World Nutella Day is over people, let’s get back to reality. Slowly but surely. Let’s try not to make it too painful. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I like to have side dishes as a main course, a LOT. It might have to do with the fact that I don’t really cook a lot of meat for various reasons –the 5 pounds of beef stew currently sitting in my refrigerator would beg to differ, but I’ll get back to that.
So, side dished as a main course, where do you stand? I think it’s pretty great when the side dish in question involves a whole lot of fresh herbs, plus proteins from the lentils, plus carbs from the bulgur, plus taste from the cumin and fried onions. To me, this qualifies as a main dish. An upgraded version maybe, but I’d love to live in an upgraded world. Life can be rough in the middle of winter, so a little sample of Mediterranean food now and then brings a bit of sun to my heart. And since today I’m feeling particularly cheerful for a February 7th, let me bring a little sun to your heart too.
Green lentils with bulgur
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
- 1 1/4 cups green lentils, rinsed
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 3 3/4 cups vegetable broth (or water)
- 1 1/4 cups coarse bulgur, rinsed
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 3 tbsp olive oil + more to drizzle at the end
- 1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped (to serve)
- 1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped (to serve)
- 1/2 lemon (optional)
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add the lentils and cook for about 15 minutes, until tender but not mushy. Drain, rinse under cold water and set aside.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to color. Add the cumin and bulgur, stir to coat. Add the lentils and broth (or water). Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and place a clean kitchen towel over the pan, then cover with the lid. Let steam for 10 minutes without opening the lid. Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with fresh herbs, a drizzle of olive oil, and fresh lemon juice if you wish.
- Add the herbs at the last minute so they don’t wither.
- You can prepare the lentils and bulgur ahead and keep them refrigerated up until the point when you serve with herbs, oil and lemon (if using.)
Source: The illustrated food and cooking of Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, by Ghillie Basan.