Spring Quinoa Mujadara with Asparagus

This version of an authentic Lebonese mujadara recipe uses quinoa instead of rice, crispy shallots instead of onion, and roasted asparagus. It's quick and easy--the technique adapted from this New York Times recipe. And is a healthy veg-centric whole grain take on the original dish!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown or green lentils
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • Sea salt
  • Olive oil
  • 4 shallots thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ¾ cup quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ cup mixed chopped herbs (parsley, chives, cilantro, mint), optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place the lentils in a bowl and cover with room temperature water by 1 inch.
  3. Remove the woody part of the asparagus by gently holding both ends and snapping the stalk in half. The spears have a natural breaking point and you’ll be able to tell where it is (about ¾ of the way down). Save those woody stalks for another use (like a stock!).
  4. Cut the trimmed asparagus into 1-inch pieces. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, combine the asparagus with 1 teaspoon olive oil and ½ teaspoon salt. Roast in the oven until browned and caramelized, about 20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium Dutch oven or lidded saucepan. Sauté the shallots over medium-high heat until crispy and browned, about 7 minutes. Remove half of the shallot mixture to a bowl.
  6. To the pot, add the garlic, cumin, cayenne, and cinnamon stick. Cook for another minute until fragrant. Stir in the quinoa and cook one minute more.
  7. Drain the lentils and add to the quinoa along with 3 cups water and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook until the lentils and quinoa are tender, 15 minutes. If there’s excess water, remove the lid and return the heat to high until the moisture has burnt off. Remove from the heat and discard the cinnamon stick.
  8. Stir in the lemon juice and half the asparagus and herbs. Transfer to a serving platter and top with the remaining asparagus, crispy shallots and herbs. For a main course, add a fried egg!

Recipe Notes

To make this recipe with regular rice, increase the water to 4 cups.

If you make this, tag @phoebelapine and #feedmephoebe - I'd love to see it!