Mujadara Recipe

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Enjoy authentic Mujadara, a delicious Middle Eastern dish of lentils, rice, and caramelized onions. Try our easy recipe for a healthy, vegan meal.

I’m excited to share with you another Middle Eastern recipe that I learned to make during my visit to Israel (thank you Vibe Israel 🤗 ) in February 2023. This is one that I was thrilled to learn. I had a mujadara recipe bookmarked for at least a year but hadn’t yet made it.

The opportunity to make a much-loved traditional recipe from Doris, the same sweet woman who taught me how to make hummus, was something I’ll never forget. My procrastination on making the lentils and rice recipe paid off. And now I’m happy to share Doris’s recipe with you.

Table of Contents
  1. About this Mujadara Recipe:
  2. What is mujadara?
  3. Why is mujadara healthy?
  4. Ingredients
  5. How to Make Mujadara
  6. How to Serve Mujadara
  7. Mujadara Recipe {Lentils and Rice} Recipe
mujadara lentils and rice with crispy onions in a white bowl

About this Mujadara Recipe:

  • Flavor: The lentils and rice have a mild flavor of cumin. The crispy onions on top are what really take the flavor to the next level.
  • Texture: The lentils and rice are tender, but not mushy. And that texture pairs so well with the crispy fried onions.
  • Method: For best results, soak the lentils and the rice in water while the onions are caramelizing on the stovetop. Otherwise, you need a large skillet and a stovetop to make this recipe.

What is mujadara?

Mujadara (there are multiple English spellings: mujaddara, majadra, mejadra, moujadara, mudardara, and megadarra) is a popular lentils and rice dish that is known throughout many different countries in the Middle East. Mujadara is an Arabic word for “pockmarked”.

Mujadara is made with green lentils, white rice, onions and cumin. It has such a comforting flavor and is amazing served with bright flavors such as fresh hummus, avocado salad and tabbouleh.

Why is mujadara healthy?

This Mediterranean recipe is full of protein, iron and fiber. In one serving as shown below, there is 15 grams of protein and 16 grams of fiber. It is high in potassium and low in sugar. The fats are from the extra virgin olive oil, which is a healthy fat.

It’s a great vegetarian addition to your weekly meal plan. It’s dairy-free and gluten-free.

Ingredients

  • Green lentils. You can find green lentils easily in the Middle Eastern section of the grocery store. I’ve also used French lentils, which are a little smaller but hold their shape really well. Brown lentils aren’t ideal because they may get too soft.
  • White rice. Use a medium grain rice. Calrose is the brand Doris used in Israel. Brown rice is also an option, but it will give the dish a nuttier flavor. White Basmati rice (long grain) is also a good option.
  • Yellow onions.
  • Olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is best.
  • Water.
  • Ground Cumin. Cumin gives the dish a warm, earthy flavor.
  • Salt. I always add more salt to taste at the end.

How to Make Mujadara

Although there are countless variations to this recipe based on different cultures, this is the way Doris (a Christian Arab woman), from Jaffa makes it. If you ever have the opportunity to visit Israel, book a tour with Nice2Meet Tours, a company that specializes in connecting visitors with local people. This is how we met Doris!

Soak the lentils and rice.

Allow the rice to soak in water. This plumps the grains of rice, allows them to be more digestible and cook more evenly. And the rice can soak while you’re making the onions, so no need to plan too much ahead.

Let the lentils sit in hot water so that they start to soften. This also helps with digestion and allows the lentils to cook more evenly.

Caramelize the Onions.

While the lentils and rice are soaking, start cooking the onions. You’ll notice that these onions are very dark. Doris kept repeating, “Dark onions! They need to be darker!” And although some caramelized onions are very light colored, I’m a crispy fried onion girl, so I was backing Doris up 100%.

sliced onions on a cutting board

Use a mandoline slicer to get slice the yellow onions thinly and safely, then allow them to cook in olive oil until they are a dark golden brown.

