Tag Archives: lentils

Enjedra

Enjedra is a variation of mujaddara, a  popular Middle Eastern dish. While there may be subtle differences among various cuisines (it’s also known as moujadara, mejadra, mudardara, megadarra, Μουκ̌έντρα, müceddere, مجدرة‎, or מג’דרה, depending on where you are), but, as far as I can tell, they all boil down to the same thing: spiced rice and lentils with caramelized onions. Okay, I’ve got your attention now. Unless you left after the foreign language tutorial, that is.

While the classic mujaddara consists of whole lentils and brown rice tossed together, I’ve always made the lentils separately, as a sort of stew that’s served over brown rice. I usually pair my enjedra with steamed kale or spinach, so I like having a saucier lentil component with which I can drench the greens.

The great thing about this dish (besides the fact that it’s so forking delicious) is that you probably already have all the ingredients in your pantry. Lentils, onions, rice, olive oil, a few spices. If you call yourself a vegan and don’t have these ingredients on hand at all times, then you have bigger problems to worry about, and you should probably go deal with them. Just kidding! I’m not that mean.

The sweetness of the caramelized onions and cinnamon pair beautifully with the earthy lentils and cumin, creating a melt-in-your-mouth savory stew that will draw crowds–or in the case of my house, family members armed with spoons eating it cold out of the fridge.

Enjedra
(Adapted from VegWeb)
Serves 4

2 medium-large sweet onions
1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
1 cup brown rice
1 cup red lentils
2 cups water (you may need to add more as lentils cook)

Get your brown rice started (however you normally cook it). For newbies, add 1 cup of rice to 2 cups water.  Bring to boil.  Lower heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes.

Slice the onions. You can dice them if you want, but I like to have long caramelized pieces.

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan on medium-high, toss onions into the  pan with cumin, cinnamon, allspice, and salt (I know it seems like a lot of salt–and it is when it’s just onions–but remember that you’re seasoning for the entire pot of lentils!)

Sauté in olive oil until caramelized-ish, about 10-15 minutes.

Add lentils and water to the onion mixture.  Bring to boil.  Lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until lentils are cooked through, and you have yourself a big, smooshy pot of fragrant deliciousness. When stirred towards the end, the lentils should be fairly smooth.

If serving with greens, steam them now.

Top your rice with greens, and then pile on the lentils! Last but not least, come back here to thank me.

Sometimes, I double the batch because it’s so easy, and you’ll definitely want more when you’re finished. But don’t take my word for it! Go raid your pantry and amaze your loved ones.

Lemon Chickpea Lentil Soup

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Dreena Burton is the master–er, mistress–of vegan soups. You might not know it because she’s more commonly known for her hummus, which occupies an entire chapter of her newest book, Eat, Drink & Be Vegan; but believe me, she is. In fact, the three best soups I’ve ever had have come from that very book.

The first two–Puréed Spicy Sweet Potato & Peanut Stew with Chickpeas and White Bean Rosemary Soup–have made frequent appearances in my kitchen, especially during my cold winter abroad in Scotland! If you know anything about me, the first one really should not come as a surprise given that it’s basically my three favorite foods having a party.

My new Dreena favorite is a little humbler, but no less delicious: Lemon Chickpea Lentil Soup. It has a base of chickpeas, red lentils, zucchini, celery, and onions, all of which is puréed before additional chickpeas and fresh lemon juice are added. Garnished with additional lemon juice (I couldn’t get enough!) and parsley, you have yourself a little bowl of Mediterranean-inspired heaven.

This soup is hearty while still being light, thanks to the vibrant lemon and hidden vegetables. However, in 112° Arizona, it’s still a little hot for soup, no matter how light it is. I solved that problem by enjoying my mug of soup with a little bit of unsweetened Wildwood Probiotic Soyogurt. The cool tangy bite of the yogurt tempered the warmth of the soup just enough to make it refreshing after a long day of photography errands.

If you don’t own any of Dreena’s books, what are you waiting for? Insane vegan soup is just a click or two away (on Amazon, that is!). Or, check out some of the recipes she’s posted on her blog.

All-You-Can-Eathiopian

Truth: I kind of hate living in this part of California–in the endless sea of suburbia stretching out from the center of Los Angeles. Granted, the weather generally rocks, but I won’t be crushed in three months when it’s time to leave Claremont and start my life somewhere else. Nonetheless, as long as I am here, I sure as hell am going to hit up as many vegan restaurants in the city as I can.

This quest continued two weekends ago when my friends Stephanie and Tori and I almost effortlessly (Hey–have YOU tried driving on LA freeways?!) made our way into Little Ethiopia.

We were headed to Rahel Vegan Ethiopian Cuisine at the glowing recommendation of Quarry Girl. And we were happy we did!

Ethiopian. Good. Vegan Ethiopian. Very good. All-You Can-Eat Vegan Ethiopian for under seven dollars. Um, hello?!

For any of you who don’t know, Ethiopian food is by far the most fun cuisine to eat! It consists of various stews, a.k.a. wots, that you scoop up with pieces of injera, a spongy sourdough pancake-like bread made of fermented teff flour. No utensils are necessary. Isn’t that how we all really want to eat anyways?

My favorite wots are always the lentil ones. Rahel’s lentils weren’t as amazing as those at my local Tempe Ethiopian joint, Café Lalibela, but they did the trick. As you can see in the above photo, there were both red and yellow lentils, as well as cabbage and string beans dishes. Also, below: a carrot/potato stew, collards, and–my unexpected favorite–eggplant!

That green sauce was wayyy too spicy! But it sure was pretty.

