Lebanese Mujadara is the ultimate Middle Eastern comfort food that is made with pantry staples, a]nd is ready in only 30 minutes!

What Is Mujudara?

Mujadara is a traditional Arab cuisine that is cooked with brown or green lentils, rice, and spices like coriander, cumin, and mint. The dish is typically served with yogurt and a variety of vegetables or side dishes, including fried onions. 

Rice and brown lentils are the main ingredients. In Lebanon, mjaddara pertains to the puréed version of the dish rather than the whole grains and lentils version. The Lebanese version, mudardara, has a more rice pudding-like consistency while the traditional Mjaddara has the unique textures of rice and lentils. Typically eaten with yogurt or a salad, mujaddara, and mudardara both include caramelized onions on top.

See, Lentil Meatballs, Lentil Stew, and Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

mujadara recipe close up on grey plate, garnished with caramelized onion and

History Of Mujadara

During Lent, Arab Christians usually eat mujaddara.

Mujadara is among the oldest Middle Eastern dishes. The dish’s oldest recorded recipe appears in a 1226 A.D. cookbook titled “Kitab al Tabikh,” which translates as “The Book of Dishes (Chovanec).”

The meal was developed out of a desire to deliver optimum nutrients at less cost. As a result, it was well-liked by the Middle Eastern countries’ lower classes.

Its country of origin is uncertain, although it is widely accepted in Egypt and some South African nations as well as the Eastern Mediterranean region. Due to the dish’s popularity in several Middle Eastern nations, it is known by a variety of names. In Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine, it is named as Mujaddara, whereas in Syria and Egypt, it is renowned as Mudardara. These names have a variety of regional spellings, including Moujadara, Mejadara, and Megadarra.

Like many Middle Eastern foods, it’s vegetarian, reflecting its roots as a low-class dish. Foods like Mujaddara would satisfy the family’s nutritional needs in place of meat, which would be too expensive. The dish’s name means “pockmarked” and alludes to the lentils that appear among the rice.

Due to its association with the Bible, this meal is also popular within the Egyptian and Syrian Jewish communities. 

Easy Lebanese Mujadara

It is also referred to as “Esau’s favorite.” Jews traditionally eat it twice a week, once hot on Thursday evenings and once cold on Sundays. The Levant Druze community enjoys this meal as well.

Palestinians substitute rice with bulgur to create a dish known as m’jaddaret-burghul, distinguishing it from the traditional m’jaddara. Families serve this dish multiple times a month, which consists of strips of onion cooked in olive oil and served with green salad and laban n’aj – a plain sheep’s-milk yogurt from Nablus.

In Egyptian cuisine, a similar dish “known as kushari” is consisting of lentils, macaroni, rice, and tomato sauce. In Indian cuisine, lentils and rice cooked together are referred to as khichdi. A similar rice-and-lentil dish is known as addas polo in Iranian cuisine.

Mujaddara is quite similar to the Cypriot dish fakes moutzentra, which also includes rice and lentils. Fakes mean lentils in Greek.

Why You Should Try Mujadara?

There are lots of reasons that will entice and compel you to try this Mujadara recipe, including the following:

  • It requires simple ingredients and is incredibly easy to prepare.
  • It is a one-pot recipe that makes cleanup easy.
  • It’s delicious and satisfying.
  • It is free of nuts, soy, and gluten.
  • It is healthy.
  • It can be customized. You can add some small chopped vegetables like carrots, potatoes, peas, etc.

mujadara ringredients on beige background

Ingredients Required For Making Mujadara

  • Brown lentils – Although I use brown lentils, some recipes call for black lentils as well. Do not use yellow or orange lentils in this dish, as they have a delicate texture and become mushy when cooked.
  • Brown rice – My preferred types of rice are brown basmati or whole-grain brown rice.
  • Onions – Caramelized onion infuses lentils and rice with taste, so don’t cut back. You may utilize yellow, red, a combo of the two, or shallots.
  • Salt – In order to increase flavor, salt is the most important ingredient. I used pink salt. But you can use your favorite one.
  • Chili flakes – My favorite ingredient! Bring the perfect heat! Substitute with cayenne pepper.
  • Coriander powder – Coriander powder adds the perfect aroma!
  • Turmeric – Adds a robust flavor and a bright yellow color.
  • Cumin seeds – Do not omit the cumin seeds, this is a necessary ingredient of Mujadara.
  • Oil – I use olive oil, but you may use any neutral cooking oil, such as avocado oil. To make oil-free mujaddara, you might use vegetable broth or water.

How To Make Mujadara 

  1. Wash and soak lentils and rice.
  2. In a pan heat some oil and fry onions until brown and set aside.
  3. Par boil lentils.
  4. In the same pan, add parboiled lentils, half of the fried onions along with all the dry spices.
  5. Fry for a minute and add in soaked brown rice.
  6. Add water according to the rice. ( you may use reserved lentil water, just to enhance the flavor)
  7. Cover and cook on low flame.
  8. Once done, serve with the remaining fried onions.
  9. Enjoy this absolute comfort food!

