A protein-packed side dish or vegetarian main, m’juddarah is a humble dish of lentils and rice topped with addictively delicious caramelized onions.
Isn’t it funny how the most simple and basic foods are the often ones we crave most regularly? M’Juddarah, a Lebanese side dish, is exactly that: nothing more than a humble yet satisfying bowl of lentils and rice topped with caramelized onions and maybe a dollop or two of plain yogurt. You can serve it warm, room temperature, or cold out of the refrigerator. My great aunt Vieve would make it often, and it was always served alongside her amazing Middle-Eastern dinner spreads. I learned a lot of Lebanese cuisine in her kitchen, and I love shar it with you!
- Oil: I like to use olive oil as it’s heart healthy, and blends well flavor wise. But vegetable or canola oil will also get the job done.
- Onion: A white or yellow onion will give you a delicious mild flavor that caramelizes really well!
- Lentils: High in protein, and earthy and nutty in flavor, I usually use brown or green lentils, but you could use any color.
- Rice: Keeping the dish simple and classic, I use white, short-grain rice. But use what you have!
How to Make M’Juddarah
Start your m’juddarah by rinsing your rice and your lentils.
Then in a medium sized pot, hear some oil over medium-high heat and sauté your sliced onion until it becomes a rich, caramel color. Remove and set aside.
Then in the same pot, add the lentils and toast for about a minute.
Then pour in the water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the lentils are halfway done, about 15 minutes.
Then add your rice as well as some salt and pepper to taste. Bring back to a boil and stir to combine, then cover with a lid and reduce the heat down to a simmer until fully cooked and liquid is fully absorbed.
Serve your rice and lentils in a bowl before topping with the caramelized onions.
Top your m’juddarah with plain yogurt and fresh herbs, and enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions:
What does m’juddarah mean?
M’juddarah, or mujaddara, means “pockmarked” since the lentils among the rice resemble pockmarks.
What countries eat mujadara?
Many Middle Eastern countries eat it, including Lebanon, Iraq, and Egypt.
How do you store leftovers?
Keep the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
More Lebanese Dishes
- Meat Stuffed Grape Leaves
- Cucumber Laban
- Lebanese Hushwee Rice
- Stuffed Kousa Squash
- Lebanese Hindbeh
Did you try this recipe and like it? The next time you make it, snap a picture and share it to your socials! Tag @thelemonbowl and #thelemonbowl so we can admire and share your dish.
While this dish brings back fond, nostalgic memories for me, I hope that serving it to your family will help you build fond memories of your own around the dinner table. M’juddarah is simple, but delicious, and I know you’ll enjoy it.
Your fork is waiting.
M’Juddarah (Lentils, Rice, and Caramelized Onions)
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 large onion (thinly sliced)
- 1 ¾ cups lentils (rinsed and sorted)
- 1 cup rice (white par-boiled)
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Heat oil in a deep sauce pot over medium heat and sauté onions until translucent and caramelized, 20-25 minutes, stirring frequently. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from pan and set aside.
- In the same pan, add lentils and increase heat to medium-high. Toast lentils for 60 seconds then add 6 cups water. Bring pot to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer until lentils are halfway cooked, about 15 minutes.
- Add rice, salt and pepper to the pot and bring mixture to a boil. Stir once, cover with lid, then reduce heat to low. Cook until all liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
- Fluff lentils and rice with a fork before serving with caramelized onions. Serve with plain yogurt or Lebanese Cucumber Laban if you wish.
Hi Liz, which lentils do you use? Brown or green? Also, do you use short grain rice? thank you!
I use brown lentils and long grain enriched rice (par boiled). I always use Uncle Ben’s. :)
What kind of oil do you use for this recipe?
I like to use olive oil!
I hope you love it!
I like to know how much in grams do you mean when you say serving .
I’m afraid I don’t know sorry!
I loved that was easy to make. My problem was it was very bland. The restaurants I get it from its has some kick to it. I work in DEARBORN MICHIGAN so I eat this dish a lot.
Did you add the caramelized onions on top? That’s where most of the flavor comes from. :) This is how my family makes it so we don’t add spices like cumin but you’re welcome to!
I was sitting here chowing down on a bowl of majudra with laban and lube ib tume (gotta have with majudra) and was trying to find recipes that are similar to the way I was taught to make it (way back in the mid ’80’s). I was taught to use bulgur wheat instead of rice. Bob’s Red Mill (only a couple miles from my home) only carries golden bulgur now, and it really adds a lovely, sweet nuttiness. I’ve adapted the recipe to include a little pearl barley – awesome result. And I caramelize 3-4 lbs of onions and mix it all in. NOW I’m gonna deep fry some of them for the top! But the stuff that make majudra sing is lube ib tume! It’s just cooked green beans with garlic, salt, lemon juice and olive oil. There’s a trick to getting it right, but when you get the right amount of salt… heaven! I was taught to mash the garlic-about 3 cloves with 1/4 tsp salt (I use a mortar and pestle) into a nice smooth paste, then spread it all over the inside of the bowl you’re going to mix it in. Then you put your 2 lbs of cooked green beans in the bowl, add 1/4c. fresh lemon juice and 1/4 c. olive oil (mix it up good before adding to bowl) then toss the green beans with all the good stuff in the bowl. Now you taste… if not enough salt, add a little at a time until it… SINGS. You’ll know when that is – it just “comes alive”. Uncle Dave Kahl called majudra, “Syrian soul-food”. Now that I’ve found your site, I get to add some new things to my repertoire! I just started my first attempt at preserved lemons… Thank you for sharing with us!
