Mujadara is an easy-to-make vegan dish made with rice and lentils and topped with caramelized onions. This Lebanese dish is SUPER simple, flavorful and made in one pot with just a handful of ingredients.
I have been introduced to this recipe for the first time through a Lebanese friend, and I found it SO SO tasty. Since then, I have kept making it from time to time when I crave something meatless.
In my opinion, what makes this tried and tested mujadara recipe so good and tasty is seasoning it with cumin and caramelized onions on top.
What Is Mujadara Means?
Honestly, this dish is popular not only in Lebanon but in all the Middle East. The name comes from the Arabic word Mujaddara, which literally means “pockmarked,” referring to the lentils among the rice which resemble pockmarks. Yes, I know it is not a very appetizing analogy, but the dish definitely is.
Why Does This Recipe Work?
- Mujadara is a vegetarian dish.
- It is a surprisingly inexpensive dish but extremely delicious.
- This recipe is gluten-free and has no dairy.
- It is a filling meal that takes less time to prepare.
- The ingredients are accessible.
What Is In This Mujadara Recipe?
Lentils. I used brown lentils, green lentils also work fine in this recipe.
Rice. I find that white rice is a better choice compared to brown rice in this recipe. I used jasmine rice. Also, basmati rice works well in this recipe. Just avoid short-grain rice; it badly affects the texture of this dish.
Ground cumin and salt. They add dashes of flavour to the recipe.
Olive oil. Caramelizing onions in olive oil give rise to an exciting blend of flavour. According to the Arab mother, when it comes to cooking, it is all in the olive oil. And definitely, using high-quality olive oil will take this recipe to the next level.
Onions. I tested this recipe many times, and I found that the more onions in the recipe, the better it tastes. For that reason, in addition to adding diced onion to the rice and lentils, I also topped it with caramelized sliced onions.
How To Make Mujadara?
One: Rinse both lentils and rice separately. Make sure to rinse them well.
Two: Put the lentils in a large pot with 5-6 cups of water and bring them to a boil. Simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the lentils are not fully cooked, then drain.
Three: Now, add the chopped onions to a large pot, add half of the oil and saute over medium heat until softened (for 1-2 minutes).
Four: Add the rice and lentil to the onions in the pot and season with salt and cumin.
Five: Add the water, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 18-20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and set aside, covered.
Six: In a skillet, heat the remaining oil on medium heat and add the sliced onions; fry for 10-13 minutes or until golden brown and caramelized.
Pro Tip: Be aware that the process of caramelizing the onion is a little bit long; it may take more than 15-20 minutes.
Pro Tip: If you prefer softer caramelized onions, saute the onions on medium-high flame for 10 minutes, and then reduce it to a medium-low flame.
Seven: Top the your lentils and rice dish with the caramelized onions and serve.
- The most common way in which people make the flavour of mujadara vary is by changing the ratio of rice to lentils.
- For extra flavour, use broth instead of water when cooking the rice and lentils.
- Avoid red lentils. Their softer texture will cause the mujadara to become mushy.
- Another traditional way of making this dish is using bulgur instead of rice.
- Adding toasted vermicelli to the rice too, is a great way to enhance the flavour of your dish.
- Raisins can be added in moderate quantity in the last few minutes of cooking for a hint of sweetness.
I like to serve it with Haydari (Turkish Yogurt Dipping Sauce), the tangy flavour of the yogurt goes well with the mujadara, which makes it a great option for a side dish.
Roasted and seasoned veggies are a popular choice of sides along with Mujadara.
Storing: Mujadara keeps for up to 5 days when stored in the fridge in an airtight container. However, I recommend that you store the fried onions separately.
Freezing: In the freezer, Mujadara can last for up to 3 months. Before reheating it, allow it to thaw overnight in the fridge, and you are good to go.
More Vegetarian Rice Recipes
Mujadara Recipe - Lebanese Lentils and Rice
- Rinse both lentils and rice separately and rinse well. Also, chop3 onions and slice one.1 ½ cups brown lentils, ½ cup jasmine rice
- Put the lentils in a large pot with 5-6 cups of water and bring to a boil, simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the lentils ( not fully cooked), then drain.2 cups water
- Now, add the chopped onion to a large pot, add half of the oil and saute over medium heat until softened (for 1-2 minutes).4 onions, 4 tablespoon olive oil
- Add the rice to the onion in the pot and season with salt and cumin.1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon salt
- Add the lentil and water, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 18-20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and set aside covered.
- In a skillet, heat the remaining oil on medium heat and add the sliced onions; fry for 10-13 minutes or until golden brown and caramelized.
- Top mujadara with the caramelized onions and serve.
- If you prefer softer caramelized onions, saute the onions on medium-high flame for 10 minutes, and then reduce it to a medium-low flame.
- Be aware that the process of caramelizing the onion is a little bit long; it may take more than 15-20 minutes.