Lebanese Green Lentils and Rice Pilaf with Caramelized Onions (Mujaddara)

Lebanese Green Lentils and Rice Pilaf with Caramelized Onions (Mujaddara)

What is cooking in your kitchen for dinner this evening? How does Mujaddara — a lentil and long-grain rice pilaf flavored with spices and olive oil and laced with sweet caramelized onions sound? Prepare a side of fresh parsley, cucumber and tomato salad and a bowl of minty yogurt and you have yourself a feast!

There is a cartload of Mujaddara recipes out there and this one has been successfully tried, tested and modified by me while still keeping in mind the authenticity of this amazing dish.

I kinda have a thing for Basmati rice and that is what I used here. You can use any kind of rice for this recipe, really. However, note that this will affect your cooking time. I used extra virgin olive oil for cooking the rice and lentils because this dish really calls for that deep flavor of olives which you will not get from regular or even pure olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is what you get from the first press of the olives and it is rich in nutrients and full of flavor. This oil is sensitive to high temperatures and light and this is the reason why they come in dark colored bottles. Treat it with care and this oil can work wonders for your health, hair and skin.

Two important elements make this dish a visual treat long brown ribbons of crunchy caramelized onion with the slightest hint of sweetness and last but not the least, perfectly fluffy and individually separate grains of rice. And, guess what? I have figured out foolproof methods for getting these right.


Mujaddara is a perfect one-dish dinner and you will be blown away by the taste of this super simple pilaf. Crush some dried mint between your fingers and mix it into a bowl of greek yogurt with a generous spritz of lemon juice. Honestly, a citrus-kissed bowl of creamy yogurt and some lush salad is all that you will need to enjoy this dish.

Lebanese Green Lentils and Rice Pilaf with Caramelized Onions (Mujaddara)

Serves 4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 2 hours
Total time 2 hours, 5 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegan
Meal type Dinner, Lunch
Misc Serve Hot


  • 1 cup Green Lentils
  • 1 cup Basmati Rice
  • 3 Large Onions (finely sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon Cumin Seeds
  • 3/4 tablespoons Coriander Powder
  • 1/4 tablespoon Cinnamon Powder
  • 1/4 tablespoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Sea Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Pure Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil


Fry onions in 1 cup oil. To get perfect caramelized onions, fry them on medium-high for about 20 minutes by sautéeing occasionally for the first 5 to 7 minutes and then constantly for the rest of the time. Do not leave them unattended.
Wash lentils and cover and boil for 15 minutes in 2 cups water. Drain and keep aside. Save the water they were cooked in.
In a non-stick pot, heat extra virgin olive oil on medium heat and throw in the spices and stir just until the cumin seeds start to crackle.
Quickly add in the rice as you do not want to burn the spices and fry the rice for 2 minutes.
Throw in a quarter of the fried onions and all of the lentils into the pot along with 3 cups of water including the reserved water from cooking the lentils.
Season with salt and, cover and cook on medium heat for 20 minutes or until all the water has evaporated.
Turn off the heat and remove the pot from the hot stove. Cover the pot tightly with foil paper and leave it for 1 hour to steam and complete cooking.
After this, use a fork to fluff up the rice and gently mix in the rest of the onions just before serving.

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