Friday, 9 June 2023

Pumpkin Lentils Rice Caramelised Onions

Okay, so it's pumpkin season here in Australia.  Time for pumpkin soup to pop up in every café over Winter.  Mmm, I have to say I am not a fan.  When I first met Mr P., and we visited his mum and sisters at their respective homes, guess what they made for dinner?!  Yes pumpkin soup - without fail.  Oh dear; I just had to woman up and swallow it down - hehehe.

I've mentioned before in my barramundi post, that I recently discovered the Alice Zaslavsky method of caramelising onions, which makes this dish sooooo much easier.  So this is an adaptation of her recipe for pumpkin wedge Mujadara, a classic Arabic/Middle Eastern dish.  Mine is different to hers, and obviously nowhere near the classic recipe.  My ingredients are mostly the same as hers (sans kale and pomegranate!) but my method is a bit different.  I tried to make this super easy!  So even though there are a few parts to this, they are very easy and not labour-intensive.   

crunchy, spicy and tasty

Serves 4-6:


For the pumpkin:

500g./18 oz pumpkin, peeled and diced  See Notes

sea salt flakes and black pepper, to taste - maybe 1 tsp of salt

2 Tbs chives, finely chopped - or herb of your choice

1-2 Tbs EV olive oil

For the onions:

4 red onions, thinly sliced

2 tsp sea salt, and black pepper to taste

1/2 tsp gochugaru or other chilli powder

dried herbs - I used chives and rosemary - maybe 1 tsp of each?

30 mL/1 big ounce of EV olive oil

For the rice:

1 cup/200g. brown basmati rice

35g./1.3 oz butter

600 mL/20 fl oz water

2 bay leaves

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 dozen saffron threads

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

The other ingredients:

The seeds:

40g./¼ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

40g./¼ cup sunflower seeds


1 tin of brown lentils (400g./14 oz)

1/2 tsp black lime powder (optional) or a big squeeze of lemon or lime juice

1/2 tsp ground cum(m)in

1 tsp chicken or veg. stock powder

1/2 cup water

2 Tbs pomegranate molasses (I used quince syrup!)

black pepper, to taste

fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, for serving

1-2 tsp EV olive oil, to serve

dried barberries, to serve (optional) - or use pomegranate arils if you please  (I used dried sour cherries I'm pretty sure)


Really you can start with the rice or the pumpkin or the onions, but we will start with the pumpkin which you place on a lined baking tray, tossed with the salt, pepper, herbs and olive oil and baked at 180C/360F for 20 minutes till tender - and then put aside till you have baked the onions and cooked the rice

Now the onions:

Toss the onion slices in a large bowl with the salt, pepper, chilli powder, herbs and olive oil

Place on another lined baking tray (or the same one if the pumpkin is already baked) and bake at 210C/410F for 30 minutes; you then give them a really good stir, and slide them back into the oven for another 20 minutes till they are beautifully caramelised

Now for the rice:

Get Mr P. to make this!!  He is the rice man in this house :=)  Here is how he does it:

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, tip in the rice and toast it for 2-3 minutes till going opaque

Add the water, bay leaves, salt, saffron, and garlic

Boil for 15 minutes on the lowest heat you can get on your stovetop (we have gas), then turn it off and rest it for 15 minutes with the lid on

Now toss both sorts of seeds in a very hot frypan (no oil) just for a minute or 2 till slightly toasted, and put them aside

Grab a big skillet and add 2/3 of the rice (or all of it if you fancy), plus the onions and lentils over a medium-low heat

Stir in the black lime powder or lemon/lime juice, cummin, stock powder, water, pomegranate molasses and black pepper

Heat the whole shebang for a few minutes, then drizzle on the olive oil, and serve with the scattered coriander leaves, the toasted seeds and the barberries if using (and add a spritz of extra lemon juice if you fancy)

We ate the leftovers the next night with panko-crusted, baked chicken tenderloins


Buy the pumpkin peeled and diced from the grocery store

Make sure you use gluten-free stock powder if necessary, and obvs. make it vegetable for vegetarians

You can bake the pumpkin and onions the day before, so it's an easy dinner after a day's work

ingredients gathered

bake at 180C for 20 mins. till tender

ready for baking at 210C

and after 30 mins. baking, give it a good stir

and another 20 mins. baking

and Mr P. cooks up the rice for our dinner

toast your seeds!

rice lentils onions

and pumpkin :=)

and toasty seeds!

dive in!

team with panko-crusted chicken tenderloins the next night :=)

a tasty dinner with all the good things - protein, veg., grains, seeds ...

c. Sherry M.


  1. That looks like a fabulous meal! I am actually a fan of pumpkins :-)

  2. It's dinner time here and I'm hungry! And anything with caramelized onions gets my vote for tasty!

    1. yes i love this method of cooking the onions.