Since the injera under our food got a bit soggy, we used additional rolls of it to scoop up the food as we ate, leaving a colorful collage at the end of our meal. I think it looks like a snowflake. An insanely delicious, savory snowflake.

I say no trip to LA is complete without a stop at Rahel. The service, atmosphere, prices, and food were all out of this world. Or at least this country. ;)

Sweet Potato Lentil Chili

What better way to ring in the new year than a giant pot of chili? It may seem random, but if you think about it, chili is hearty, warming, and perfect for sharing communally with all your friends and family.

That was my thinking when I made a triple recipe of Dreena’s Sweet Potato Lentil Chili from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan last Friday for our family’s all-day New Year’s open house.

This recipe’s been on my “to-make” list for ages, so I was glad that when I could finally make it, I could make it for 100 people!

Naturally, we have an insane amount of leftovers (even when I thought I’d finished them, my mom informed me that there’s more in the freezer…). As you can see, I’ve been enjoying them with TJ’s tortilla chips. This chili is chunky and perfect for dipping.

Dorm Room Dinners: Indian Feast

This is the first of a series of posts I’ll call “Dorm Room Dinners,” even though sometimes, it might be lunch. The point being to give you a look–or taste!–at how easy and delicious it is to be vegan, even on a dining hall meal plan in college. Sure, the quality’s not comparable to what you could produce living at home with your own kitchen (plus, I feel like, a year and a half into being vegan, my cooking skills have gotten to the point where I usually prefer my own handiwork to the meals I get–and pay more for–when I eat out anyways). Still, with a little creativity, dining hall food can be quite enjoyable.

Here’s a recent lunch from Pomona’s dining hall, Frary (it’s our “Harry Potter” dining hall…see for yourself!)

I got some Indian-spiced mixed vegetables (cauliflower, celery, carrots, potatoes, green beans, and onions) and stewed lentils from the regular buffet line, and steamed asparagus from the “Farm to Fork” vegetarian/vegan section. I brought them back to my dorm room in my reusable plastic take-out box, and rounded out the meal with half a microwave-nuked sweet potato (I know, I know, but I don’t have an oven!), drizzled with coconut oil, cinnamon, and sea salt.

Life could be worse.

Let Live (and Let Eat?)

So, you may have noticed I’ve been MIA the past week or so. I started out in Portland, where I visited my uncles and attended the Let Live Animal Rights Conference. I then headed over to NYC to meet up with my (vegan) best friend, Jo, and then both of us took a bus up to my grandma’s beach house in Long Beach Island, NJ where we spent a few days before heading back to the city to meet my other best friend and my awesome aunt and uncle for 4th of July festivities!

The Let Live conference was great! It was a little scary just showing up there not knowing anyone (because it seemed like most of the attendees already knew each other from Portland activism), especially since I can be kind of shy around new people, but I ended up meeting a lot of awesome vegans–Evan from bjorkedoff, Michelle from Herbivore Clothing, the owners of Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe (from whom I’ve had the pleasure of buying Sweet & Sara Smores in the past), Lyndsay from VegNews, and best of all, Isa Moskowitz, vegan goddess of all things brunch, and, well, edible!–so it was okay!

The wonderful author of Vegan with a Vengeance, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, Veganomicon, Vegan Brunch, and soon-to-be Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar enlightening her fellow vegheads:

There were a ton of interesting workshops and lectures to choose from, but I did my best, and I think I got a good mix out of it: How to Reach Environmentalists, Student Activism, Online Social Networking as an Activist Tool, Write for the Animals: Changing Lives, One Word at a Time, Nickle and Dined (Isa’s talk about the misconception that veganism is eltitist and unaffordable), Stump the Vets (where experienced activists respond to often-heard jibes at veganism), Sanctuary Stories, and Moving Beyond Our Differences (within the AR movement). Being an Environmental Analysis major, the first workshop was the most enjoyable for me, as well as potentially useful given that I have so many fellow majors at my school who aren’t even vegetarian…

So much for the actual conference, onto the food!

A moon pie from Sweetpea Baking Company (they had a little stand in the ballroom lunch area at the conference!):

On Saturday my uncles and I went out for Indian food! Roasted Beet Salad with crispy chickpeas, toasted cardamon, and micro cilantro from Vindalho Spice Route Cuisine:

The chickpeas in this salad were amazing! They were baked so well, they were like crunchy nuts or something! I wonder if they just roasted them for a really long time? Hm, I’ll have to try to replicate that…

I also had Masala Channa Dal!

This was fancy Indian at its finest, folks! The latter dish was a nice change from the typical chickpea chana masala too (although that one will always be my favorite).

Okay, now prepare to be jealous. Very jealous. Like, maybe you should just click out now…No? Okay, well don’t say I didn’t warn you. All-you-can-eat vegan brunch at Sweetpea on Sunday!

Tofu scramble, seitan and gravy (there were biscuits too, btu I opted out), tater tots, and kale (because we need to keep up the uber-healthy hippie pretense…okay, maybe it’s not a pretense). Oh, and delicious Stumptown coffee with agave and rice milk!

And I know you were all a little worried that I–or anyone–could have a solely savory brunch, but fear not! Pumpkin-Cranberry Trifle! Mmmmmmm.

Hey, where’d it go? Another good question might be, “Which of the 2 or 3 plates I had is this?” ;)

I also had a wonderful PB Milkshake from Sip (who also had a conference booth), as well as a small Mexican lunch feast from one of the local vegan food carts (I forget which one!), but no pics! :( Sorry, they were both just kind of…brown…anyways. Haha.

NY and NJ food to come!