Rice and Lentils with Leeks, Kale and Za’atar Tomatoes

This version of mujaddrah adds greens to the dish, making it very healthy dish. We found that adding tomatoes marinated in red wine vinegar and olive oil, then topped with za’atar, brought out a brightness to the flavor.


For lunch the next day, we ate it cold with some feta cheese – that was another good addition.  To me this was a nice dish for a vegetarian dinner, but also as a cold lunch salad. Our favorite part, hands down were the crispy fried leeks!


Rice and Lentils with Leeks, Kale and Za’atar Tomatoes

adapted from Melissa Clark One-Pot Mujadara with Leeks and Greens

1 cup brown or green lentils

2 leeks, white and light green parts only, roots trimmed

2 ¼ teaspoons salt, more as needed

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

¾ cup long-grain rice

1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground allspice

¼ teaspoon cayenne

1 bay leaf

1 cinnamon stick

4 cups trimmed and chopped kale (from the garden)

For tomatoes

2 ripe tomatoes, chopped (from the garden)

2 tsp olive oil

1 tsp red wine vinegar

1/4-1/2 tsp za’atar

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Place lentils in a large bowl and add warm tap water to cover by 1 inch. Let soak.

Meanwhile, halve leeks lengthwise; run under warm water to release any grit. Thinly slice leeks crosswise.IMG_0523

Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crispy, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer half the leeks to a bowl to use for garnish and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt.


Stir garlic into the pot with the remaining leeks and cook for 15 seconds until fragrant. Stir in rice and sauté 2 minutes. Stir in cumin, allspice and cayenne; sauté 30 seconds.IMG_0525

Drain lentils and stir into pot. Add 4 1/4 cups water, 2 teaspoons salt, bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Rinse greens in a colander and spread damp leaves over lentil mixture.IMG_0527

Cover and cook 5 minutes more, until rice and lentils are tender and greens are wilted. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.IMG_0528

Meanwhile, mix tomatoes with olive oil, red wine vinegar and sprinkle with za’atar. Taste and adjust seasoning. Set aside.


Serve sprinkled with reserved crispy leeks and tomatoes on the side.



Let me know what you think of this post, and if you try the recipe, please let me know how it was and any suggestions you have. Thanks, Andrea

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