Some days are just like that. You go from here to there faster than the speed of sound, maybe getting things crossed off the list, or maybe hitting road blocks at every turn and suddenly you and/or those mouths you feed are hungry. You need to get dinner on the table now and you are Not. Going. To. The. Store.
You are going home and putting on those drawstring pants that can only be seen by those who love you unconditionally. You will shuffle around in the kitchen, but only if every one promises to not ask you anything. Nothing.
Clearly, I am not talking about me here. I am a food professional, and I always have healthful, well-balanced meals close at hand. Certainly, I would never allow myself to get over hungry to the point of eating cookies right out of the freezer. (Did I just say that aloud?) No, I have a discriminating palate and a modicum of control. And I do not own any drawstring pants. Obviously.
But if this sounds like you, I have your fall-back, ever-ready meal for you. It is in your pantry and it is fast and oh-so-simple and– I am serious about this– truly healthful and satisfying. When you read this recipe, you will not understand why it hits the spot the way it does: you may even think it sounds dull. When a student in one of my classes at ICE (Institute of Culinary Education) told me about this Lebanese family dish of hers a couple of years ago, I didn’t see how it could possibly be as wonderful as she made it out to be.
It just is.
It is worth noting that this dish may go by any of a number of spellings: if it ends up being phonetically similar to the way it is spelled above, that should clue you in.
1 cup lentils
1 cup rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1. Bring the lentils and 2 cups water to a boil; immediately reduce to simmer, cover and simmer 20 minutes. Lentils should be tender enough to pierce but still firm in the center. Add rice and 1 1/2 cups of water, cover and simmer 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and soft, about 20 minutes.
3. When the rice is cooked, season with the salt and pepper and stir in about half the onions. Serve the remaining onions on top of the pilaf.
Makes 6 servings
Nutrition for each serving:
271 calories, 11 g protein, 47 g carbohydrates, 8 g fiber, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 198 mg sodium