Mujadara is a signature Middle Eastern dish made with spiced rice, lentils, and caramelized onions. It’s packed with flavors and a variety of pleasant textures that complement each other. Perfect for family dinners, potlucks, and holiday events!
Mujadara is one of my favorite Middle Eastern recipes made with three main ingredients: lentils, rice, and onions. The other ingredients in the recipe are simply spices and oil. As simple as this recipe is, it’s one of the most unique and delicious dishes that we keep on rotation. I was introduced to this recipe through my Palestinian-American friend Danielle. She is one of my long-term friends that I love dearly. I made this recipe after reading a few different blogs and I followed a part of each of these three recipes to keep it as authentic as possible and work with the ingredients and methods I had available:
I learned that the secret to authentic mujadara is in the onions. The deeply golden caramelized onions on top sets this recipe apart from being “just” lentils and rice. The spices also play an important role of course, but the caramelization of the onions is where your patience will need to come in. I do not recommend skipping the onions as you will be missing the full experience of mujadara.
This delicious vegan Middle Eastern recipe is eaten throughout the Middle East, such as Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria.
- Lentils: The types of lentils that are typically used for this Middle Eastern recipe include black, brown, and green lentils. Avoid using red lentils as they break down and become too creamy for this recipe. Do not overcook the lentils as you want to prevent them from getting too mushy!
- Rice: As I was learning from Middle Eastern friends and bloggers, I noticed that Basmati rice is the best option for this recipe. It’s important to rinse the rice very well until the water runs clear and then soak it for at least 15 minutes in cold water. This helps the rice cook quickly along with the lentils. Course bulgur is another great option for Mujadara especially if you’re looking for a bit more fiber.
- Onions: I was told to use yellow onions and they came out perfectly golden. The flavor was also 10/10. I think sweet onions could be a great alternative but have not tried it this way.
- Olive Oil: If you have or can find Palestinian olive oil, don’t think twice! It would take the dish to the next level as Palestinian olive oil is one of the best olive oils in the world. However, your favorite olive oil will do.
What to serve with Mujadara?
I love to eat mujadara by itself, just rice, lentils, and caramelized onions most of the time. However, it is also traditional to add a tomato and cucumber salad, tabbouleh, and plain yogurt.
Middle Eastern Food
I am a big fan of Middle Eastern cuisine and I am always looking for new recipes to try. However, I always make sure to learn from those who have a Middle Eastern background. I also believe that food is political, cultural, love, and so much more than just ingredients. I encourage you to research the history of the recipes you make and honor the places where they truly come from. It’s important to learn more about other cultures especially if you enjoy their food. If you want more authentic Middle Eastern food and recipes make sure to check out these wonderful bloggers who create incredible recipes to honor their culture:
Suzy from The Mediterranean Dish
Zena from Zen and Zaatar
Fatima from Falasteeni Foodie
Wafa from Palestine in a Dish
Find more Arab food blogs here!