Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Vidalia onions stuffed with rice and lentil pilaf

Vidalia onions stuffed with rice and lentil pilaf, adapted from FatFree Vegan Kitchen
I love vidalia onions. As a child, I thought they were the standard type of onion because they were everywhere. I realized how special they truly are when I moved to Michigan and could only find them at certain times of the year. And now is that time (and they're even on sale!). I've had a recipe for stuffed vidalias from FatFree Vegan Kitchen bookmarked for months, and this seemed like the perfect time to try it out. Plus, I just discovered that FatFree Vegan Kitchen is this month's blog for Tried and Tasted, a blogging event to explore and re-create recipes from other food blogs. This month's host of Tried and Tasted is Holy Cow!, and I'm excited that I discovered this event at just the right time!

Vidalia onions stuffed with rice and lentil pilaf (adapted slightly from FatFree Vegan Kitchen)

2 large vidalia onions
1 Tbsp olive oil, divided
salt and pepper
6 Tbsp brown rice
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 1/4 cup water
1/4 cup brown lentils
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
small pinch of ground cloves
pinch of salt
1/4 cup raisins
2 Tbsp pine nuts

Peel onions and cut off the very bottom so that they have a flat surface to stand on. Then cut off about 1/2" of the top of each onion and save. Place onions in oiled baking dish, rub with 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 400 until onions are soft and begin to caramelize on the outside (45-60 min).

Prepare the pilaf while the onions are cooking. First, chop up the onion tops. Heat remaining 1/2 Tbsp oil in a saucepan over medium heat and saute onion until tender. Then add rice and tomato paste and cook for a minute. Stir in water, lentils, and spices, and bring to a boil. Then cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 min.

When onions are soft, take them out of the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Take all but the outer 3 layers of each onion out. Cut off the very bottom of each middle section and return it to the outer layers (to create a bottom). Chop up the remaining middle sections and stir that into the pilaf along with the raisins and pine nuts. Press pilaf into each onion and put remaining pilaf around the onions in the baking dish. Sprinkle each onion with 1 Tbsp water, cover dish with foil, and bake at 350 for 20 min. Serves 2.

I loved these. Roasted vidalias are great on their own, but it was fun to stuff them. Somehow stuffing vegetables magically makes the veggie and the stuffing taste better. The pilaf was delicious, and had a great blend of Middle Eastern flavors. The only change that I would make is with the raisins. I used very large ones, so many bites were raisin-less. Next time I'll either use smaller ones or add more. But other than this minor problem (that was my fault), this recipe is perfect.

While looking through the massive archives at FatFree Vegan Kitchen, I found myself wanting to make just about everything. "Wait, you're not a vegan," you might say. You're correct, but you might be surprised to find out what I discovered about my recipes. Over the past 3 months, I've posted 53 recipes. Of these, 21 (40%) are vegan and another 19 (36%) are vegetarian. And some of the vegetarian dishes could easily be made vegan by substituting agave nectar for honey. I'm honestly shocked that this number is so high, but it explains why I like so many of FFVK's recipes!


Susan Voisin said...

I'm so glad you liked them and I'm happy to have found your blog!

Katie said...

I'm glad I finally got around to making them! I only made half of the recipe because I'm going out of town tomorrow, but I'm wishing I had made an extra for the plane.

Julia said...

Growing up, we only had vidalia onions, too. But my mom certainly never prepared anything like this! Looks fantastic!