My Mujadara

January 20, 2017
3 Ratings
Photo by Jonathan Lovekin
  • Serves 6 to 8
Author Notes

This recipe is based loosely on mujadara, a staple of the Middle East that has many variations depending on the country or even the community. It’s often served as a side dish, but I like it as a main course, especially when serving a group. If you have time, pan-fried caramelized onion slices are a great garnish.

Excerpted from Mad Hungry Family by Lucinda Scala Quinn (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2016. Photographs by Jonathan Lovekin. —Lucinda Scala Quinn

What You'll Need
  • 2 cups lentils
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups white basmati or jasmine rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  1. Place the lentils in a medium pot and add water to cover by 1 inch. Boil until just tender, about 15 minutes, depending on the size and age of the lentils. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a medium pot over high heat and swirl in the oil. When it shimmers, add the onions and garlic and cook until lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes. Regulate the heat to avoid burning the garlic. Stir in the cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, and cayenne and cook for 2 minutes. Add the rice and stir to lightly toast and coat with spices, about 3 minutes. Stir the cooked lentils into the rice.
  3. Pour in the water and add the salt. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the liquid has been absorbed, about 20 minutes.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Barbara St John
    Barbara St John
  • Katherine Miller
    Katherine Miller
  • Eve
  • Gretchen Hoffmann
    Gretchen Hoffmann
  • Lucinda Scala Quinn
    Lucinda Scala Quinn

24 Reviews

Barbara S. May 5, 2017
Soup! Leftovers are terrific for soup. I usually saute some more chopped onion and some chopped carrots and celery and add ether vegetable or chicken stock until I'm happy with the amount of liquid. Chopped tomatoes are a good add on and if you are not vegetarian/vegan another great add on is Italian turkey or pork sausage, crumbled and sautéed before you add it. Best to saute all the added ingredients first in olive oil then add the stock and left over lentils and rice to taste. Also nice with a dollop of yogurt on top and some chopped cilantro but I love cilantro and not everyone does. Some chopped parsley would work well too.
susan March 27, 2017
I made this with brown rice so I cooked my lentils separately and added them to the rice mix once it was finished. It was difficult to keep the garlic from burning when I added it with the onions to oil on high heat. I turned down the heat immediately but I rushed through the cooking onions, toasting spices and rice to keep the garlic from burning. Next time I will add the garlic at a later point.
Katherine M. February 20, 2017
This is delicious! I live alone and this recipe makes a lot, so as suggested by Lucinda, I froze the leftovers. I just used the leftovers to make stuffed peppers. I sautéed some diced crimini mushrooms in the same spices used in the recipe and added the leftover mujadara. I also added golden raisins. Instead of a tomato based sauce, I made spicy coconut curry sauce. I garnished the peppers with cilantro and toasted pine nuts. Delicious!
Eve February 6, 2017
I made this last night and it was delicious. I caramelized lots of extra onions to top it with - this is how it's served at my local Lebanese restaurant. It makes a huge amount - will be great for a pot luck. I'm having it tonight with fried eggs on top - thanks for the suggestion ellana!!
Lucinda S. February 6, 2017
You can also freeze one cooked Eve, Best, LSQ
Eve February 6, 2017
Thanks - I'll freeze some for my son for the next time he visits from school! !
adeaner January 31, 2017
so delicious and very easy. I used jasmine rice and de puy lentils and it was perfectly cooked in the time described in the recipe. It made a huge amount, we had it for a dinner party and tons of leftovers after.
Lucinda S. January 31, 2017
Music to my ears!
ellana January 31, 2017
We served it with a fried egg on top for dinner. Makes more then 8 servings. Be prepared to have leftovers.
Lucinda S. January 31, 2017
Yes, and those leftovers can be frozen too!
June January 29, 2017
Great dish! I sprout my lentils before cooking them. Ups the nutritional anti and makes them more digestible. Although I love light fragrant jasmin rice, I often sprout brown rice and use in its place. Again, ups the nutrition digestion, but also soaking and sprouting the rice strips out some of the arsenic.
Lucinda S. January 31, 2017
Sounds like a great idea AND brown rice also comes in different varieties too.
Fawn January 25, 2017
really liked this recipe! my family loved it too. lots of leftovers for lunches. my 11 year old loves having this rice/lentil dish in her lunch bag. great vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, dish for any meal. I will add more onions next time I make it and I think I'll cook the onions for 20 minutes to get a more caramelized flavor.
Lucinda S. January 31, 2017
More onions--always a great idea!
Gretchen H. January 23, 2017
what kind of lentils work best for this recipe? recently I used red lentils in a soup and they disintegrated.
Lucinda S. January 23, 2017
Gretchen, in general brown and green varieties retain their shape. I've used French green and Puy, regular brown and black beluga. Best,LSQ
emily January 23, 2017
if you wanted to use brown rice, could you add uncooked lentils to the rice instead of pre-cooking them?
Lucinda S. January 23, 2017
Emily, I've never done but it's a great idea. Add 1/4 cup liquid per cup of rice and cook for at least an extra 15-20 minutes. Best, LSQ
Amy M. January 30, 2017
In addition to the 2 Cups of water already in the recipe?
Amy M. January 30, 2017
Opps 3 cups
Lucinda S. January 31, 2017
Caroline M. November 9, 2018
I did this. Added the dry brown rice and dry (green) lentils together, where the recipe says add the rice. Sloshed in a load of liquid and it was perfect!
Katie January 23, 2017
How do you keep the lentils from overcooking and falling apart if they are already cooked when you add them into the rice?
Lucinda S. January 23, 2017
Katie, cook the lentils to al dente (which depends on age of lentil so start tasting after 5-10 minutes). The brown and green varieties generally hold their shape.