This recipe is inspired by mujadara, a simple combination of lentils, rice, and onions that exists in various forms across the Middle East. It's comforting but not too rich, and it's fresh and vegetarian without relying on many perishable ingredients. In other words, it's the perfect meal for the nights in between holiday parties. The lemon-soaked raisins bring pops of brightness but are optional—use sour cherries in their place, or finish the dish with a drizzle of pomegranate molasses. And while green or brown lentils are the traditional choice in mujadara, we like French lentils (a.k.a. Le Puy) because they hold their shape. Lastly, we endorse store-bought fried shallots as a weeknight shortcut, but if you want to fry your own, be our guest. See recipe.