Cook the lentils and rice.

  • Remove the onions and set aside. Remove the pan from the heat and allow any remaning oil in the pan to cool.
  • Add water to the skillet. (Start with 3 cups.) (Make sure the pan & oil are cool before adding water or it may spit at you and burn you.)
lentils in water in a skillet
  • Rinse and drain the lentils that have been heating in hot water. Add the lentils to the skillet. The water should be about 1” above the lentils. Add more water if needed. Cover and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes.
cooked lentils with uncooked rice sitting on top in a skillet
  • Rinse and drain the rice, then add the rice to the lentils. Mix well. Add cumin and salt. Stir again.
  • Cover and cook until the rice is tender. (About 10 minutes.) The water should be completely absorbed. If it isn’t, you can drain off any liquid.
lentils and rice in a large skillet

How to Serve Mujadara

Place the lentils in a serving dish and top with the caramelized onions. This is a fairly brown colored dish, so add freshly snipped parsley to the top to bring a pop of color. You can also dollop with labneh (strained yogurt).

lentils and rice with fried onions in a bowl

It is excellent served beside hummus, tabbouleh (parsley salad), avocado salad and warm pitas. Doris also served baba ghanoush, but I haven’t tackled that one yet. Fattoush salad is a great option, too.

overhead view of mujadara with fresh parsley on top
overhead view of mujadara with fresh parsley on top

Mujadara Recipe {Lentils and Rice}

5 from 3 votes
Enjoy authentic Mujadara, a delicious Middle Eastern dish of lentils, rice, and caramelized onions. Try our easy recipe for a healthy, vegan meal.
Servings 6
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Soaking time 30 minutes

Ingredients
 

  • 1 1/2 cups green lentils
  • 3/4 cup medium grain rice (Calrose brand)
  • 2 large yellow onions
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3-4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Instructions
 

  • Look through the lentils and pick out any stones. Rinse the lentils with water and drain. Place in a large bowl.
  • In a medium pot, heat 4 cups of water to steaming over medium-high heat. It doesn't have to boil, but should be very hot.
  • Pour the hot, steaming water over the lentils. Set aside to rest.
  • Soak the rice in water for 30 minutes.
  • Peel the onions, then slice them in half. Then slice each half in thin slices.
  • Pour about ¼ cup olive oil in a large skillet. Set to medium heat.
  • Add the sliced onions. Allow the onions to cook, stirring occasionally, until they are caramelized. They’ll be deeply brown and crisp. (You can make them as crispy as you'd like, but I love them the way Doris taught us to make them…very dark brown!)
  • Remove the onions and set aside.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and allow any remaning oil in the pan to cool.
  • Add water to the skillet. (Start with 3 cups.) (Make sure the pan & oil are cool before adding water or it may spit at you and burn you.)
  • Rinse and drain the lentils that have been heating in hot water.
  • Add the lentils to the skillet. The water should be about 1” above the lentils. Add more water if needed.
  • Cover with a lid and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes.
  • Rinse and drain the rice, then add the rice to the lentils. Mix well.
  • Add cumin and salt. Mix again.
  • Cover and cook until the rice is tender. (About 10 minutes.) The water should be completely absorbed. If it isn't, you can drain off any liquid.
  • Place the lentils in a serving dish and top with the caramelized onions.
  • Serve immediately. Add more salt to taste.
  • Store any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Notes

Refer to the article above for more tips and tricks.
The calories shown are based on the recipe serving 6, with 1 serving being ⅙ of the recipe. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information. The information in the nutrition box are calculated through a program and there is room for error. If you need an accurate count, I recommend running the ingredients through your favorite nutrition calculator.**

Nutrition

Calories: 376kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 593mg | Potassium: 560mg | Fiber: 16g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 24IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 5mg
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Calories 376
Keyword lentils recipe, vegan recipe, vegetarian recipe

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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Mary
1 month ago

Can this recipe be frozen