Lentil and Rice Pilaf. As a child in Syria, Sal Tompkins loved this meatless pilaf she calls Mjadara. Petite French green lentils (also called Le Puy) keep their shape better than brown ones.


1 cup hulled small French green or brown lentils (see note above), sorted of debris and rinsed
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups finely chopped onions
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 cup long-grain white rice
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon pepper


Prep and cook time: About 45 minutes
Yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings

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1. In a 3-quart pan over high heat, bring lentils and 2 1/2 cups water to a boil. Cover and simmer until tender to bite, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain.

2. Meanwhile, add oil, onions, and garlic to a 12-inch frying pan over medium heat; stir often until onions are golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Add rice, salt, cumin, and pepper; stir until rice looks opaque, about 3 minutes.

3. Stir in lentils and 2 more cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender to bite and liquid is absorbed, 13 to 15 minutes. Serve with yogurt sauce.