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Brown Lentils with Carrots, Orzo and Caramelized Onions

Lentils with carrot and orzo and caramelized onions


This dish has been one of my family’s favourites for years.  My mother would make this dish, with any kind of small pasta, instead of adding rice, (see Fakhes Moutjentra) and the first time I ate them with carrots was at my sister Zoe’s house.

Lentils with carrot and orzo


I love dried legumes, especially lentils and if I were to chose between a meat dish or a legume dish, I would definitely choose the latter.  This is one of the reasons I have made so many twists to the classic Cypriot dish.


caramelized onions


This is a very easy dish to prepare and you can make half of the preparation ahead if you like.

However, it is advisable to add the orzo just before serving as like any other pasta, orzo will continue cooking and absorbing the juices from the food and will become dry.

The addition of carrots and serving them with caramelized onions on top, add a lovely sweetness to the dish.


Lentils with orzo and carrot 

Brown Lentils with Carrots, Orzo and Caramelized Onions

Preparation time:  15 minutes

Cooking time:  about 30 – 40 minutes

Serves:  4


  • 200 grams brown lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Water to cover them
  • 3 small carrots coarsely grated (about 1 cup)
  • 600 ml water
  • 400 grams fresh tomatoes grated or the same amount of tinned tomatoes, pureed in a food processor
  • Salt and freshly grated black pepper
  • 1 cup medium orzo (195 grams)

Caramelized onions: Ingredients:

  • 4 red onions, cut into slices
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon petimezi (grape syrup or molasses)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar


  1. Heat the olive oil in a  skillet and sauté the onions, stirring regularly for about 15 minutes.  When they lightly start to brown remove half of them and set aside.
  2. Season the remaining with salt and pepper.  Add the balsamic vinegar and petimezi (grape syrup) and stir until the juices are absorbed and the onions become caramelized (total time about 30 – 40 minutes).
  3. Simultaneously put the lentils and bay leaf in a pot and add water to cover them.  Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.  Strain and discard the bay leaf.
  4. Put them back in the pot, together with the grated tomato and grated carrots and water.  Bring to a boil and simmer until lentils are almost cooked (about 30 minutes).  Add the lightly browned onion and continue cooking for fifteen more minutes.  (If we started cooking early, at this point we can stop cooking until it is lunch time.  All we have to do is to bring it back to a boil again).
  5. Add orzo and cook for about 15 – 20 minutes, stirring regularly until all juices are absorbed.
  6. Serve with the caramelized onions on top.

Lentils with carrot and orzo

You can find many more Greek recipes in my cookbook “More Than A Greek Salad”, and “Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!” both available on all Amazon stores.



Other relevant recipes:

Fakhes Soupa (Greek lentils soup)

Lentils with Orzo and Pasto

Coconut, Red Lentils Soup

Healthy Mediterranean Lentil Salad

Fakhes Moudjentra (Lentils with Rice)

Fakokeftedes (Lentil Burgers)

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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4 Responses

  1. Scrumptious! I’d love to taste this dish.



  2. Hi – lovely lentil dish. Hope you add it to the Food on friday: Lentils collection. Cheers

  3. Angie ( from angiesrecipess)

    This looks so comforting and delicious, Ivy.
    Angie ( recently posted..Quinoa, Chickpea and Strawberry Salad with Sundried Tomato VinaigretteMy Profile

  4. Very nice. I love lentils too. And I like all the flavors in the dish you made.
    Simona recently posted..mollica e crosta / crumb and crustMy Profile

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