How To Serve Mujadara

There are a variety of sides you may try with mujadara, but since it is such a rich, flavorful dish, I would advise a plain, fresh salad. You’ll adore this simple recipe for Israeli salad from a fellow blogger. Another excellent alternative for a side dish is batata harra, which pairs beautifully with mujadara.

Storage Suggestions

Refrigerator: The leftover mujadara can be kept there for up to three days in an airtight container.

Freeze: You may keep mujadara for up to a month in the freezer by placing them in a zip-top bag or freezer-safe container. Before reheating, let the food defrost overnight in the refrigerator.

Reheat: Reheat the rice by sprinkling it with water and reheating it in a microwave or on a burner until it is thoroughly heated.

Tips For Making Mujadara:

  • For this recipe, green lentils can be used. Use red or orange lentils instead. Their softer texture will make the mujadara (mudardara) recipe’s mushy consistency possible.
  • Long-grain basmati rice is the greatest choice for this dish’s flavor.
  • Since lentils require a longer cooking time, the first step in making Mujadara is to soak them in water for a few hours before you want to cook them.
  • Because the onions are so crucial to this recipe, you want them to be a rich brown color without being burnt. So keep an eye on the onions’ color while you fried them. If they are getting too brown too fast and not evenly, turn down the heat.
  • Be patient because frying onions takes a long time, but it’s well worth it. To obtain a crispy texture, fry onions in batches.
  • The cooking time for lentils will vary depending on the type of lentils you use and the hardness of your water. Check the instructions on the package for the recommended cooking time, and watch them carefully to prevent mushy results.
  • Rice should be well washed to remove all starch. It will assist in producing fluffy rice.
  • Allow the rice to steam and cook for five minutes with the lid on.
  • Serve hot and sprinkle with a lot of fried onions. The more, the better.

Optional Add-Ins And Recipe Variations:

  • Garlic: Sauté garlic (about 1–2 cloves) briefly in olive oil until it becomes translucent, then mix with the rice in the pan. By doing this, you can add more flavor to the rice and lentils.
  • Spice: Chili powder can be added for heat.
  • Cinnamon: Cinnamon is a common ingredient in this Lebanese cuisine; use around 1/4 teaspoon.
  • Lemon: Both the lentils and rice would benefit from the addition of fresh lemon juice (and optionally, lemon zest) before serving.
  • Raisins: For it to be “lightly studded” with raisins, I suggest adding around 1/3 cup. For a slight plumping, add in the final few minutes of cooking.
  • Vegetables: Although not traditional, feel free to add peas, carrots, and even potatoes.
  • Pine nuts: lightly roasted for garnish.

Frequently Asked Questions

Best Lentils For Mujadara?

You can make this dish with either brown lentils (masoor dal) or green lentils. Don’t use lentils from a can.

Is Mujadara Healthy?

Both lentils and whole-grain rice have acceptable concentrations of B vitamins. These water-soluble vitamins aid in the conversion of protein, carbohydrates, and fat into useful energy. They are especially high in thiamin, niacin, and vitamin B-6. Each cup contains at least 10 percent of the daily value recommendation.

How To Store Mujadara?

You can keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Put them in a ziplock bag or freezer-safe container to preserve them for up to a month if you wish to freeze them.

Is Mujadara Vegan?

Yes, the Lebanese recipe for mujadara is naturally vegetarian and vegan.

What Does Mujaddara Mean In English?

The Arabic word for this dish is mujaddara, which translates to “pockmarked” in English because the lentils and rice types are like pockmarks.

If you like and enjoy this recipe, please leave a comment to let me know your feedback. Have fun cooking!

Other Rice Recipes

  1. Jollof Rice
  2. Turmeric Coconut Rice
  3. Jamaican Rice And Peas
  4. Pigeon Peas And Rice
  5. Brown Rice Chickpea Biryani

Mujadara recipe on a grey plate

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Lebanese mujadara in a white plate on a white background

Lebanese Mujadara

Lebanese Mujadara is the ultimate Middle Eastern comfort food that is made with pantry staples, a]nd is ready in only 30 minutes!
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Entrée, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Keyword: Lebanese mujadara
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 430kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 2 large onions thinly sliced and divided
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon coriander powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups water

Instructions

  • Wash and soak lentils and rice.
  • In a pan heat some oil and fry onions until brown and set aside.
  • Parboil lentils for about 20 minutes
  • In the same pan, add parboiled lentils, half of the fried onions along with all the dry spices.
  • Fry for a minute and add in soaked brown rice.
  • Add water according to the rice. ( you may use reserved lentil water, just to enhance the flavor)
  • Cover and cook on low flame.
  • Once done, serve with the remaining fried onions.
  • This mujadara is an absolute comfort food!

Nutrition

Calories: 430kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 601mg | Potassium: 690mg | Fiber: 17g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 130IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 5mg