Mujadara over flatbread? What’s not to love?
Mujadara over flatbread is healthy comfort food. The quick red lentil with bulgur cook-up uses 4 simple ingredients and 4 everyday spices to create a hearty one-pot meal. Top this off with a vinaigrette of lemon juice and fresh herbs. So quick and easy is this dish that you’ll have plenty of time to make 3-ingredient sweet potato flatbread.
What is bulgur?
Bulgur or bulgur wheat is a whole wheat grain that has been cracked and comes in the bag partially pre-cooked and dried. This is what makes bulgur such a quick cook (15 minutes usually). Bulgur nutrient dense which means you get a lot of nutrition for your calorie buck. This has much to do with the high fiber content and B vitamins and iron it those nutty kernels. Sorry, gluten free folks, this isn’t that.
Are red lentils and split red lentils the same thing?
Because I wanted the convenience of tossing red lentils and bulgur in the pot together, I used split red lentils. When you buy red lentils, you may notice that there appear to be two kinds – whole and split. There’s a slight differences when it comes to red lentils. Most red lentils you’ll find on the shelf are skinless. If they aren’t, they will not be very ‘red’ (the skin is masking their true color).
The important difference
The big difference between whole and split is the cooking times. Split will cook up in 15 minutes, whereas the whole can take up to 30. Split lentils will also get a bit ‘musher’ and a creamier texture, while whole will retain more of a round appearance.
There are many varieties of Mujadara throughout the Middle East. They all use some type of lentils and a grain. The one common feature are onions – a lot of onions. Deep, dark, rich caramelized onions add a complex flavor profile even without the additional spices my recipe adds.
Oil free cooking
As with all my recipes, Lebanese red lentils with bulgur live in the oil free zone, so when you brown your onions, you need to keep them moving a all times and keep a bit of veggie broth or water close at hand in case they really start to stick. We will take full advantage of their flavor by browning them in the same pot we will cook the dish in and deglazing the pot with broth before we add the garlic, spices and the rest of the ingredients.
Sweet potato flatbread
When I discovered a simple recipe for flatbread using mashed sweet potatoes, flour, baking powder and a bit of salt, I knew I’d be using it often. In fact, it’s the same recipe I use for Greek flatbread pizzas and regular pizzas too. It’s also the perfect healthy dipper for hummus.
Sweet potato flatbread is too easy to pass up and you get the added benefit of quality control. Nothing added that you can’t pronounce. Use any flour you have on hand, although if you use chickpea flour, know that gets really sticky and requires a lot of extra flour. If you go in that direction, be prepared.
Any size, any shape
Start with 2 medium sweet potatoes and you should end up with about 1 ½ cups mashed. It will all even out once you add the flour. Your yield will depend on thickness and size. On the side, thinner is probably better. I decided to make them into a sturdy base to hold the red lentils with bulgur which is why I made 4 fairly thick portions. I also formed them with a bit of dish in the center just to hold everything. Shape them to serve your purpose.
Thickness is the determining factor for flatbread baking time, but it’s surprisingly not so significant. As long as you start with a preheat oven, times may vary by a few minutes. My test is that I can get a spatula gently underneath to flip them. If they are too sticky, they aren’t ready. Once you flip them, they will brown up quickly.
Mujadara over flatbread is a great pile on that is full of flavor and texture. Adding a bit of fresh lemon-herb vinaigrette is just the top off that gives it a final flavor punch. I combined lemon juice and garlic with fresh mint and parsley. If you don’t have the fresh herbs, a squeeze of lemon over the top would also be good. Another option is using just mint or just parsley or substituting cilantro (coriander). The latter will give you a different flavor profile, but hey, it’s your dish.
Yes, the whole is bigger
Mujadara with flatbread is a great example of how cooking a few simple ingredients and spices can come together and be something much greater than the sum of each on its own. Don’t fret if you end up with leftover Mujadara and no flatbread. Tomorrow’s lunch at the ready. You won’t be disappointed.
