Lebanese Lentils and Rice Pilaf

I love lentils! Whether yellow, red-orange, green, brown or black, they’re all delicious. Lentils are rich with proteins and make fantastic dishes from all around the world. Lebanese Mjadra, Indian Khichdi, Egyptian Kushari, Peruvian Tacu Tacu, Cuban Sopa de Lentejas, French Salade de Lentilles, mmmm… delectable flavor!

I know many of you are online every day eager to venture in new recipes, but sometimes it’s a good change to just cook a classic dish!

Few days ago, I cooked lentils and rice pilaf AKA Mdar-dara.

“To all my Lebanese friends, I know what you’re thinking, Mdar-dara!!! I must be out of my mind to share this recipe hahaha. It’s like teaching an American how to make a coleslaw salad”.

It took me back to a simpler time where pulses were almost part of any meal I eat. Scrumptious, with nothing fancy needed. All ingredients were readily available. My pantry is never out of lentils, rice or onions!

There’s so much flavor in this recipe, and it’s healthy! It’s frequently served with yogurt and a green salad. I sometimes crown it with caramelized onions instead of fried ones, because I love this sweet taste with yogurt.

This is a great recipe I know my kids will eat. It’s inexpensive, nutritious and easy to prepare.


Lebanese Lentils and Rice Pilaf


  • 1 cup dried brown lentils, sieved out, washed, rinsed
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp cumin (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive oil, to taste
  • Plain yogurt, to serve


1. In a frying pan heat 4 tablespoons of oil and sauté onions until soft and beginning to golden brown.

2. Transfer half of the onions to a large saucepan, add the lentils, 3 cups of water, salt and bring to boil. Cook for 15 minutes.

3. Stir in rice. Add 2 cups of water and season with spices.

4. Reduce heat. Cover and cook about 15 minutes longer or until liquid is absorbed and rice and lentils are tender.

5. Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil and top with the remaining onion.

6. Serve chilled plain yogurt on the side.


Broccoli and Cauliflower Gratin

Dad can combine any 3 vegetables to his delicious béchamel sauce and make a palatable gratin. The secret for a delightful gratin is fresh vegetables. Try always to choose fresh ingredients over frozen and use rich cheese on the top.

Before long kitchen became my place to unwind, I once bought a cooking book on vegetables and sampled few recipes. I fondly remember Serge eating my first gratin made with cauliflower and carrots! Gratifying!

Gratin is easy to make and my daughters Kaia and Axel love it. Fortunately, a way to make them eat their veggies;-)

Broccoli and cauliflower gratin


  • 250g (8oz) broccoli
  • 250g (8oz) cauliflower
  • 30g (1oz) butter
  • 30g (1oz) flour
  • 500ml milk (full fat or skimmed milk)
  • 50g (2oz) Gruyère, grated
  • 50g (2oz) Cheddar, grated
  • Parmesan, to taste
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pinch of grated nutmeg


1. Steam the broccoli and cauliflower until just tender.

2. To make the white sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes to make a smooth paste. Gradually pour in the milk, whisking constantly. Season it with salt, pepper and nutmeg. When the mixture begins to bubble and thicken, remove from heat.

3. Now coat an oven dish with a thin layer of the white sauce then arrange the vegetables in an oven dish and sprinkle with salt and parmesan cheese.

4. Top with the rest of the white sauce and cheeses. Bake at 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4) for 30mn.