Rice is a grain, lentils a legume. Combine the two and you have a perfect source of vegetarian protein. Of course, you don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy the wholesome, tasty richness of this healthy duo.
Yield: 4 Servings
a splash olive oil
1 large onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup brown rice
1 cup dried lentils
4 cups chicken broth or water
a bay leaf or two
a sprinkle or two sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Splash the olive oil into a small pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for a few minutes until they just start to turn golden brown.
Add the rice, lentils, chicken broth (or water), bay leaves and salt and pepper. Bring everything to a simmer. Cover and reduce the heat to low, just enough to maintain the simmer. Continue cooking until the rice and lentils are tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 45 minutes.
Turn off the heat and let stand for a few minutes before serving.
You may add any fresh or dried herbs you like to this dish. Rosemary, thyme and tarragon all work well. At the last second, you may also add 1/2 cup (125 mL) or so of raisins or some sliced green onions.
This is one of my favourite variations on a classic rice pilaf. It's spiced up with vibrant curry, colourful saffron, and succulent sweet potatoes which, ounce for ounce, are one of the most nutritionally dense vegetables readily available.
For a meal befitting of the lords and ladies in your life, pack this fragrant rice into small bowls and ramekins, then inverse onto the serving plates. Top with a sprig or two cilantro before surrounding the rice with some sautéed shrimp or steamed mussels.