Mujadara (Rice, Lentil, and Caramelized Onion Pilaf) Recipe | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content

Mujadara (Rice, Lentil, and Caramelized Onion Pilaf)

Keeping a can or two of lentils on hand means you can have this Greek dish on the table without having to cook the lentils beforehand. If you like onions, double the amount when caramelizing.



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1 ½ cups basmati or long-grain brown rice
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½ tsp. salt, divided
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1 Tbs. olive oil
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1 large onion, thinly sliced (2 cups)
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1 15-oz. can brown lentils, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked brown lentils
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½ cup chopped fresh parsley
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1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
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2 tsp. grated lemon zest
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1 tsp. ground cumin


1. Bring rice, 2 1/4 cups water, and 1/4 tsp. salt to a boil in large saucepan. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 30 minutes, or until rice is tender, and all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion and remaining 1/4 tsp. salt. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 30 minutes, or until onion is soft and browned, stirring occasionally.

3. Transfer rice to large bowl, and fluff with fork. Stir in onion, lentils, parsley, thyme, lemon zest, and cumin. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Nutrition Information: 

8 g
Total Fat: 
2 g
Saturated Fat: 
<1 g
59 g
0 mg
281 mg
7 g
3 g
Serves 6

Comments on this Recipe

this dish is actually Egyptian. I am Palestinian and I love it with yogurt and pico de gallo.

I added spinach and it was yummy

Mujadara is an Arabic word for an Arabic recipe. I've eaten it many times in Jordan. Is "Arabic" a bad word in the Vegetarian Times? We eat and share our food too, but the many vegetarian foods of Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, and so on are not featured in your magazine. I guess it's more angelic to be Greek.

Another family favorite. Caramelized onions make it great. It was even better with sweet corn.

I agree. Although I am not Arabic, I eat Middle Eastern food all the time. This would definitely be one of my favorite dishes from the Lebanese restaurant we order from on Atlantic Ave. in Brooklyn

I also agree. I have a Syrian background and this was prepared by my grandmother many years ago. She used cinnamon instead of cumin and NEVER would have used canned lentils! This dish is a complete protein, by the way.

Is there a difference between using cinnamon instead of cumin or is it just a preference? But at any rate, I am going to try and make this! Actually, I have another question. How exactly do you prepare dried lentils?

It is a preference thing. Dried lentils should be rinsed well (a fine strainer is good) then put them in a saucepan and cover with water, about 4 inches above lentils.Add salt to taste. Cook for around 20 minutes or so, depending on the lentils. Keep checking them until they are just tender don't let them get mushy. I love the french green lentils inthis dish, they are a bit firmer also.

Yup this is def a Arabic dish

I like making this when it's cold and i don't feel like going to the store... i use brown rice and like to throw in fresh tomatoes and feta... i don't use less than 3 med size onions unless i don't have that many. dry lentils cook faster than brown rice so i've never used canned.. there's no reason to. I usually use cumin and or corriander but i'll have to try cinnamon one day! This is better the next day btw.

I'm 64 years old Greek,never heard of this "Greek" food

it's a lebanese dish in fact.

I actually make this into a sandwich by using a pita and spreading hummus on it then add this dish as a filling wrapping it up and putting it in the oven for a few minutes to crisp it up. Delicious!

BTW, it's not mujadara but IMJADARA. My ancestry is also Lebanese.

I am Greek and my husband is Arabic. This is absolutely an Arabic dish. He introduced me to the dish. Which by the way is an amazing ARABIC dish. I don't know any Greeks that like cumin.

I followed this recipe but added 1 tsp fresh chopped mint & some raisins and it tastes great.

Anyone ever use tumrtic in this dish? First time I tried it in a Mediterranean Cafe and LOVED it but no one seems to use tumeric in the recipes I googled.

Defiently Arabic....Greek really? An amazing arabic dish :)

this is an arabic dish,not a greek dish!but it is very yummy!