I have been on quite a lentil kick lately.  First there was palak daal, then lentils with bacon and now mujaddara.

Mujadarra is a lentil dish with rice (or wheat) and cooked onions that is often found in many Levantine cuisines. I have always loved the flavors of Lebanese (and it’s neighbor’s) cooking, and after a two-part trip to Beirut courtesy of No Reservations and Netflix, I couldn’t get that food out of my head.

mujadarra and spiced yogurt ingredients

So I decided I would make Smitten Kitchen’s Lebanese-style stuffed eggplant which I first recalled eyeing way back when, but then the sun came out and it seemed a bit heavy.

The ground lamb could easily become lamb meatballs and a mujadarra that I spotted on Food 52 seemed to be the perfect compliment. Bonus that the spiced yogurt from the lentil dish would also work with the meatballs. Perfect!


This was my first time making mujadarra, but it will definitely become a regular addition to meals around here.

Man, I forgot how good jasmine rice is!  Thankfully the lentils upped the ‘health’ ante, so I didn’t feel too bad about having a big heaping of white rice.  And with the charred onions, yes please!

Mujadarra components

As for the spiced yogurt, I didn’t have fresh cumin or any coriander, nor spiced paprika, so I added a pinch of cayenne to regular paprika, went with ground cumin and threw in some sumac, which is often found in Middle Eastern dishes.  To be honest, it was a teeny-bit gritty, almost like the ratio of spices was too heavy, but I think freshly ground could’ve eliminated that, and maybe the sumac wan’t really needed.  So all that means is the original recipe I gather was better than my substitutions.:)

I have been trying to add to my spice cupboard, so I am excited to try it next time with my new aleppo pepper.

Making mint spiced yogurt

A quick side note about the meatballs, (since they are showing up in the pics) I usually bake them, but the rice was in the oven and so I switched to stove-top. Traditionally meatballs this way require a good bit of oil, but I went with a non-stick pan and didn’t need any additional oil and they still got a nice crispy crust.

I realize I am a bit late to the non-stick train, and they are almost out-of-fashion, but I think they really can be great, at least on occasion.

Mujadarra & Lamb Meatball Dinner

Mujadarra & Lamb Meatball Dinner - YUM!

So now that January is coming to an end, lentils might not make such a regular appearance, as I am starting to itch for springy foods, but then again, these recipes have been so good, I may just keep them when things start to heat up.  But who am I kidding, San Francisco never really ‘heats up,’ so no need to keep these as wintery meals.

For a link to the recipe click HERE or above in the text.  Let me know what you think.

Also, those of you in the Bay Area, if you have any good recs for Lebanese (or the like) restaurants, please, please let me know – I am always on the hunt for a good spot.

Oh – and because I LOVE knowing these things, on occasion, I figured I would start including info on dishes (the actual plates, bowls and the like).