Mujadara: Lentils and Rice

June 13, 2023

Experience the delightful combination of Mujadara: Lentils and Rice, seasoned with fragrant garlic and aromatic cumin, and topped with irresistibly caramelized fried onions. This comforting and satisfying dish, known as mujadara, is a perfect blend of flavors and textures.

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Step into a world of aromatic spices and wholesome flavors as I unveil my beloved mujadara recipe. Despite not having Lebanese roots in my family, this Middle Eastern dish holds a special place in my heart. Get ready to savor the rich tapestry of flavors and embrace the heartwarming nostalgia that comes with each fragrant bite. So, join me as we delve into the captivating world of mujadara and discover the timeless beauty of this hearty and satisfying dish.

The Magic of Mujadara: Lentils and Rice

Growing up in a multicultural household, our family blended Portuguese and Brazilian traditions, but on special occasions, my mom would surprise us with a mouthwatering dish from Lebanon: mujadara. Those cherished moments of a late Sunday lunch at home flood back whenever I recreate this recipe. Cozy, comforting, and incredibly satisfying, mujadara has become a nostalgic staple in our family’s culinary repertoire. So, with a sprinkle of nostalgia and a dash of love, let me guide you through this flavorful journey.

Whether you’re a fan of traditional homemade mujadara or prefer a quicker version using ready rice and canned brown lentils, this recipe has got you covered. Plus, it’s versatile and adaptable to your preferences and time constraints. With fragrant spices, tender lentils, and caramelized fried onions, it’s a comforting and satisfying meal that transports you to cozy Sunday lunches at home. So, let’s explore the simplicity and heartwarming flavors of mujadara together. It’s time to create a culinary experience that brings back cherished memories and fills your kitchen with delightful aromas.

Cooking Lentils to Perfection

If you choose to cook lentils at home, you’ll begin by rinsing them thoroughly and removing any debris. Then, you’ll combine the lentils with water in a saucepan and bring them to a boil. Simply add 2 teaspoons of salt and 2 bay leaves to the pot as they cook. The salt helps to season the lentils, while the bay leaves infuse a subtle aromatic note. These simple additions bring depth and complexity to the lentils, making them even more delicious in the final mujadara dish.Reduce the heat and let them simmer until they’re tender but still hold their shape. It usually takes about 20-30 minutes. Once cooked, drain any excess liquid and set them aside until ready to use in your mujadara recipe.

Caramelized Onions: the Key to Flavorful Mujadara

To achieve the rich and caramelized flavor that elevates this mujadara recipe, we need an abundance of onions. Five large yellow onions will do the trick. Start by cutting them in half and slicing them into half rings. In a pan, heat 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil and carefully add the onions. Patience is key as they slowly cook, transforming into golden perfection. It may take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes, but the result is worth it. Ensure the onions are soft and caramelized, striking the perfect balance between sweetness and savory notes.

How to Serve Mujadara: Lentils and Rice

Garnish with a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley for a pop of color and freshness.To complement the earthy flavors, pair mujadara with a side of creamy yogurt dressing or tzatziki sauce. The cool and tangy yogurt adds a refreshing contrast to the warm and comforting mujadara. For a complete meal, serve it alongside a crisp and vibrant salad. The combination of the hearty mujadara, creamy yogurt dressing, and crisp salad creates a harmonious balance of flavors and textures. Get ready to savor each spoonful and indulge in a satisfying and nourishing meal.

Mujadara (Lentils and Rice)

Recipe by Raquel QuevedoCourse: EntreeCuisine: Middle EasternDifficulty: Intermediate


Prep time


Cooking time





The calories shown above is not including the yogurt dressing.


  • 1 cup uncooked rice (3 cups cooked rice)

  • 2 cups dry brown lentils (4.5-5 cups cooked lentils)

  • 2 bay leaves (optional)

  • 5 onions

  • 6 garlic cloves crushed

  • 2 tablespoons oil

  • 2 tsp ground cumin

  • Salt and black pepper

  • parsley for garnish

  • Yogurt dressing:
  • 1 cup greek yogurt

  • 1/2 of a Japanese cucumber chopped

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 clove of garlic crushed

  • juice from 1/2 a lemon

  • 1 tablespoon of chopped dill


  • Cooking Rice and Lentils from Scratch
  • For the rice, simply cook the it according to the package instructions. You can use a rice cooker for convenience.
  • For the lentils, start by washing them to remove any debris. Then, in a large pot, combine the lentils, approximately 1.5 liters of water, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 2 bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low-medium and let it cook for 25-30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Check the lentils for doneness, and once cooked, drain off any excess water.
  • Caramelizing the Onions
  • Begin by cutting the onions in half, then slice them into half circles that are approximately 1/8 inch thick.
  • Heat up 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat.
  • Carefully add the sliced onions to the hot pan. Be cautious as the pan will be very full, so mix the onions slowly and carefully to prevent any spills.
  • Allow the onions to cook on high heat until they start to soften and reduce in size. As they cook, you’ll notice that the water released by the onions evaporates.
  • Once the water has evaporated, reduce the heat to medium. Continue mixing the onions every minute to ensure they cook evenly and avoid burning.
  • Keep cooking the onions until they become soft, caramelized, and golden brown. The process usually takes around 20-30 minutes, depending on the desired level of caramelization.
  • Once the onions are cooked to perfection, season them with salt and pepper according to your taste preferences. Mix them well to incorporate the seasoning.
  • Set the onions aside until the next step is complete.
  • Mujadara
  • Start by heating 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in a pot over medium heat.
  • Add the crushed garlic to the pot and sauté until it becomes fragrant.
  • Next, add the cooked lentils to the pot and gently mix them with the garlic.
  • Then, add the cooked rice to the pot and continue to mix everything together gently.
  • If the rice and lentils were not already warm, allow the mujadara to heat through for a few minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even distribution of flavors.
  • Now, take the caramelized onions and carefully spread them evenly over the lentils and rice, creating a flavorful layer on top.
  • For a final touch of freshness and flavor, sprinkle some freshly chopped parsley on top of the caramelized onions.
  • Your mujadara is now complete and ready to be served!
  • Yogurt Dressing
  • Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.

Please be aware that the information provided with this recipe is intended solely for general informational purposes. While we have tried to accurately test this recipe and present precise measurements and instructions, individual results may vary due to differences in ingredient types, cooking equipment, or preparation techniques. The nutritional information accompanying this recipe is not intended as dietary or medical advice. For any specific health or nutritional inquiries, please consult a registered dietitian or healthcare professional. We disclaim any liability for inaccuracies or misrepresentation of the provided information. We encourage users to approach this recipe with a mindful understanding that cooking is both an art and a science, and to use their best judgment in the kitchen.

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