Mujadara is a deeply satisfying Lebanese recipe made with blended lentils, rice, and caramelized onions. Mujadara is vegan-friendly, very inexpensive to make, tastes delicious, and reheats really well.
There are different types of mujadara, This version of mujadara, known as mujadara msufaye, has a texture similar to refried beans. I recommend eating this mujadara with a mint shredded cabbage salad and pita bread.
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What I Love About This Recipe
The thing I love about mujadara is the caramelized onions. Sometimes, I double the onions just to make sure I have enough because I like to have some caramelized onions in every bite. I also love how I feel after eating mujadara. It's packed full of fiber and protein, so it keeps me full for a relatively long time.
- Lentils: This mujadara recipe uses brown or green lentils. Any other type of lentil, including red lentils, is not a suitable substitute because they cook too quickly.
- Rice: I prefer short grain rice like Calrose rice for this recipe, however, medium grain rice is suitable as well. If using long grain rice, add an extra cup of water at the end of the recipe when the rice is added to the lentils.
- Onions: I like to use white onions, brown onions, or sweet onions for this recipe. Green onions are not suitable, and I think red onions throw off the taste a tad bit.
- Olive oil: The best part of this dish is the caramelized onions, and they are made by slowly sauteing the onions in olive oil until they caramelize.
- Spices: Ground cumin, allspice, and freshly cracked black pepper.
How to Make Mujadara
Boil the lentils until they are soft (about 45 minutes). Lentils vary in cooking time, so cook as long as needed for them to be tender.
While the lentils are cooking, prepare the caramelized onions.
In a nonstick skillet on medium-high heat, add the oil. Once the oil heats up, add the onions. Cook until they begin to caramelize.
Add in the rinsed and drained rice.
Mix the rice and caramelized onions on the stove for about one to two minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Once the lentils are done cooking, blend them with an immersion blender.
Add the caramelized onions and rice mixture.
Make sure the stovetop is on a very low setting. Cover the pot and cook the lentils and rice until the rice is tender (about 25 to 30 minutes) stirring every 3 to 5 minutes.
Important: Stir the mujadara every 3 to 5 minutes to make sure the rice doesn't stick on the bottom of the pot. Do not cook at a higher temperature than low.
The consistency of the mujadara should be similar to refried beans when it's finished. Continue cooking the mujadara on low until the consistency reaches this thickness. Add in the ground cumin, ground allspice, salt, and pepper. Serve alongside a shredded cabbage salad and pita bread.
Tips and Tricks
- Make sure there's adequate water. When cooking the lentils, make sure there is always enough water so the lentils don't burn or stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Water varies depending on the lentil. The easiest way to get the right texture for this recipe is to adjust cooking time on low heat.
- After adding the rice, stir every 3 to 5 minutes. The rice can stick on the bottom of the pot, so it's important to stir frequently.
Substitutions and Variations
- Top the mujadara with extra caramelized onions.
- Use either green lentils or brown lentils.
- Use a food processor in lieu of an immersion blender to blend the lentils. An immersion blender is the easiest, but a food processor works also.
- Don't blend the mujadara at all which has a little more chunky consistency.
If you keep mujadara in an airtight container in the fridge, it should be good for 5 days. The best way to reheat mujadara is in the microwave.
- Large stockpot
- Nonstick frying pan
- An immersion blender (or food processor)
Mujadara is pronounced moo-jada-ra.
Yes! Lentil rice is made with lentils and rice only. If desiring to make this even healthier, you can substitute brown rice for white rice.
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Mujadara Msufaye - Lebanese Lentils and Rice
- 5¼ cups brown or green lentils about 2 lbs
- 15 cups water to boil the lentils, see note 3
- ⅓ cup short-grain rice
- 2 large onions or 3 medium onions
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoon ground allspice in Arabic behar helo
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Salt to taste
Make the Lentils and Rice
- Cook the lentils covered on medium-high heat in a large pot of water (about 15 cups) for about 45 minutes or until tender. Stir the lentils every 15 minutes.
- While the lentils are cooking, prepare the caramelized onions. Peel and chop the onions. In a nonstick pan on medium-high heat, add the olive oil and vegetable oil. Add the onions. Once the onions start to brown, turn the heat to medium heat. Slowly cook the onions until they caramelize. Add the rinsed and drained rice. Continue to cook for one to two minutes. Set aside.
- Once the lentils are soft, blend with a hand immersion blender. Turn the heat on low. Add the rice and caramelized onion mixture, stirring every 3 to 5 minutes until the rice is finished (about 30 minutes). Keep the mujadara covered while cooking. The mujadara is finished when the rice is tender and the consistency is like refried beans.
- Season with allspice, ground cumin, black pepper, and salt. Serve with pita bread and shredded cabbage salad.
- If using a food processor in lieu of a handheld blender, add the mixture to the food processor. Blend on high until smooth. Pour the mujadara into a large dish.
- To save time making this dish, caramelize the onions while the lentils are cooking.
- Depending on the lentils and cooking setup, this recipe may need more water (about 2 to 5 cups more water). Adjust as needed.