If your mom's green bean casserole is wearing thin but you just can't get enough of those crispy thin fried onions that come on top, the lentils and rice dish ($2.75) at Cafe Lili (5757 Westheimer, 713-952-6969) offers an excellent alternative. The Lebanese owners of this busy cafe sneak fistfuls of fried onions into a cuisine otherwise full of the sautéed variety. Underneath the sweet and crunchy strings on this side dish, the puffy rice clings to the round yellow beans. It could almost be a meal in itself, but also makes a nice accompaniment to Lili's fresh tabbouleh, which teems with mint, lemon and parsley.
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