I have to begin by letting you know that I’m not exactly sure what “fattoush” means… I tried to look it up and the most I could find is that it’s a salad made with toasted bread, herbs, cucumbers and tomatoes. But you’re not gonna find any bread in here.
The reason I’m calling this a Lentil Fattoush salad is because I’m straight ripping off the name from one of my favorite restaurants. That’s right… But it’s OK to take inspiration, right? I mean, isn’t that what we do all of the time?
If you’ve never carmelized onions, here’s a short tutorial:
First, slice up a shitload of them.. the more the merrier. Cause they dwindle down to nothing… kind of like cooking spinach. Notice the direction of the slice – they hold up better when sliced this direction, otherwise they’ll get all mushy. Really thin slices will still get mushy with this method, so be mindful of that.
Place the onions in an oiled, preferrably nonstick, pan over medium heat. Stir them constantly. If (more like when) they start to stick, lower the heat. Stir them some more. Add some salt to taste. Plan to stir them for about 30-40 minutes, depending on how many you started with. They’re ready when the look like this:
Now let’s backtrack a little. Before cooking the onions, you should set the “splinters,” as my son calls them, and rice to cook. Measure out one cup of each and rinse those mofos. Set out a large, about 4 quart size pot, on the stove and put a bit of olive oil in it, say 2 tablespoons. Allow it to heat for a tiny bit (you don’t want olive oil to smoke) and fry the lentils and rice for a minute or so. Then pour 4 cups of water into the pan, along with a bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then lower to simmering and cook for about 45 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.
NOW you can work on the onions.
The only thing left to do now is slicing and dicing. That’s easy stuff.. and making the dressing – that’s easy too. Make this for dinner or for lunch! It makes quite a large batch – enough for a family of four who eat like men who’ve been working on a farm all day with some leftover.
For the lentils & rice:
1 cup short grain brown rice
1 cup brown lentils
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups water
1 bay leaf
For the carmelized onions:
4 large onions
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste
For the salad:
6 – 8 leaves romaine lettuce – washed and chopped
1/2 red onion, diced
1 or 2 cucumbers (any variety), chopped
For the lemon vinaigrette:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon salt
Prepare the lentils and rice according to the directions above.
Carmelize the onions according to the directions above.
Whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar.
Place the lettuce, red onion and cucumbers on plates. Place lentils and rice on the bed of lettuce and top with carmelized onions. Drizzle with lemon vinaigrette to taste.