pushing and turning a manakra into the flesh (hollowing tool available at Middle Eastern shops). The tool will remove thin fingers of flesh at a time; keep hollowing until you have a generous cavity. (Reserve the zucchini flesh for another purpose, such as an omelette.) Fill a bowl with water and add 1 tsp salt. Wash the zucchini in the salted water (this helps to keep them firm when cooking), then drain.
Fill each zucchini with the stuffing, leaving 1 cm free at the top to allow the filling to expand. It’s easiest to fill the zucchini by hand, tapping them on the bench every now and then to settle the stuffing down.
Fill a large saucepan with water and add 2 tbsp salt and the tomato paste. Add the stuffed zucchini bring to the boil. Simmer over low heat for about 1 hour, until the zucchini flesh is cooked and serve.
Vegan or vegetarian Nachos (Kids will love this one)
Note: You could also replace the tortillas with whole boiled jacket potatoes as an alternative
3/4 cup cooked Black Beans (you can used the canned ones and heat it up.)
1/3 cup Guacamole (1 ripe avocado + 1/4 tsp sea salt + 1 lime, juiced)
1/2 – 3/4 cup Chunky Salsa (you can make your own if you want)
Frozen corn kernels – boiled until just tender
Fresh or pickled Jalapeños and Red Onion, sliced (optional)
Hot Sauce (optional)
If you are eating dairy you can add tasty cheese and sour cream.
Prepare your guacamole by mashing your avocado with lime juice and sea salt. Adjust seasonings as needed.
Arrange your chips on a large serving platter and add toppings in desired order. Put on the warm black beans first, then salsa, guacamole, red onion, jalapeno, corn, tomato, lettuce and coriander (optional). Enjoy immediately.
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