Disclosure: I received a copy of Hadia Lebanese Style Recipes as a gift; however, all opinions in this post are my own.
Middle Eastern Recipes: Lentils with Rice and Mediterranean style Vegetarian Green Beans are a delicious and healthy meatless meal (budget friendly too!)
For those of you who are new to my blog, my husband is half Lebanese. His grandmother emigrated to the United States from Lebanon through Mexico. She was an amazing cook and her children (my husband’s late father and his aunts) are also quite talented in the kitchen. I consider myself fortunate to have been to introduced to Arabic food by them.
[contextly_sidebar id=”2GBAbisctggWJ0i0ENnFBNmywghiWDYv”]My children have been eating Arabic food since they were babies. So naturally, when my friend Hadia offered to send me her cookbook, Hadia Lebanese Style Recipes, I was thrilled. Today, I am sharing a couple of her Middle Eastern recipes with her permission.
Hadia’s cookbook not only has the traditional Lebanese recipes that you expect to find in Arabic restaurants, but also a variety of recipes inspired by her travels around the world. She even includes helpful information on spices commonly used in Middle Eastern recipes, as well as how to properly set a dinner table. For someone who doesn’t entertain often (and usually by the pool when she does), it’s a nice reference to have on hand.
There are quite a few recipes in Hadia’s cookbook that I intend to try. I wanted to try the two I chose because they are both similar to Middle Eastern recipes that I make, and I enjoy trying new variations. I am so glad I did, because I found things about both versions that I loved. These are fantastic recipes! If you haven’t tried Arabic food, Hadia’s Middle Eastern recipes are an easy and delicious place to start. If you’re already a fan, then you’re going to LOVE this cookbook!
Middle Eastern Recipes: Lentils with Rice
- 1 cup brown lentisl
- 1¼ cups Arborio rice, soaked and drained
- ¾ cup canola oil
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 2 lbs 4 oz red onions, julienne
- a dash of cumin powder, optional
- 2 cups of water for the lentils
- 1¾ cups water for cooking rice and lentils together
- Visually inspect the lentils for any small stones. Rinse and place in pot. Add 2 cups of water to the pot, bring to a boil, cover and let it simmer over low heat for 30 minutes or until lentils are soft.
- Transfer lentils to a colander getting rid of the excess water.
- To caramelize the onions: In a wide thick-bottomed pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onions. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Reduce the temperature and continue to cook and scrape until the onions are rich brown in color. Remove the onions with a slotted spoon, and set the oil aside for later use.
- Cook the rice, boiled lentils, salt, cumin powder, and 1¾ cups of water on medium to high heat.
- Add ½ the quantity of oil used for caramelizing the onions to the pot of lentils and rice, and slowly stir the mixture.
- Cover the pan and cook over very low heat for 25-30 minutes.
- Transfer to a serving plate and garnish with the caramelized onions.
Lentils are a staple in our house…we eat them several times a month. My oldest son often requests them for dinner. How many non-vegetarian teenagers do you know that request lentils for dinner?!
Hadia uses caramelized onions in her recipe, which I have never done before. But since making this a few weeks ago, I have started to add them to my regular recipe…they really add another dimension of flavor.
Middle Eastern Recipes: Mediterranean Style Vegetarian Green Beans
- 1 lb 2 oz green beans
- 3 medium size onions, finely chopped
- 10 garlic cloves, peeled
- 6 medium size tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Dash of cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup canola or peanut oil
- Trim the ends of the green beans and cut each one into 2-3 pieces.
- Set the pot over medium heat, add the oils, and the onions and sauté to transparent.
- Add the green beans to the pot, and stir. Cook until the beans start wilting.
- Add the garlic cloves to the pot (you can divide them into halves). Mix with the onions and green beans. Reduce heat to low, cover the pot and simmer for 15 minutes or until the beans are cooked.
- Stir the vegetables every few minutes to avoid any sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning.
- Add the tomatoes, salt and cayenne pepper to the pot. Cover and let it simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes.
Hadia’s Mediterranean style green beans were also a huge hit…the slow cooking brings out such a delicious flavor. My kids have already requested them several times! I have to say they were simply amazing. This recipe is a definite keeper!
Whether you’re looking for a good Meatless Monday meal or you’re a vegetarian, I think you will find both of these dishes absolutely delicious! You can pick up a copy of Hadia’s cookbook, Hadia Lebanese style Recipes, on Amazon. It is packed with delicious Middle Eastern recipes, as well as countless others from her travels around the world that you are sure to love!
Be sure to check out Hadia’s blog, and follow her on her social media accounts as well!