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Gluten-free, dairy-free mujaddara recipe from FrannyCakes

Gluten-free mujaddara and a gluten-dairy-meat free challenge

You might have seen a few tweets about me radically changing my diet. I decided to participate in Yum Universe’s 30 day plant-based diet challenge.

I know when it happened, and I know how it happened. But it doesn’t mean that I am ok with letting things stay on their current path.


Five years ago, I was in a car accident and they thought I wouldn’t be able to walk. To prove them wrong I worked my way to running four miles a day and lost 125 pounds. Four years ago, I injured my knee while running a 5k. Three years ago, I was diagnosed with CRPS and was down to 3, 45 minute workouts a week. Two years ago, I decided to have a spinal cord stimulator implanted and gave up running, jumping and anything impactful. A year ago, I gave up on my body ever looking the way it did and I worked my way through enough cupcake therapy to satisfy me for 30 years.

In the past year and a half, I have been self-medicating with butter and sugar. Sure, I had good reason. My body doesn’t work right anymore. I couldn’t push it like I used to. At some point, I made the decision to stop caring about what I ate.


A month ago, I started seeing a new primary care doctor and for the first time in 2 years I was forced to know how much I weighed. I went and bought jeans last week in a size I hadn’t needed in three years. It was painfully obvious to me that I needed to start paying attention again.

(Don’t worry, this is not the end of cupcakes and cakes with real butter and eggs, this is a pause to reset my system and help break some bad habits).

So, when Yum Universe (a blog I discovered when we were both featured on Refinery29 a couple weeks ago) announced their #YU30 Fall Plant-Based Diet Challenge, I decided to jump in. So, for the next 30 days, I am eating gluten, dairy and meat free. I am hoping this helps address some of the vitamin deficiencies that popped up in my last round of blood work. I am hoping that a diet with significantly less inflammatory foods helps reduce some of the CRPS pain. But most of all, I am hoping it helps break me of my junk food habit. I want cupcakes to be a treat again, not a three day a week habit. It is time for fruity pebbles to not be my breakfast of choice.

So, let’s kick this off with one of my all time favorite naturally gluten-free, vegan dishes.

Gluten-free mujaddara recipe from FrannyCakes

An easy to make weeknight dinner that makes great leftovers for work lunches, Mujaddara is the best kind of comfort food. The spices and flavors warm you up from the inside. Rice and lentils are inexpensive pantry staples. It does’t take a whole lot of babysitting the stove and there is no gluten anywhere to be found.

gluten-free mujaddara from frannycakes

Mujaddara is an Arab dish, and it refers to rice and lentils cooked together and topped with sautéed or fried onions. The spices vary depending on who is cooking for you, but typical spices include cumin and coriander and you will often find it topped with yogurt.

Gluten-free Mujaddara
Recipe Type: Entree
Cuisine: Arabic
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Serves: 4
This recipe is adapted from the first copy of Jamie Magazine that I ever bought, and might very well be a big part of why I love Jamie Oliver and just about every recipe he (and his staff) create. It is simple, inexpensive and delicious (and fairly healthy!).
  • 120 grams (1 cup) green lentils
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 120 grams (1 cup) basmati rice
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • Sea Salt
  • Oil, for frying (vegetable, canola, safflower – whatever you have on hand is fine)
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  1. Rinse the lentils in cold water and place in a medium sauce pan and cover with water and add a generous pinch of salt (like you would add for pasta). Bring the water to a boil, and then reduce it to a simmer for about 20 minutes. You want the lentils to be cooked, but still have a little bite.
  2. While the lentils cook, rinse and drain the rice.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven or other similar pan and add the spices. Cook them for about 30 seconds or so – you want them to become fragrant. Add the rice and stir to make sure it is coated in the spice mixture. Pour the water over the rice and stir. Turn the heat to low and cook, covered for 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes – don’t take off the cover until after the 5 minutes are over. Fluff with a fork.
  4. While your rice and lentils are cooking, you are going to start frying your onions. In a small frying pan, add enough oil to fill the pan about 1/2. Get the oil good and hot (stick a bamboo skewer in it and if bubbles form rapidly around the base, you know your oil is hot enough), and fry the onions. You may need to do it in 2-3 batches, but each one only cooks for about 2 minutes. Set them on a plate covered in a paper towel to drain when they are done.
  5. When all of your components are cooked, add the lentils and half the fried onions to the rice. Add salt to taste.
  6. Serve with yogurt or cashew cream and top with the remaining fried onions.