Aristotle believed that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. That’s more often the case with cooking. The good news is that don’t need a big list of parts to discover new flavor profiles, textures and food experiences. Having it all, might be as simple as putting something you love on a flatbread or adding just one new ingredient or spice. Each part contributes to the whole. Each part has a role to play and no matter how subtle the whole won’t be the same without it. Peace.Print
Pile Lebanese Mujadara over flatbread with split red lentils, bulgur and caramelized onions with baked sweet potato flatbread and lemon-herb vinaigrette.
- 4 medium onions, cut in half and thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp allspice
- 1 tsp paprika (smoked or sweet)
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup red lentils, rinsed (I used split. If you use whole, you’ll want to add them earlier than the bulgur)
- 1 cup bulgur, rinsed
- 2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 ½ cups mashed)
- 2 cups flour + more if needed (we like whole wheat, but use what you have)
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2/3 cup lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic pressed
- 1/3 cup chopped mint
- 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Timing tip: Start by boiling the sweet potatoes. You can caramelize the onions while they boil and make the flatbread while the lentils and bulgur cooks.
- Heat a medium to large soup pot over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced onions. Sauté the onions until they turn golden to dark brown (about 10 minutes). Keep them moving and add water a tablespoon at a time if they start to stick too much to the bottom of the pan.
- Once the onions are golden, deglaze the pot by adding ¼ cup of broth. Give it a few stirs to gather up all the sweet caramelized bits at the bottom.
- Add the garlic, 1 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. paprika, ½ tsp. cinnamon and ½ tsp. allspice. Stir to coat the onions and cook the garlic for 1 minute.
- Add the remaining broth, lentils and bulgur.
- Bring the pot to a low boil and then lower the heat to simmer. Cook until the lentils and bulgur are tender (about 15 minutes).
- Peel and cube the sweet potatoes, add them to a medium pot and cover them with enough water that there are several inches at the top. Bring the pot to a rolling bowl and cook the sweet potatoes until they are very tender when pierced with a fork (15-20 minutes).
- In a medium mixing bowl. Add 2 cups of flour, 1 tsp. baking powder and 1 tsp. salt. Set aside.
- When the sweet potatoes are done, drain them and then rinse with cold water. Once they are cool, mash them.
- Add the sweet potatoes to the flour mixture and mix with a spoon until a dough begins to form. Using your hands, mix in more flour (if needed) until you have a dough that will hold together to form a ball and doesn’t completely stick to your hands.
- Divide the dough to form 4 equal balls and press to make thick flatbread. Note – the size and number of flatbread is entirely your decision here. Thinner flatbread will take less time in the oven.
- Preheat the oven to 4250 F (2200C). Place the flatbread on a non-stick baking sheet or line with parchment paper (alternatively, use a pizza stone).
- Bake the flatbread in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes or until they start to brown slightly, flip and bake for another 5-10 minutes until brown.
- In a small bowl or jar, mix the lemon juice, garlic and chopped mint and parsley.
To serve, pile Mujadara on each flatbread. Top with the vinaigrette right before serving or put it on the table so everyone can serve themselves.
- If you use whole red lentils rather than split, add them to the onions and broth and cook them for 15 minutes before adding the bulgur and simmering for another 15 minutes until tender.
- Additional flatbread toppings could include diced tomatoes or avocadoes. Both go well here.
- After you caramelize the onions, you can also remove a few to add as a topping. If you want to keep them warm, wrap them in foil and add them to the oven along with the flatbread.
- There are several versions of Mujadara including using brown or green lentils and rice. If you decide on this option, consider the cooking times as these ingredients will require a bit longer.
- You will likely have some Mujadara leftover. This makes a wonderful lunch (absent flatbread). Just reheat and add leftover vinaigrette or squeeze lemon juice and tote it in an airtight container for reheating on the go.
- Category: Main Courses
- Cuisine: Lebanese
Keywords: Mujadara over flatbread