Oh my gosh thank you SO much!! I’m going to share your comment with my aunts. I can’t WAIT to try making those green beans!!! Thank you so much!!
I love when you post your family recipes. My mom used to make this; it was one of her favorites. Love the pic of your aunt!
Aww thank you so much!
Can I use black lentils for this?
I wouldnt suggest it!
I figured out part of the problem – the type of lentils seems to really make a difference. I made a different lentil dish tonight, one that I’ve made dozens of times, using a lentil I’ve never used before – small green lentils I bought at a Middle Eastern grocery store. Well, I had to boil/simmer them for at least 40 minutes before they were soft, and even with continued cooking they never got mushy. The old type of lentils I always used start to fall apart after boiling for 12 minutes. They were just brown or green ones in the bags at the regular grocery store in the rice/bean section. Can’t wait to try your recipe again with the new kind!
Yes those are much faster cooking than the traditional brown! Good luck!
Just made this, the flavor was absolutely AWESOME!!!!! The texture, however, had the same problem I’ve had when I’ve made it using other recipes. I’m an experienced cook, and was afraid to use the full 6 cups of water (based on what happened the other times I’ve tried this!) so I only used 4 cups. It still turned out to have a “shaggy” texture, and everything would have easily mashed together if I hadn’t been careful when stirring at the end. The lentils did not keep their shape. I used generic lentils from the grocery store, I don’t know if they were considered green or brown or if this makes a difference. My attempt definitely didn’t look like the pictures above! Any tips would be great! Flavor was awesome, though, I will make it again!
Hi Jen – Something didn’t go right because I’ve made this endless times and the lentils are never mushy. If anything they are firm to the bite. You’ll always want to use regular lentils (not red or black) but it sounds like you did that. Did you measure the lentils and water correctly? I honestly can’t think of what you did wrong but it’s never ever mushy!
Thanks for your reply! I tried some different variations of this just to see what would happen, and I definitely think that I boiled the lentils too vigorously in the beginning, so that they were already almost overcooked by the time I added the rice. Next time I’m going to have the water barely simmering while the lentils are cooking by themselves. Still kind of scared to try the full six cups water though! That’s a 3:1 ratio of water/solids! Was looking at your other recipes and found one where you used 4 cups water and 2 cups lentils/rice…… Love your website – I made the cucumber laban and it was AMAZING!
Oh my God… I figured out the problem!!! It’s supposed to be 1 3/4 cups lentils!! I am SO sorry!!!!! I truly feel awful – please forgive me!! Try it again !!!!!! It’s my favorite! In fact I might make it tonight in your honor!! :)
I’m glad to hear this!!!! Thank you!!! Can’t wait to try it again. Do you agree with simmering the lentils very very gently in the beginning, as opposed to boiling vigorously? Because as I said, I only used 4 cups water (with 1 c rice and 1 c lentils) so it shouldn’t have been that mushy…. how hard do you boil yours?
Well you’re almost doubling the lentils this time. I boil them at a normal medium-high amount I would say!
Use brown lentils, soak for 2 hours, boil for 20 minutes, then drain but keep the water. Add lentils to equal amount of soaked rice (rice should have been soaked for at least an hour), add a heaped teaspoon of cumin, some pepper & 2 teaspoons of salt, return the lentil water saved but only use enough to cover the rice & lentils – this would normally be about 1 and half cups – depending on the amount of lentils and rice. Boil until water seems to have evaporated, uncover, add caramelized onions and the hot oil they’re in – needs quite a bit of oil – mix well, and cover. Leave to cook further in the steam with a very low heat for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat completely and leave covered for another 5 minutes before serving.
Your version sounds delicious!! In Syria our family doesn’t add cumin but I love the idea of it!
Can’t wait to try this – I’ve tried to make it using other recipes in the past, and it came out totally mushy and almost inedible. I know how good it is when it turns out well – it’s the best! Six cups of water sounds like a lot – does a lot of it boil off while cooking the lentils uncovered?
Wonderful recipe, eaten with yogourt this dish to die for.
I completely agree!!
Liz, thank you for such a delicious recipe! Made this for dinner a couple of nights ago andit was simply off the charts! Forget portion control on this dish…..just run an hour longer. It is totally worth it.
Love the beautiful story and pictures that you wrap around the recipe as well.
I totally agree with you – it’s absolutely worth it! Thank you for your nice words – I appreciate it!!