  3. This looks like a great recipe for pumpkin for our fall. Great idea!

  4. We are fans of Mujadara but I have never had it with pumpkin. Looks interesting! Enjoy pumpkin season..

    1. Alice makes it with big slices of roasted pumpkin which is a great idea!

  5. Dave is not a pumpkin fan and I don't eat lentils so this is a heavy pass for me. Great way of cooking the onions!
    from Tandy I Lavender and Lime

    1. I love lentils and chickpeas and beans ... :) Yep so glad I found this method of cooking onions. Will be great for many dishes.

  6. This will be fun! I have oh so oft made mujadarra for over 50 years - but mine is a breeze to cook with about a third of these ingredients, one pot and one pan! The recipe comes from one of the top Lebanese families in Sydney -one of my best gfs just happened to be married to the head honcho . . . and they were mad about food! No pumpkin but a heap more very caramelized onions. Shall take notes of your recipe - add this and that to mine to try next few times around! Oh - I adore most of the Lebanese tucker: taste and health! Love, love, love Maltese also - did you know the wonderful Simon Bajada who wrote the incomparable 'Baltic' had his 'Malts' published two days ago . . . one for your book club!

    1. Just as an addendum - The ONLY spice used in mujadarra is cumin, - Ottolenghi adds coriander - as this is a 'holy' national dish in the area many others, including one of Jordan's main food bloggers from whom I have just had a phone call on other matters, think it is unsuitable. There very definitely is no chilli or saffron used. Or naturally one can - but then the 'mujadarra' name should be omitted. hanks . . .

    2. well, very happily I didn't/don't call this dish that name at all! As I said, Alice's dish is quite different to mine. But anyway I think food is always up for adaptations; otherwise what's the point of us all having different tastes? No I don't know Simon Bajada. Tell us more about your version please. cheers!

    3. I must check out Ottolenghi's books some day ...

    4. Methinks I have taken up half your blog AND it is my birthday, so - recipes can quite naturally altered in any personal desirable way BUT the original country of origin or original chef should be respected, and the name not used! My recipe for this is the VERY simple classical one on Google looking at any Lebanese, Syrian, Jordanian, Palestinian etc. ones - very simple> 6-8 ingredients. Ottolenghi and I have been 'friends' for decades, I follow him in London as do most of my friends and use most of his books. Bajada is one of the most talented and elegant writers I know. And I do apologize for overstaying any possible welcome . . .

    5. no worries at all Eha. Always lovely to have your comments. Funnily enough I have just remembered that i do have one of Simon Bajada's books! The New Nordic. And very many happy returns to you on your birthday. Happy birthday!! And Please feel free to add as many comments as you please :=) I do enjoy them.

  7. Not gonna lie - that pan of onions looks fantastic! Great tip there. This entire dish sounds like a tasty comfort food meal for chilly evenings. We're on the opposite end in terms of weather here, but this will be a good option in a couple of months!

  8. What a gorgeous recipe! This will eb a great veggie main for us - we love everything about it (well, except for the dreaded G, which is easy to skip). Love the method for caramelization! Yum!

    1. that's great David. Yep leave out the garlic for sure. Mr P. doesn't usually put it in anyway; it was just for this recipe. And I love alice's method for onions!

  9. This looks so good. And healthy! I sure wish it was pumpkin season where I live…

  10. As soon as I am back in my kitchen I will try caramelizing onions your way. We are not great fans of pumpkin but your recipe looks good. Gerlinde

  11. thanks Mae. Yes this is hearty and good for you too.

  12. This sounds delicious! Also not a fan of pumpkin soup! But chunky pumpkin in a side dish like this, yes!

  13. This is exactly what I want to eat for dinner now! I can really imagine the texture of the lentils, rice and pumpkin! :D

  14. This dish looks delicious Sherry. I wonder if this would be suitable for a pie filling sans rice?

    1. mmm not sure about that. I have the feeling it wouldn't work :)

  15. Wow, what gorgeous ingredients. All of them -- makes for such a colorful dish. And healthy, to boot! I usually caramelize onions on the stove, but I'm definitely going to try it this way. I could eat those alone. :-) ~Valentina

    1. thanks Valentina. Yes i really like this method of caramelising onions. It's just so easy and stressless :=)

  16. This sounds amazing. I will have to try this method of caramelizing onions!

  17. I had such a good laugh reading your post about pumpkin soup and your encounters with it during family dinners. It's funny how certain dishes become recurring themes in family gatherings. But hey, at least you "womaned up" and gave it a try!

  18. Nothing better than caramelized onions - will have to try your recipe in the Fall when it is pumpkin season :)


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