RECIPE. Mar 4, 2011

Caramelized Onion, Lentil and Rice

I believe caramelized onions are natures real candy. Like an onion ring without all the fried batter to induce guilt. Onions and I were not friend, in fact we were sworn enemies, while I was growing up. The taste to powerful, smelly and overwhelming to enjoy. Not to mention the breath that wouldn’t quit. I felt no love loss and easily avoided this vegetable for the majority of my childhood. When I grew up and began cooking I got curious about the world caramel and onion being put in the same sentence. I happen to have a child like curiosity for the world and well, it got the best of me and I had to try it out.

All I have to say is thank goodness I am curious and open to new tastes. The overpowering taste of onion was tamed with salt, pepper and sweetness. When I learned how simple the process was, I began immediately incorporating this delight in many dishes. Panini’s, pizza’s and now, indian food.

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in 4 quart pot and add rice and lentils. Saute until nicely coated. Add bay leaf, water and 1 tsp of salt and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer 45 minutes, covered.

Heat remaining olive oil in skillet on medium to low heat. Add onions, bell pepper and 1 tsp salt and saute. When onions begin to soften, add garlic and spices. Cook until onions and pepper is golden and have begun to caramelize.

When all water is absorbed from rice and lentils, remove from heat and take out bay leaf. Serve rice and lentils topped with caramelized onions and peppers and dollop of yogurt. I used soy cream cheese as a dairy substitute because it is thick and hearty. Could also use daiya mozzarella cheese substitute.

This recipe is also perfect for making ahead of time. You could cook lentils and rice the night before or earlier in the day and then all you have to prepare is the onions and pepper. The whole dish could easily be prepared the night before or earlier in the day and reheated without any loss in taste.

For babies 10 months and older: Puree some of the lentil-rice mixture before adding onions and spices.