Mujaddara with Spiced Yogurt

December 30, 2010
11 Ratings
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

During my time living in Israel, my favorite place for upscale-ish dining was an unassuming neighborhood joint that put modern spins on traditional dishes. Their take on mujaddara was actually pretty traditional -- jasmine rice, lentils, loads of caramelized onions -- but they topped it all with a cumin-spiked spiced yogurt that was out of this world. I've tried to replicate it here. I've also substituted puy lentils for the traditional green lentils, as they hold their shape better. One last note: I've found that mujaddara improves with age, as the flavors blend together. - Rivka —Rivka

Test Kitchen Notes

Rumor has it that Mujaddara is not only good, but good for you too (apparently, the combination of lentils, onions and yogurt wields near magical powers -- especially for women). Whatever its health properties, we love the varying textures and flavors: crisp, sweet onions tangle with fluffy jasmine rice and tiny, plump French lentils that burst happily in your mouth; the minted spiced yogurt adds zip and simultaneously ties everything together. Rivka's nuanced dish is a meal all its own, and its fragrance lingers long after you've taken the last bite. - A&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • For the Mujaddara
  • 3/4 cup Puy lentils (aka French lentils, the tiny dark brown ones)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 cups onions (about 3 medium onions), halved and thinly sliced
  • For the yogurt
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin (freshly ground, if possible)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander (freshly ground)
  • 1/2 teaspoon spicy paprika or aleppo pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • Juice and zest of half a lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Put lentils, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 4 cups water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer lentils until soft but not mushy, about 20 minutes. Drain lentils and set aside. Rinse pot.
  3. Add rice, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 1/2 cups water to the pot, set over medium heat, and bring to a boil. When water begins to boil, cover pot, transfer to oven, and cook for 17 minutes (the tried-and-true Amanda Hesser method!) until perfectly cooked. Remove from oven, uncover, and fluff with a fork. Set aside.
  4. While rice cooks, set a wide, deep saute pan over medium-low heat and add butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil. When butter has mostly melted, add onions and toss to incorporate with butter and oil.
  5. After 5 minutes, onions will have softened slightly and started to release their liquid. Raise heat to medium and cook 10 to 12 minutes more, until onions are very soft and browned. Add water by the tablespoon if pan gets too dry or if onions start to stick. When onions are well browned, add last tablespoon of olive oil and raise heat to high. Cook another 3 to 4 minutes, until bottom layer of onions has charred and crisped; try not to stir too much, or onions won't crisp up.
  6. Combine rice, lentils, and most of the onions in large serving bowl and let sit for at least 15 minutes, to marry the flavors together. (Truth be told, this dish improves with age.) Taste, and add more onions if desired. Meanwhile, make the yogurt: mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. (Yes, it's really that simple.)
  7. If mujaddara has cooled significantly, reheat in a low oven or even in the microwave for a couple minutes. To serve, plate a big scoop of mujaddara and top with a dollop of yogurt.
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294 Reviews

Kirsten C. September 27, 2023
Love this recipe and have made it many times. I like to add spinach, kale or Swiss chard to the onions at the end just until the greens are wilted. I've also grilled chicken with Curry seasoning and served the rice lentil dish as a side. Great flavors that get better the next day.
tshah June 16, 2023
Mujaddara is not an Israeli dish. It's Iraqi. And if you experienced it in Israel at least credit Palestine.
ckphx August 29, 2021
Made this tonight almost exactly as directed, (i just found it took the onions longer than stated here to really get to the point of the photo, nearing caramelization and a few crispy bits). Loved how the bumble base ingredients are brought to life with this delicious yogurt. Can't wait to have it again!
Regine February 16, 2021
I made this today using my own (jasmine) white recipe though (less water and with oil). Dish is delicious. But for the yogurt, I prefer it plain or just with some salt.
[email protected] April 16, 2020
Delicious! I did not bake the rice but then, I'm not afraid of making rice stovetop and it always comes out perfect. The dish is delightful and I love all the spices which thankfully I always have in my spice collection. The onions were divine. Thanks for sharing! I've passed this along to friends.
monacake February 5, 2019
Perfect! Made it with brown Jasmine rice (on top of the stove - didn't use the oven) and ate it for lunch every day until it was gone. This will be a regular for me. Thank you so much for sharing.
charles January 4, 2019
This was an interesting dish. While I wasn't a big fan of it, and probably will not make it again, it should be mentioned that I am difficult with lentil dishes. The entire time that we prepared it, we thought a lot of the flavors were strong. Strong on mint, strong on lemon, strong on onion, but at the end they melded well. I think for me this dish would be best as a side or compliment to others than as a main course as we had it. Put this with a platter (pita, naan, hummus, tzatziki sauce, etc.) or add a protein or curry dish, and I think it would be great with it.
patrick September 23, 2016
Yumm i am going to try this. I made ottolenghis version which was quite good!
patrick December 8, 2016
heres how mine turned out, loved this!
Alice September 6, 2016
Can I use Spanish pardina lentils instead? The only brown lentils I saw at the store were the pardina. Otherwise there were French green, and some green/marbled I now believe are puy, but just weren't labeled as such.
insecureepicure September 6, 2016
I think you can use any brown lentil. I haven't made this in a while thanks for reminding me
NotTooSweet April 29, 2016
Oops - my comment below mentioned pistachios by mistake. Obviously there are no nuts in this recipe (although they might be delightful). I also made a shaved asparagus salad from this site that has pistachios in it. I got the two recipe comments a bit confused. The salad was also delicious!
NotTooSweet April 29, 2016
Just made this last night and needed to add to the chorus of YUM! Made it as directed in recipe and thought it was perfect even without any spiced yogurt. I can see how a variety of nuts and grains would work, but I really did love the sweet crunch of the pistachios and the combo of French lentils and jasmine rice. Thanks for a great recipe!
KM January 26, 2016
I've made this many times. I fry some tofu and put it on top while the flavours meld at the end. Tonight's dish is in honour of the UN 2016 year of the pulses :).
Elinoar M. January 1, 2016
It must be noted that the features is not an original. I think it was adapted Rivka's kitchen.
it is a middle eastern dish. Jews of Syria and Egypt used to add yogurt. Never with butter though.
Elinoar Moore - Israel
Sarina H. December 31, 2015
I live in a house of carnivores and we enjoyed this dish very much with grilled sausages and sautéed bok choy. Next time, I'd like to try to make homemade naan with it--that would be the perfect addition.
Marie May 12, 2015
Amazing! It seems so simple that it is unbelievable this is so appealing. I frequently eat the yogurt part by itself. It is delicious and no sugar!
Mamasays March 22, 2015
This was an amazing dish. Simple with all the ingredients in the pantry ready to go. Thank you for sharing. I will be making this for a long time to come
Transcendancing December 22, 2014
Wow, tried this for dinner tonight and am really delighted by it! So much delicious flavour from unassuming ingredients! I toasted 1/2 a cinnamon stick with my coriander and cumin seeds then ground them up and I think it added something to the spice yoghurt flavour. Will definitely make this again!
Patricia November 26, 2014
Made a version of this yesterday where I skipped the yogurt (couldn't be bothered to go to the shop so worked with what I had at home) and incorporated the spices with the onions instead. Served with harissa chicken and raw onion (persian style) and died and went to food heaven. LOVE this rice dish!
Sam November 11, 2014
Excellent recipe! Thank you.
sassygirl711 September 1, 2014
so yummy! i loved the browned vidalia onions
with the puy lentils and added vadouvan to the mix. can't wait for tomorrow's leftovers. :)