Heat olive oil in a saucepan. Add onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add garlic, spices and lentils, stirring to evenly coat lentils.
Add rice, seasoning packet and water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 25 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork, stir in parsley, 1/2 cup dried cherries or pomegranate seeds and pine nuts. Garnish with remaining 2 tablespoons of dried cherries or pomegranate seeds. Serve hot.
*To de-seed a pomegranate, cut off the crown, about 1 inch. Score the pomegranate by cutting into the skin from bottom to top to make six sections. Soak the pomegranate in water for 5 minutes.
Once soaked, break the fruit apart, letting the seeds sink to the bottom of the bowl. The skin and membrane will float to the top, discard. Strain seeds from the water.
**To toast pine nuts, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spread nuts on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant.
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