Mujaderra Stuffed Kabocha Squash Recipe
Mujaderra Stuffed Kabocha Squash Recipe. The Nosher/JTA
A vegetarian entree perfect for autumn.
The Nosher/JTA – One of my favorite weeknight meals to make these days is mujaderra. Just rice and lentils cooked together and topped with a glistening pile of sautéed onions. It’s easy to see why it’s known as Middle-Eastern comfort food. There are so many variations of this recipe, but my favorite involves just five ingredients — rice, lentils, olive oil, salt and onions.
Jewish traditions of mujaderra come from Syria and Egypt, where it was often prepared as a Thursday night meal before Shabbat. The recipe dates back as far as the 13th century — some variations are porridge-like, and others (like this recipe) yield a pilaf whose rice and lentils are distinct.
I wondered if there would be a way to bring some seasonal produce into this dish without disrupting the beautiful way in which it’s already so complete. I went to the farmer’s market for inspiration, and returned with a few kabocha squash, a Japanese pumpkin variety. They’re as decorative as they are delicious. But you could also substitute acorn squash or small sugar pumpkins in place of the kabocha squash.
I cut them in half, de-seeded them and roasted them, transforming them into festive, edible vessels for mujaderra. The soft sweetness of winter squash offers a perfect contrast to the earthy brown rice and lentils. This hearty vegetarian meal has it all — a complete protein, vitamin-rich winter squash, plus the sweet treat of fried onions. Take it to the next level by topping with tahini dressing or a spoonful of labne. This dish is vegan, gluten-free and perfect as a weeknight dinner or holiday entree.