Also spelled Kushari. A traditional Egyptian dish that I learned from my sister’s boyfriend. An incredibly filling, tasty dish that uses very inexpensive ingredients, so if you’re on a budget, this is a great option!

Just as yummy leftover as it is fresh. This dish can be gluten-free if you use gluten-free pasta.

Prep time: ~1 hour
Gluten-free (if using gluten-free pasta)
Serves 4-6


  • 1 cup rice, rinsed.
  • 1 cup lentils, rinsed.
  • 2 tsp Baharat, aka Middle-Eastern 6 spice mix. See the recipe I have on this blog, under spices!
  • 1 tbsp olive oil.
  • 1 large onion, half chopped, half thinly sliced.
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced.
  • 1 can whole tomatoes.
  • 1 tsp vinegar.
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or hot sauce to taste.
  • salt and pepper, to taste.
  • 400 grams macaroni or other short pasta/gluten-free pasta.

Cooking Instructions:

Place the rice, lentils, and spice mix in a pot or a rice cooker with 4 cups water, a pinch of salt, and a dash of oil, and cook until tender.

Fry the chopped half of the onion in a large pot in the olive oil until soft, add the garlic and red pepper flakes (if using them) and cook until fragrant. Puree the tomatoes and add to the pot. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat until simmering. Add the vinegar and hot sauce (if using it), season with salt and pepper. Allow to simmer for at least 15 minutes.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions, and strain, tossing with a drizzle of olive oil to prevent it from sticking together.

Prepare a small frying pan with enough olive oil to comfortably cover the bottom, heat until just below the smoke point. Lightly salt the sliced onion and press with a paper towel to remove excess moisture, then fry in the oil until browned and crispy.

Serve in layers: the rice-lentil mix on the bottom, the pasta, the sauce, and then the onions. Use up all the crispy onions while this dish is fresh, they’re no good when refrigerated.

Cabbage Rolls

This is a rather time-consuming dish, but easy to make in bulk. It’s good to make if you’re having friends around for food, or if you want to have lunch for the rest of the week! These rolls can be made beforehand, frozen, and then finished off in the oven if you don’t have enough time to do it all at once.

Traditionally, cabbage rolls are made with ground beef or pork, but I’ve replaced that with lentils and walnuts for extra flavor and nutrition. Lentils are extremely nutritious, full of fiber, protein, and iron, which are all very important, especially if you’re on a meatless diet.

Prep Time: ~120 minutes


Serves 6


  • 16 large cabbage leaves, washed.
  • A whole lotta toothpicks
  • 2 cans of whole tomatoes.
  • 1 onion, chopped.
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed or minced.
  • 1/4 tsp caraway seeds, crushed.
  • 3 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste.


  • 2 cups rice, cooked and cooled.
  • 1 cup brown or green lentils, cooked and cooled.
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, crushed.
  • 2 tsp olive oil.
  • 2 onions, chopped.
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme.
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper.
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped.
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh (or 1 tsp dried) dill.
  • Salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 375 F.

Fill a large pot with water, salt lightly, and bring to the boil. Once boiling, add in your cabbage leaves a few at a time. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until soft and flexible. Set aside to cool.

For the sauce: Place a large pot on medium heat, add the olive oil. When hot, toss in the onion and garlic, saute until soft and translucent. Next, add the caraway seeds and brown sugar, stir until well combined. Puree the tomatoes, then add to the pot. Season with salt and pepper. Bring the whole pot to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow to cook for at least half an hour.

For the filling: In a skillet or frying pan, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and saute until soft. Toss in the thyme, cayenne, parsley, and dill, and stir well. Once combined, take off the heat. Place into a large bowl with the rice, lentils, and walnuts. Mix thoroughly, and season well with salt and pepper.

Place a heaping spoon or two of the filling into each cabbage leaf. fold the edges of the leaf over, then use a toothpick (or two or three) to seal it shut. Place into a roasting dish (lined with foil for easy cleanup). When all the cabbage leaves are filled and in the tray, pour several ladles of tomato sauce over the rolls.

Pop the roasting dish into the oven for an hour, then take out the cabbage rolls, and serve!