Kamut, Spelt or Farro Pilaf with Lentils


This recipe is related to those famous Middle Eastern pilafs in which lentils are combined with a cooked grain and caramelized onions: Made with rice, it’s called mujaddara, with bulgur, it’s imjadra. But you can make a fine variation with Kamut, spelt or farro. Green lentils are best because they hold their shape, as will black “beluga” lentils. The onions must be caramelized but not burned—red onions work best because they have more sugar.

  • 6Servings


  • 1 cup green or black lentils
  • 3 Tbs. butter
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 large red onions, sliced thin
  • 2 tsp. granulated sugar, optional
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked Kamut, spelt or farro
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin


Rinse lentils, place in saucepan and cover by 2 inches with salt water. Bring to a boil. Cover pan, reduce heat to low and cook until lentils are tender but not soft, about 20 minutes.

To make caramelized onions: Heat butter and oil in large sauté pan or skillet, and sauté onions and sugar if using, stirring often, until deep golden brown, about 30 minutes. When almost done, season with salt, pepper, cinnamon and cumin. Stir well. Drain on paper towels to crisp.

Cook grain in 4 cups salted water until al dente, 15 to 45 minutes, depending upon grain. Drain well. Add to lentils and toss to combine. Heat through, making certain that all liquids have been absorbed. Stir in half the onions. Season to taste. Top with remaining onions. Serve warm or at room temperature. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired

Wine Suggestions
Pinot Noir, Syrah and Rosé wines would all pair nicely with this dish because of the lentils, sweetness of the onions and the aromatics. Try Chateau Mas Neuf Costieres de Nimes.

Nutrition Information

  • Calories: 410
  • Carbohydrate Content: 59 g
  • Cholesterol Content: 15 mg
  • Fat Content: 14 g
  • Fiber Content: 17 g
  • Protein Content: 14 g
  • Saturated Fat Content: 4 g
  • Sodium Content: 65 mg