Thursday, July 19, 2012

Laura's Brown Rice and Lentil Salad with Caramelized Onions

At a recent summer soiree, my friend Laura brought an exotic-tasting salad to the party buffet. It had nubby brown rice, lentils and a blend of mellow, earthy flavors that sent me pestering her for the recipe. The special secret ingredient that knit everything together was a pair of slowly caramelized onions.

I made up another batch of this great side dish for my family last week and it was perfect for the sweltering temperatures we've been having. With a simple dressing of balsamic vinegar, spices and herbs, there's no risk of spoilage in the heat, making it a terrific addition for hot weather dining.

I didn't have green lentils on hand, just the cute little orange ones that turn to mush when you cook them, so I rooted around my cupboards and came up with a forgotten bag of horse gram, a legume closely related to the lentil, which is a staple in some southern Indian cooking traditions. A lentil will take much less cooking time than the horse gram, which I cooked before adding to my salad, in a pot of boiling salted water for 30 minutes.

Here's Laura's recipe for:

Brown Rice and Lentil Salad with Caramelized Onions

2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
3 Tbsp. butter

2 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup brown lentils, cooked
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. paprika
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepepr to taste

Melt butter in a frying pan. Add onions, and cook slowly, over low heat, until they are soft, golden and caramelized, about 20-25 minutes.

Mix all ingredients together in a serving bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 6-8.  Double this batch to bring to a party. Serve warm or at room temperature to let flavors mellow.

I am sending over a virtual plate of this awesome summer salad to No Croutons Required, a monthly vegetarian recipe challenge alternately hosted by Tinned Tomatoes and Lisa's Kitchen. The challenge this month is for a soup or salad that is suited for hot summer weather, so Laura's recipe is a stellar fit!


Lisa said...

Such a lovely summer dish. Thanks for entering NCR this month.

janet @ the taste space said...

This reminds me of mujaddara but I love how you added balsamic to it. Caramelized onions bring even the homeliest of dishes to the next level. Can't wait to try this!

Debra Eliot said...

It is official. I am on the end of summer salad kick so your recipe looks intriguing to me. Love the caramelized onions in this dish!

Anonymous said...

Cinnamon, really? A whole teaspoon? Please tell me it's okay if I leave it out. I don't do well with cinnamon in most savory dishes. Your thoughts?

Rachel said...

Dear Anonymous:

Yes, 1 tsp. cinnamon. If it doesn't agree with you, you might want to substitute another perfumey spice, like ginger or cardamom, or leave it out altogether.


موسوعة الطبخ said...

thank you so much

holtight said...

Terrific site with so much helpful information and delicious recipes. As gluten-free follower am always on the hunt for new a creative ways for healthy eating. Thanks for this blog.