We have a long standing joke at our place: "when funds get low in the bank, it's all right—we'll just eat rice and lentils!"
The comical part of this is that we've never made good on that threat to ourselves. We usually end up eating pasta instead.
Rewind to an evening eating out at Sultan's Market on North Avenue (just west of Damen). We ordered our usual falafel pitas, spicy and complete with Jerusalem salad and hummus. On this night of nights, however, we branched out and got (gasp!) a side dish: rice and lentils. It was delicious.
So I finally made this at home, and am kicking myself for not attempting this alchemy sooner.
2 cups cooked lentils, the brown or green kind. I usually cook an entire pound and freeze in 2-cup portions.
2 cups of dry white long grain rice, cooked according to package directions,
adding 1 vegetarian or no-MSG bouillon cube (I used beef flavored) and 1 tsp cumin.
2-3 sweet onions, sliced into rings and cooked in a skillet until brown and carmelized in plenty of olive oil. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and black pepper. This part might take 20+ minutes.
good, thick Greek yogurt.
When all of the above are ready to eat, assemble this way:
Mix together the rice and lentils. Stir in half the fried onions. Spoon into bowls, and top with remaining fried onions and yogurt.
Yes, it really is that easy.
Some variations: bulgar can be used instead of rice, and sour cream instead of yogurt. You could also add garlic, curry powder, or whatever else feels right.