Lentils Cooked with Orzo & Caramelized Onions

This wonderful Greek recipe from one of the most beloved Greek island groups, the Dodecanese, appeals to vegans and vegetarians alike. Lentils and pasta are a popular combination in the Greek cooking of the Dodecanese. Topped with caramelized onions, called sivrasi, this simple dish is transformed into something really irresistible.
10 min
40 min


  • ½ pound dried lentils picked over and rinsed
  • 1 large onion minced
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 2 to 3 dried Greek oregano springs or 1 teaspoon ground
  • salt to taste
  • ¼ pound orzo
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the Onions

  • 4 to 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or unsalted butter to taste
  • 6 cups coarsely chopped onion


  1. Place the lentils in a pot with enough water to cover by 3 inches and bring to a boil. Add the onion, bay leaf, and oregano, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the lentils are almost cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes.
  2. Season with salt and add the orzo. Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the orzo is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Adjust the seasoning with additional salt, if necessary, and pepper. Pour in the olive oil. Serve the lentils and orzo in a deep plate, topped with the caramelized onions. Serve hot.

Caramelize the onions

  1. Heat the olive oil or butter in a large, heavy non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and add the onion. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside as a relish for boiled greens or for lentils and orzo or the other bean dishes.

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