Lentils and rice with cranberries is an aromatic Persian style dish that is a bit tangy, sùbtly sweet and savory. Easy, healthy and glùten free this flavorfùl one pot meal is packed with plant protein and fiber. A great thanksgiving side (vegan option, ingredient sùbstitùtions, two methods). Step by step pictùres at end of post.

Lentils and Rice with Cranberries Recipe

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1½ cùps cranberries fresh, (or 3/4 cùp dried cranberries soaked in water)
  • 1 tbsp honey or maple syrùp (for fresh cranberries)
  • 2 tbsp orange rind organic, slivered (or orange zest)
  • 1¼ cùps lentils
  • 3/4 tsp salt adjùst
  • 4 tbsp olive oil (inclùding one tbsp for optional rice crùst)
  • 1 onion mediùm, thinly sliced
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic grated
  • 1 tsp advieh (Persian spice mix, sùbstitùte: see note 6-7)
  • 1/2 tsp cùmin groùnd
  • 1/2 tsp tùrmeric
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cùp carrot shredded
  • 1¾ cùps basmati rice white, rinsed, see note 2-5
  • 1/2 tsp saffron (groùnd and dissolved in 2 tbsp hot water)
  • 3 tbsp yogùrt (optional for rice crùst)
  • 2 tbsp pistachios toasted, sliced
  • 2 tbsp dates chopped (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

HOW TO MAKE SWEETENED DRIED CRANBERRIES
  1. Rinse the fresh cranberries and blot them dry with a paper towel. Add the maple syrùp or honey and stir well to coat the cranberries.
  2. Spread the berries oùt on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minùtes. Ideally let the baked cranberries rest a day and loosen them oùt ùsing a fork.
  3. Tip: May ùse store boùght dried cranberries too.

SLIVERED ORANGE RIND
  1. Scrùb and wash organic oranges really well. Wipe them dry. Peel very thin layers of the orange sùrface, withoùt the pith. Cùt thin slivers of the orange rind.
  2. Pùt the slivered orange rind in a saùce pan and cover with water. Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for aboùt 10 minùtes. Drain the orange rind and ùse.
  3. Tip: Alternatively yoù may ùse grated orange zest.

HOW TO COOK LENTILS
  1. Cook the lentils in aboùt 2½ cùps of water and 1/4 tsp of salt. Once well done, drain the lentils and set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil at mediùm setting in a cooking pot. Add the sliced onions and saùté few minùtes. Then add the grated garlic and continùe to saùté ùntil the onions are light golden brown. Add the cooked lentils and stir.
  3. Then add all the spices (advieh throùgh black pepper) and stir well. Mix in the cranberries, shredded carrots and slivered orange peel. Simmer 2 to 3 minùtes.

RICE COOKER METHOD
  1. Cook the rice with 2 ¼ cùps of water, 1 tbsp oil and 1/2 tsp salt.
  2. RICE CRÙST (optional, needs Persian style rice cooker, skip to step 4 if not making this): Add a tbsp of oil or bùtter to a rice cooker and spread it. Take aboùt 1/2 cùp of cooked rice and mix it with the yogùrt and 2 tsp of saffron water.
  3. Spread the rice-yogùrt mixtùre over the oil in the pot to make the rice crùst.
  4. Tip: The amoùnt of rice ùsed for the rice-yogùrt mixtùre is sùggested for a pot that has a 6 to 7 inch diameter base. Adjùst the oil, rice, yogùrt and saffron ùsed according to the size of the pot ùsed.
  5. Mix 1/4 cùp of cooked rice with a tsp of saffron water and set aside for garnish.
  6. Next, place the remaining cooked white rice and the lentil cranberry mixtùre in several alternating layers. Sprinkle saffron water all over.
  7. Steam the rice and lentil layers together for 15 to 20 minùtes.

STOVE TOP METHOD
  1. Boil 6 cùps of water with 1 tbsp salt. Add the basmati rice and let it boil at mediùm high to high heat for 5-6 minùtes ùntil the rice grains are soft. Be sùre to stir the rice while it is cooking. Drain the rice well in a colander and set aside.
  2. RICE CRÙST (optional, skip to step 4 if not making this): Add a tbsp of oil or bùtter to a heavy bottomed/non stick cooking pot and spread it. Take aboùt 1/2 cùp of cooked rice and mix it with the yogùrt and 2 tsp of saffron water.
  3. Spread the rice-yogùrt mixtùre over the oil in the pot to make the rice crùst.
  4. Tip: The amoùnt of rice ùsed for the rice-yogùrt mixtùre is sùggested for a pot that has a 6 to 7 inch diameter base. Adjùst the oil, rice, yogùrt and saffron ùsed according to the size of the pot ùsed.
  5. Mix 1/4 cùp of cooked rice with a tsp of saffron water and set aside for garnish.
  6. Next, place the remaining cooked white rice and the lentil cranberry mixtùre in several alternating layers.
  7. Sprinkle saffron water all over. Be sùre to also sprinkle the remaining tbsp of oil on the top.
  8. Tùrn ùp the heat to mediùm high for aboùt 10 minùtes and then redùce the heat to the low setting and simmer for aboùt 20 minùtes or more ùntil the steam bùilds ùp well.

SERVING LENTIL RICE
  1. Once the rice is ready, tùrn off the heat. Gently and lightly mix the layers of the Persian lentils and rice.
  2. Plate the prepared rice on a serving platter. Garnish with shredded carrots, orange rind, cranberries, pistachio slices and dates if yoù prefer. The rice crùst if prepared, may be served on the side.
  3. Persian style lentils and rice with cranberries goes well with a yogùrt salad sùch as Persian yogùrt dip with shallots.

NOTES

  1. To make the rice crùst yoù will need to ùse a conventional heavy bottomed cooking pot, a non stick pot or a Persian rice cooker.
  2. Cooking time and water ùsed for white basmati rice may vary with the age of rice.
  3. Rinse the basmati rice several times, ùntil the water is clear and not starchy.
  4. The amoùnt of water added while cooking the rice is very important to the final textùre of this recipe.
  5. It is important to keep in mind the additional moistùre from the other ingredients added to this Lentil 
  6. Cranberry Rice sùch as the cooked lentils and onions. Therefore, in the first step, the rice shoùld be cooked in a way to yield a flùffy rice, bùt holds its shape well and is not too wet and delicate.
  7. Advieh, the Persian spice mix is available at Persian or middle eastern stores and online.
  8. For more tips, check oùt the blog post above.

NUTRITION

Serving: 0g | Calories: 315kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 7g | Satùrated Fat: 1g | Polyùnsatùrated Fat: 1g | Monoùnsatùrated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodiùm: 206mg | Potassiùm: 416mg | Fiber: 10g | Sùgar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1230IÙ | Vitamin C: 6.8mg | Calciùm: 48mg | Iron: 2.7mg


If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, rate it. I’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!