We are all stories in the end, so make it a good one, eh? - Quote from Doctor Who

Hello 2013. I’m glad you made it. I have big plans for you. Now let’s have soup.

It’s a new year. A clean slate.

So, eyes front soldier.

I can tell you what there will not be. In my life or on this site. There will be no checking over my shoulder to see what I should have done. No looking in the mirror and wondering why. No questioning my choices. No, as MammaCakes woud say, should-a, would-a, could-a ‘s. It’s all about the path ahead. It is time to look forward. To think about where I am going.

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Spaetzle with Lentils

Spaetzle mit Linsen

Spaetzle and lentils in a white bowlI have been fascinated by spaetzle since my mom made with with a nifty device perched on a pot of boiling water. If you have never had spaetzle, you are living a life of deprivation. They are what I might consider a perfect food. Tender, noodly, carby goodness. And they go with everything. You can eat them with cheese (Kasespaetzle). You can eat them with schnitzle. You can eat them with a brat. Or, you can eat them all alone, pan fried with some herbs and salt.

Today, as this is a meatless Monday post, I am eating my spaetzle with lentils. Red lentils to be exact. Most of the recipes I saw on the internet called for brown lentils – but I think brown lentils are ugly. And, in my kitchen are red lentils.  This dinner includes the use of one of the few processed foods that I keep around – bouillon. You can use bouillon cubes or stock, but your water needs to be seasoned, or the lentils will taste flat.

Spaetzle with Linsen
#ratingval# from #reviews# reviews
Recipe Type: Entree
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Serves: 2
Gluten free German dumplings with a lentil stew and crispy shallots, sage and brown butter.
  • 1 cup gluten free flour blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon xantham gum (if not in your mix)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/8 cup milk
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 cups stock or water and a bouillon cube
  • 1 tablespoon sage
  • 2 shallots
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  1. Whisk flour and xantham gum together.
  2. Make a well in the flour and crack eggs into it.
  3. Pour in milk and mix.
  4. Cover and put in the fridge for an hour or overnight.
  5. When it is time to cook, cook the lentils in the stock as directed on the package. It should be thick, but still liquid. The lentils should have started to break down but should not be completely disintegrated.
  6. Now, if you don’t have a spaetzle maker use a colander and a spatula to push the batter through the holes into a pot of boiling water. Boil the dumplings in batches.
  7. Once the spaetzle is cooked, fry the sage and shallots in the butter.
  8. Remove the sage and shallots from the frying pan and drain the butter.
  9. Sautee the spaetzle in the greased frying pan.
  10. Top with cooked lentils, a drizzle of the browned butter and fried sage and crispy shallots.
Google Recipe View Microformatting by Easy Recipe

This actually made 3 servings for me, but I eat small, measured portions.

Sloppy Janes

Sloppy Janes - A vegetarian Sloppy Joe
Sloppy joes have been a part of my life since I was a little kid. Mom would make them for an easy dinner when our schedules got crazy as kids. She started making them with ground turkey when we decided as a family that we shouldn’t eat so much red meat. When I told her I was going to make Sloppy Joes with lentils, she thought I was crazy – there was some audible skepticism in her voice when I talked to her this afternoon. Now, I dare her to make these and see how right I was.

Some googling showed me that this is not an original idea – but lacking a car to go grocery shopping, I used ingredients that I have talked Paul into keeping in his kitchen. These make use of some pre-made rubs & sauces, but the end result is delicious.

I served them on Against The Grain’s gluten free pumpernickel buns.

Sloppy Janes

  • 1 c Lentils
  • 4 c water
  • 2 T steak seasoning/barbecue rub (I used the steak house rub from Williams Sonoma)
  • 4T tomato paste (buy this in a tube – that way you won’t waste half a can when you make this)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 1/2t minced garlic from a jar)
  • 1 c Sweet Baby Rays Barbecue sauce
  • 1 1/2 c water
  • 2 T olive oil

Cook the lentils in 4 c of the water until al dente (they don’t have to be all the way cooked). Drain and set aside. Put olive oil in a dutch oven or sauce pan. Saute onions, garlic & rub until onions are translucent and fragrant. Add tomato paste & 1 1/2 cups water and the barbecue sauce to the onions & garlic. Cook sauce on medium heat until it begins to thicken (about 15 mins). Add lentils and cook until the lentils are cooked through and the sauce is the desired consistency. If it is too thick, you can always add a little water.