There is a cafe on the main floor of the building I work in. It is owned and operated by a delightful Middle Eastern Family. During my first week on the job my co-worker told me that the Friday special of lentils & rice was a must try. I eyed it for a few weeks as she ate it for lunch a few Fridays in a row. It was unbecoming shades beige and brown and slathered in carmelized onions, which I don’t enjoy. I’m not sure why, but one Friday I finally decided to try it. After devoting a good 15 minutes to picking all of the onions off of it, I tasted it.
How could this brown pile of grains and legumes be so flavor filled?! I continued to get this amazing special each Friday for the longest time. Always minus the onions from then on out (the caramelized onion flavor was still there, just not the slimey little buggers themselves). Why it didn’t occur to me to make this at home sooner is beyond me.
I altered my version to go without the onion layer and instead of rice I used bulgar wheat, which is another traditional way this dish is prepared. Bulgar wheat has fewer calories, less fat, and more than twice the fiber of brown rice. Easy choice! This dish makes a superb 21 Day Fix vegetarian main course!
“Bulgar wheat has fewer calories, less fat, and more than twice the fiber of brown rice”
While there are a lot of savory and aromatic herbs and flavors in this dish, I am still not sure how it packs so much flavor. It’s a mystery I’m OK with having no answers to. Oh and I can’t forget to mention the Tomato & Cucumber salad that goes along with this! So simple yet, again, so much flavor! It’s served cold on top of the warm lentils and give it a perfect compliment to the nutty and savory flavors.
21 Day Fix Container Values:
Red: 1 (lentils)
yellow: 1 1/2 (bulgar wheat)
purple: 1/2 (tomatos)
green: 1/3 (cucumbers)
Personal Preference Disclaimer: I’d like to add that I do not cook 21 Day Fix recipes incredibly militantly. If you’re not a vegetarian/vegan, lentils will be a yellow for you. I use them as a red. I also do not count broths but some consider them a yellow for some reason.
Serves 5 servings
50 minCook Time
50 minTotal Time
- 1 cup dry lentils
- 3 cups veggie broth
- 1 cup bulgar wheat
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, finely diced
- 2 tsp garlic, minced
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- pinch nutmeg
- pinch allspice
- 3 roma tomatoes, diced
- 2 cucumbers, diced (do not peel)
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- In a medium pot, combine the lentils and broth.
- Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer until lentils are still firm and almost done, about 15 to 18 minutes.
- Add the bulgur wheat and 1/4 teaspoon salt, stir then cover and remove from the heat.
- Let sit until the the water is absorbed by the bulgar, about 20 to 25 minutes.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the onions and cook until very soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, cumin, cinnamon, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, nutmeg, and allspice. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add the lentil and bulgur wheat mixture and stir well to combine.
- To make the salad:
- Mix all salad ingredients together.
- Divide lentil & bulgar into 5 equal servings and top with cold salad.