Mujadara is a simple Lebanese lentil and rice dish with crispy onions that's packed with flavor. This lentils and rice recipe calls for only a few ingredients and is very easy to make.
The recipes I have on this blog tend to be simple yet really delicious and this mujadara is no different. Just like Lebanese vermicelli rice, Turkish rice pilaf with orzo or Persian lentil rice, this dish is also made with a few ingredients that you probably already have on hand. It's an inexpensive dish that comes together in no time. Your whole family will love it!
Table Of Contents:
What Is Mujadara?
Mujadara, also known as mujaddara, , mujadarah, mejadra, mudardara and moujadara, is a lentil and rice dish of originating in the Levant. One of the first mujadara recipes was found in Iraq and included rice, lentils and meat.
Mujaddara used to be served as a celebration dish but when served without meat was considered a meal for poor people. This easy vegan recipe will amaze you by how simple yet outstanding it is. Once you give it a try, you will always go back for seconds and thirds!
- Rice: This dish is made with white rice and you can use long grain or short grain. My preference is basmati rice because it gets nice and fluffy after cooking. If you prefer using brown rice, you need to adjust the cooking time as it will take longer to cook.
- Lentils: Traditionally, you need dark brown lentils for mujadara which are a bit difficult to find in regular supermarkets, but they are available online or at Middle Eastern shops. Here I used regular green lentils that you can find in every supermarket. Both green and brown lentils would work for this recipe but make sure not to use red lentils.
- Spices: You need a combination of salt, cinnamon and cumin. If you're not a fan of cinnamon you can just leave it out.
- Onion: All the flavor of this dish comes from the onions. Use at least 4 onions for this recipe. You need two to cook with the rice and lentils and two to fry and top the dish.
How To Make Mujadara
- Heat some olive oil over medium heat and start frying the sliced onions until they are golden brown. Fried onions are what bring so much flavor to this lentil and rice recipe.
- Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Sauté chopped onion and once it's golden, add in lentils and give it a nice stir for about two minutes.
- Add in the rice and cook for about a minute. Season with cumin, cinnamon and salt and then add the water.
- Bring to a simmer and then cover and cook until lentils and rice are fully cooked. If the water is completely absorbed but the rice and lentils are not fully cooked, add ⅛ cup more water and cook for some more minutes.
- Once the rice and lentils are completely cooked, let the lentil and rice sit for a few minutes. Fill a platter with mujadara and then top it with the fried onion. Serve warm.
Tips To Make Mujadara
- Fried onion: The key is to fry the onions on medium heat and keep a close eye on them. You don't want them to be super soft and mushy, you want them to keep their shape yet be all golden and brown. We will top our our dish with this fried onion.
- Quality ingredients: This recipe uses a handful of simple ingredients therefore its best to find use the best quality available to get the best flavor.
- Let it rest: This will allow the flavors to come together and the dish would taste better.
Mujadara is a complete meal on its own and it would go so well with a bowl of yogurt (check out my instructions to make homemade yogurt) or fresh salad such as fattoush or salad shirazi. You can also serve mujaddara with some grilled chicken, lamb or beef. It even makes a great side dish for beef shish kabob with toum or chicken shish kabob.
Storage and Freezing Instructions
Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. To reheat, place the mujadara in a pan and add 2 tablespoons water. Cover and cook on medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes until completely heated through.
Rice and lentil freezes so well. Therefore you can make a big batch and use some for your meal prep and freeze the rest. Simply transfer the rice and lentils into freezer safe containers and freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, you can either use a microwave or transfer the rice to a small pot and add ⅓ cup water, cover and heat over medium low until warm and heated through.
Frequently Asked Questions
You sure can. Mujadara is typically made with long grain rice such as basmati rice but you can use jasmine or even brown rice. However, you should modify the cooking time and the amount of water according to the type of rice you use.
