One bite of these Middle Eastern Spiced Lentils & Yellow Rice and you just might jump for joy. This dish tastes insanely superb! The flavor just pops all over the place—spice, spice, spice. The lentils are boldly spiced with cumin, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. And the yellow rice? Spiced just as beautifully with turmeric, bay leaf, cinnamon, and cloves.
What enhances this dish even more is the luscious coconut milk and lots of raisins. Trust me on this! The coconut milk shines through amazingly for yet another layer of bold flavor. Mmm! And getting a plump, juicy raisin with every bit is seriously dynamite. They just explode with sweet goodness!
Cinnamon, allspice, cloves, coconut milk, and raisins—I know, I know… this sounds more like a dessert in the making. But, I promise you this dish is as savory as can be.
My mouth is positively watering and we haven’t even talked about the caramelized onions that go on top. Caramelized onions are delicious all on their own, but when you mix them in with these spiced lentils and rice…oh my, the whole thing is just over the top. I love how deeply caramelized onions just melt in your mouth. Does it get any better?
I’ll be honest, the raisins were a last minute addition to these spiced lentils. I kept tasting the dish as I went and all the warm spices just begged to be paired with raisins, so I went for it. Major thumbs up here! I even soaked a few more raisins to toss on top as a garnish. Best.decision.ever.
Life just wouldn’t be complete without talking about the spiced yellow rice that pairs so fabulously with the spiced lentils. First of all, the rice is a gorgeous yellow color thanks to the added turmeric. How cool is that? And the bay leaf, cinnamon, and cloves kick the rice up like 10 notches. I love jasmine rice as is, but this spiced yellow rice is a total winner. It’s very unlike me to eat just a few minutes before bed, but I tell ya…I definitely shoveled this rice straight from the container into my mouth just before bed last night. Say what? Yessss, it’s THAT good, friends.
Enough talking! Just go ahead and do the darn thing already. :)
- 1 tbsp. oil
- 1 large onion—finely chopped
- 10 cloves garlic—minced
- 1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 2½ tsp. cinnamon
- 2½ tsp. allspice
- ¼ tsp. ground cloves
- 7½ cups water
- 3 cups green lentils
- 2½ tsp. salt
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup water + more, if necessary
- 1 cup raisins + more (soaked in water, then drained), for serving
- 2 cups jasmine rice
- 3 cups water
- Cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. turmeric
- ¼ tsp. ground cloves
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp. oil
- 1 large onions—sliced thin
- Heat the oil in a large pot set over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until slightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 more minutes.
- Add the cumin, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Pour in the 7½ cups water and bring the water to a boil. Add the lentils and stir. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 18-20 minutes.
- Add the salt, coconut milk, remaining 1 cup of water, and raisins. Stir to incorporate and cook for 5-10 more minutes. Add more water for a thinner consistency, if you’d like ( you may need to adjust the seasonings if you do this).
- Add all of the ingredients (except for the butter) to a large pot and stir to combine. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat with the lid still on and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Pick out the bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Add the butter, fork fluff the rice, and set aside.
- To a medium-sized pot set over medium-low heat, add the oil and sliced onions and stir to combine. Cover and let cook for 25-30 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are deeply caramel-colored. Each time you lift the lid, let the water drip back into the pot to help keep the onions moist. As the onions caramelize, you’ll need to reduce the heat a little to prevent burning.
- Add some rice to each serving bowl, followed by a scoop or two of lentils. Top with caramelized onions and soaked raisins. Serve immediately.
Source: Adapted from Eat Your Greens