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We're celebrating Meatless Mondays with balanced, delicious meal plans. We hope you'll join us -- whether you're vegetarian all the time or just here and there.
Today: You have all year to make mujaddara, so add a seasonal twist -- and take advantage of the late summer bounty -- by pairing it with a creamy eggplant dip.
Mujaddara is one of those comfort foods, like macaroni and cheese or lasagna, that never goes out of season. Made of lentils, rice, and onions, it's the go-to dish for when you're too busy to get to the market or you're on a mission to clean out the pantry.
But just because you can make mujaddara any night of the week, any month of the year, doesn't mean you can't add a seasonal twist. Take advantage of eggplant season by replacing the typical spiced yogurt that accompanies mujadarra with an eggplant alternative. Not only will you have leftover spread that's great on sandwiches or with falafel later in the week, but it's also the perfect way to grab hold of the late summer bounty while you still have the chance.
Serves 4, with extra eggplant dip
2 decently sized eggplants
3/4 cups French lentils
1 cup jasmine rice
3 medium onions
1 cup yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh parsley (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh mint (optional)
Pita bread or chips
You probably already have salt, butter, olive oil, a lemon, and garlic in your kitchen. If not, you'll need those ingredients, too.
1. Prick your eggplants with a fork and stick them in an oven preheated to 400° F.
2. Mujaddara consists of just 3 parts: lentils, rice, and onions. Start by cooking the lentils in a large pot with 4 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
3. Use the same pot to bring the rice to a boil with 1 1/2 cups of water on the stove, then cover the pot and transfer it to the oven for 17 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork, and set aside. Once the rice is out, turn up the oven temperature to 450° F.
4. While the rice is in the oven, thinly slice the onions and sauté them with butter and olive oil for 15 or 20 minutes. You want the onions to be well-browned with a charred and crispy bottom layer.
5. Combine, rice, lentils, and onions and let sit for 15 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, check on the eggplant, which should be very soft with blackened skin. Scoop the insides into a colander, press to release juices, then transfer to a bowl and mash. Add the yogurt and 3 tablespoons of olive oil and mash some more. Mix in the juice of half a lemon and, optionally, 1 crushed clove of garlic and the fresh herbs. Dig into big bowls of mujaddara, taking frequent breaks to scoop up the eggplant dip with fresh pita or crunchy pita chips.
Now that you can cross eggplant off your list, turn to Foodie's new app for more recipes that make the most of late-summer produce.