Absolutely! You can make mujadara ahead of time and simply heat it right before serving. However, I strongly suggest you make the caramelized onion fresh as it will taste so much better. You can make the caramelized onion as the rice is heating.
While some recommend doing so, I don't find it very necessary. If you have the time, soak them for 30 minutes or so, however, you will have equally delicious mujadara if you don't soak the lentils and rice.
More lentil recipes
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Mujadara Lebanese Lentils and Rice with Crispy Onions
- 5 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 onions thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 onions chopped
- 1 ½ cup lentils
- 1 ½ cup long grain rice
- 1 ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 cups water
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- Heat olive oil over in a pan over medium heat. Cook onions until brown and golden. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Saute onion until golden brown.
- Add in lentils and cook for two to three minutes.
- Add rice, cumin and cinnamon to the lentils. Stir well so everything is completely combined.
- Pour water into the pot with salt, bring to simmer and let it cook for about 30-40 minutes until the lentil and rice is completely cooked.
- Mix the lentils and rice with caramelized onion and serve with plain yogurt and salad.
- You can use jasmine or brown rice for Mujadara recipe but cooking time will be different.
- Check the rice after 30 minutes and if it's not cooked, add ¼ cup more water.
- You can use other kinds of rice such as medium grain rice or even brown rice. Remember the cooking time and the amount of water used would vary depending on the type of rice you're using.
- Freezing instructions: Transfer the rice and lentils into freezer safe containers and freeze for up to three months. To serve, you can either use a microwave or transfer the rice to a small pot and add ⅓ cup water, cover and heat over medium low until warm and heated through.
That's my childhood on a plate. In my family it was always served with finely shredded cabbage dressed up with lime juice, salt and olive oil - that was Saturday's lunch and we all ate until the pants were about to burst. Mujaddara is my absolute favorite dish to this day, I don't care how peasant it is.
This is an amazing dish. I love how humble it is while at the same time being loaded with great flavors!
This is our favorite lunch recipe! Sometimes we serve it as a side dish for dinner! Such flavor!
This is such a flavorful side dish! I served it along side of grilled lamb chops and it was absolutely a perfect combination! Thanks!
I can eat this Mujadara on the regular! It's so easy and delicious and the perfect way to make lentils lovable. Thanks for the recipe 🙂
My kiddos and I made this together! We have been spending a lot more time in the kitchen lately and its so fun. They really enjoyed making this recipe but they enjoyed eating it even more! Thanks for this delish creation, we are adding it to our “make again” list!! I've previously had this at a resturant and LOVE it. So I am excited the kids wanted to try it at home and they now love it too!
So, so good!! Thank you for this great receipe! So easy and yet fragrant and satisfying. Great week-night dish.
Glad you enjoyed it!
Thanks - I have a bag of pardina lentils that I didn't know what to do with.
What about pardina lentils?
Those would work as well 🙂
A great dish, I had it at a Lebanese restaurant but this recipe tastes 100% better. By the way you can buy the black lentils in Asian shops or major supermarkets in the UK
Rosetta, thank you for your kind comment, I'm happy to know you enjoyed this dish!
Hii. Sorry for the correction but this recipe is called modardara. Moujadara has to crushed to get a creamy paste, which is delicious as well.
Hi Lara, thank you for your comment. I didn't know of the name modardara. As I checked before and also just a few minutes ago, Wikipedia suggests that this dish is called mujadara (with a few spelling variations) but I would love to know more about the moujadara you just mentioned. Is it the same recipe, but crushed into a paste? Thank you for sharing your knowledge 🙂
This recipe looks fabulous! I can't wait for my home to be filled with the delicious aroma of this dish!
Such an amazing recipe, made this today and it was a hit! A keeper to say the least
This looks fantastic! I'm dying over those onions - yum!
Onions make lentils and rice SO good!
This is such a beautiful recipe! I have everything on hand in my kitchen to make it. It's going on my menu plan this week. Thanks for sharing this incredible dish!
Hope you enjoy this lentils and rice dish Renee!