Monday, March 8, 2010

Guest Post: Recipe: Bulgur and Lentil Pilaf with Caramelized Onions

Today's guest post comes from Sanaa Abourezk, a critically acclaimed chef, restaurateur, author and nutritionist. You can find more of her wonderful recipes and much more at!

Is it possible that the lowly bean might be the solution for our current epidemic of obesity? Tackling childhood obesity has become a virtual fad, as everyone, from local and state health officials, schools, medical communities, to the First Lady are thinking of ways to solve this insolvable problem. I cannot help but notice that no one is attacking the most important contributor to this problem--the lack of home cooking.

I can say with confidence that when kids began to eat most of their meals in cars on the way out of a drive-through, or on the run or heated by a microwave, their overweight problem started to increase. Have you noticed that when you go to any supermarket there are a couple of aisles for fresh produce, compared to 8-12 isles for packaged or canned food loaded with empty calories and endless chemical preservatives.

America needs to go back to cooking from scratch. This sounds like a simplistic solution, but cooking a meal from the beginning and eating with our kids around the dining room table, we would very quickly see an improved result.

Now for the beans. Cooking beans and eating vegetarian style is a very good and very healthy start in tackling overweight problems in America. Beans are full of protein, high fiber and they are filling. Beans are in-expensive, which helps with any family’s budget. They are good for the environment, no carbon print, and there is an endless variety of beans to prevent boredom while cooking at home. And, most important of all, they can be made to taste good. Here is one of my family’s bean dish recipe:

Bulgur and Lentil Pilaf with Caramelized Onions
Serves 6-8

½ cup olive oil
2 medium onion, julienne
10 cups of water
1 pound lentil
2 cup coarse wheat, #3
Salt to taste

-In a heavy pot, heat the olive oil and fry the onions until caramelized. Remove the pot from the heat and move the onions with a slotted spoon and place on the side.

-Place the pot back on the stove. Add the water, the lentil and the salt. Bring to a boil. Cook until the lentil are soft but not mushy.

-Add the bulgur wheat, stir and bring back to a boil. Stir, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the pilaf to stay covered for 10 minutes before serving.

-Spoon into a serving platter and sprinkle with caramelized onions.


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