Mujadara (Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions) Recipe

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Gregory Published: January 6, 2021 Modified: October 21, 2021
Mujadara (Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions) Recipe

How To Make Mujadara (Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions)

Mujadara is a Middle Eastern dish that layers rice and lentils at the bottom and caramelized onions on top. It’s a great-tasting vegetarian main dish.

Preparation: 25 minutes
Cooking: 35 minutes
Total: 1 hour

Serves:

Ingredients

  • 4clovesgarlic,smashed and peeled
  • 2bay leaves
  • 1tbspground cumin
  • tspfine sea salt,divided
  • black pepper,freshly ground
  • 5cupswater
  • 1cupbrown basmati rice,(regular, not quick-cooking), rinsed and drained
  • 1cupregular brown lentils,or green lentils, picked over for debris, rinsed and drained
  • cupextra-virgin olive oil
  • 2largeyellow onions,halved and thinly sliced
  • ½cupgreen onions,thinly sliced, from 1 bunch, divided
  • ½cupfresh cilantro,or flat-leaf parsley, chopped and divided
  • Plain whole-milk,or Greek yogurt, for serving
  • Spicy sauce,for serving, optional: shatta or zhoug or store-bought chili-garlic sauce or even sriracha

Instructions

  1. In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, combine the garlic, bay leaves, cumin, 1½ teaspoons of the salt and about 20 twists of freshly ground black pepper. Add the water and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.

  2. Once boiling, stir in the rice and reduce the heat to medium. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain a controlled simmer.

  3. Stir in the lentils and let the mixture return to a simmer. Cover again, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for about 20 to 23 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the rice and lentils are tender.

  4. Meanwhile, warm the olive oil in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat. When it iss warm enough that a slice of onion sizzles on contact, add the remaining onions. Stir to combine.

  5. Stir only every 3 minutes or so at first, then more often once the onions at the edges of the pan start browning. If the onions are browning before they have softened, dial down the heat to give them more time. Cook for 20 ro 30 minutes, until the onions are deeply caramelized and starting to crisp at the edges. In the meantime, line a large plate or cutting board with a couple paper towels.

  6. Using a slotted spoon or fish spatula, transfer the onions to the lined plate and spread them evenly across. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt over the onions.

  7. When the lentils and rice are done cooking, drain off any excess water (if there is any) and return the mixture to the pot, off the heat. Lay a kitchen towel across the top of the pot to absorb steam, then cover the pot and let it rest for 10 minutes.

  8. Remove the lid, discard the bay leaves, and smash the garlic cloves against the side of the pan with a fork. Add about ¾ of the green onions and cilantro, reserving the rest for garnish. Gently stir and fluff the rice with a fork. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if necessary.

  9. Transfer the rice and lentil mixture to a large serving platter or bowl. Top with the caramelized onions and the remaining green onions and cilantro. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature, with yogurt and spicy sauce (optional) on the side.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 548.50kcal
  • Fat: 20.39g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.92g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 13.96g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.73g
  • Carbohydrates: 76.98g
  • Fiber: 9.09g
  • Sugar: 4.93g
  • Protein: 17.23g
  • Sodium: 1045.05mg
  • Calcium: 93.34mg
  • Potassium: 643.50mg
  • Iron: 5.61mg
  • Vitamin A: 16.25µg
  • Vitamin C: 11.79mg
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