Warm Salad of Slow-Roasted Tomatoes With Almonds 4.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

May 2, 2012

The basis of this salad is a mujadara, a traditional Middle Eastern dish combining lentils, caramelized onions and rice; here, brown basmati rice is used for its assertive character. The red wine vinegar lends extra zing. It's best eaten warm or at room temperature.

Labneh, a soft yogurt cheese, is available at Middle Eastern markets; we found it at the Lebanese Taverna Market in Arlington. If you can't find it, Greek yogurt, preferably drained through cheesecloth in a strainer to remove some of the moisture, is a reasonable substitute.

Make Ahead: The tomatoes need 4 to 6 hours' roasting time. They can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Servings: 4 - 6
  • For the slow-roasted tomatoes
  • 6 ripe Roma tomatoes (about 1 pound), stemmed but not cored, then cut in half lengthwise
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary leaves
  • 2 small cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • For the mujadara
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • Salt
  • 1 1/4 cups dried brown lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups water
  • 3/4 cup brown basmati rice
  • For the salad
  • Pinch saffron threads
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Leaves from 1 large bunch flat-leaf parsley (about 1 cup packed)
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 heaping cup labneh (see headnote)
  • 3 tablespoons sliced almonds, lightly toasted


For the slow-roasted tomatoes: Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil.

Arrange the tomatoes on the baking sheets in a single layer. Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper to taste, the sugar, rosemary and garlic; drizzle with the oil. Slow-roast for 4 to 6 hours or longer; the time will depend on the size of the tomatoes. When they are done, they will be shrunken and a little blackened at the edges.

For the mujadara: Heat the oil in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the onion and a generous pinch of salt, stirring to coat. Cook for 20 minutes to soften the onion, stirring occasionally. Increase the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes or until the onion is deeply golden, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom of the saucepan to prevent scorching.

Add the lentils and water. Bring to a boil, then cover the saucepan and reduce the heat to medium or medium-low so the water is barely bubbling. Cook for 10 minutes; then stir in the rice, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let it sit, covered, for 10 minutes.

For the salad: Combine the saffron threads and boiling water in a medium bowl; let soak for 5 minutes, then whisk in the vinegar and oil to form an emulsified dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Reserve a small handful of parsley leaves and coarsely chop them. Stir the remaining parsley leaves and the spinach into the mujadara, then mix in the salad dressing.

Transfer the mixture to a large serving bowl or platter. Top with scoops of labneh, the 12 slow-roasted tomato halves, sliced almonds and the reserved chopped parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "Vegetarian," by Alice Hart (Lyons Press, 2012).

Tested by Jane Touzalin.

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