Brown Rice and Lentil Bake with Caramelized Onions
Usually, when it comes to cooking, I rarely plan ahead. That’s not a thing I’m proud of, as planning your meals ahead is the best way to save time and extra effort in the kitchen. The only thing I do that fits into the plan ahead sort of thing, is that everytime I cook beans or brown rice, I make sure I have leftovers. That way, I can throw the cooked beans and/or rice in the freezer and use it for another meals, or refrigerate them and use it that very same week in other preparations.
Last weekend, I’ve made a beetroot and brown rice salad (I’ll be soon posting the recipe), and got more leftovers of brown rice than I thought. Since then, I’ve used them in two different preparations and still have leftovers. One of those preparations wasn’t well succeeded: it was an attempt to make brown rice and spinach burgers, that although have turned ok in terms of structure, didn’t deliver in the taste department. Apart from this not very well succeeded burgers, I’ve made a brown rice and lentil bake, and that’s what I thought sharing today. It’s an easy, tasty and very versatile recipe: if you don’t have brown rice on hand, I’m almost sure you can substitute it for regular rice. On the other hand, and although I served this more as a sandwich, with caramelized onions in between two slices of the bake, I’m sure you can come up with more ideas. For instance, next time around I’m thinking of serving this alongside some stewed or pan fried veggies with a spoonful of tapenade on top, to make it more of a complete, nutritionally balanced main course.
Brown Rice and Lentil Bake
1 cup ( 170 grams) red lentils
2 garlic cloves
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups (400 ml) light stock
½ finely cut red chili pepper
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 and 1/3 cups (190 grams) cooked brown rice
for the caramelized onions:
2 large white or red onions, thinly sliced into rounds
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
a pinch of salt
1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Line a 20 x 20 centimeters baking dish with parchment paper, and brush it with olive oil.
2. Heat a pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil, red chili and thyme and fry for 1 to 2 minutes.
3. Wash the lentils under cold running water. Add the lentils to the pan, as well as the stock, and cook, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes. Season with the salt and black pepper.
4. Mix the brown rice with the lentils and put everything on the prepared baking pan. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges.
5. For the caramelized onions, heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and sliced onions, and cook for 15 minutes, or until the onion starts caramelizing and browning a bit. On the last minute of cooking, add the balsamic vinegar and salt and stir well to incorporate.
6. Serve the caramelized onions in between two slices of the brown rice and lentil bake.