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.
70 thoughts on “M’juddarah (Lentils, Rice, and Caramelized Onions)”
Love the combo, Liz. I’ve been cooking a lot with lentils recently. Did you know you can make caramelized onions in the crockpot? I just made a big batch. Slice onions, sprinkle with a little olive oil, and cook on high for about 8 hours. The recipe, which I saved ages ago, uses six cups of onions to two tablespoons olive oil. You can freeze leftovers for use later. No standing over the stove trying not to burn the onions!
Yes I did!!! I also know you can do them in the oven!!! Such a time saver!!!!
This is one of those rare meals that’s all beige, but still SO good for you. I can totally see it being comfort food!
oh my gosh YES!! Such a good point!
Aunt Vieve’s onions were fried to a perfection of crispiness. not one stuck to another so
I don’t think of them so much as carmalized, but crisp. crunch crunch
I know.. I’ve talked about her french fried onions in the past but these are good too. :)
Hi Liz ! I don’t post much, but I love your blog! (Read it every day!!) I love your stories. Love your pics, family & recipes!! Every one is a winner!! You are an inspiration. I Have 2 grown kids & 2 granddaughters. I wish I had blogs like yours 30 years ago when I was raising my kids!! I cringe when I think back to those days of Kraft Mac & cheese and frozen chicken fingers. Despite that, my kids are wonderful. My daughter does BLF w her 2 & grandma now shops at TJs, Whole Foods & cooks healthy dishes like your recipes!!! Thank you so much !!
I love lentils & def trying M’Juddarah. Is it sacrilege to use brown rice? I don’t have white in the house but can always get some.
No not at all! We use brown rice and also bulgur wheat instead of the white rice. Thank you so much for your sweet comment Bonnie – it really made my day!
I love family stories like this! I can’t wait to try this. I love all the ingredients separately and have no doubt that together they are that much better!
Let me know what you think!
This looks delicious! I LOVE the picture of your Aunt Vieve!
This looks so sweetly simple, Liz! Can’t wait to give it a try :)
So simple and delish. :) Thanks Emma!
So true…simple recipes are the best and especially when made by loved ones…It makes it that much better. :) Love how simple and easy this recipe is…Need to make more lentils ASAP! XOXO
I know I’m always trying to make more lentils too! Thanks girl!
My mom used to make this. It was one of her favorites. Thanks for the memories.
I love to hear that Ani!
Thank you Liz.
Thanks for being here Liz!
I may have said this before, but I love that you post Lebanese recipes. I had a Lebanese boyfriend in the distant past, who taught me how to make hummus (and introduced me to pita bread, tahini and string cheese). So the Lebanese version is my gold standard for hummus, and besides that, the food is very tasty. This dish sounds absolutely wonderful, so I’m adding it to my long list of recipes to try.
Oh I’m so glad you enjoy the Lebanese recipes. I love sharing my family stories!
I just had M’Juddarah last night, what a coincidence! I love finding other Middle Eastern bloggers who post recipes that are such classics. Are you Lebanese as well?
No way you did?? Small world! I am technically Syrian but really I’m 4th generation American. :) But yes we love and eat Syrian/Lebanese food all the time!
Oh I’ve made this once before! From a cookbook and I had no clue what the end result was supposed to be except lentils and onions haha Yours definitely looked better than mine (and I bet yours may even taste better ;) )
That’s so funny!!!! I hope you try it again!
The stories you have are just as wonderful as your recipes!
Aww thank you so much Gaby!!
This is one of my favorite middle eastern dishes – I especially love when the onions are charred a bit. Love how your family has such a colorful food history!
YES!! My Aunt actually deep fries them. ;) Thank you so much friend!
I want to be Aunt Vieve when I grow up too.
Also — I found the best Mjadara around here. It’s SO good. I think they fry their onions for the topping. :-P
hahah I want to be her too!! Isn’t she so cute? I’m so jealous that you found good m’juddarah!! I’ve tried it in many restaurants and it’s always overly cooked and mushy. The lentils should have a bit of a bite to them still and the rice shouldn’t be too puffy. And yes, they definitely deep fry the onions. :) My Aunt French fries them and they are to die for!!
It sounds as though your great aunt was an amazing woman! And this looks like the perfect bowl of comfort food. Everything is better with caramelized onions!
We love eating this with yogurt sprinkled with za’atar…. and pita…and salad… hungry yet? :)
Totally making!!!! Lentils and rice are my jam!
PS: You can fry the onions. ;)
I LOVE the story behind this recipe almost as much as the recipe itself.
I was actually thinking I needed to eat more lentils, like, TODAY….how did you know!?
We have been trying to do more meatless meals and 75% of the time, this is what we have. It’s so good – you’d love it and I think the hubs would too. :)
Oh I love this so much! And I love that pic of your Aunt!! What a great recipe, and I can see why you would crave it. I am craving it right now!
I wish I could come make you a batch for your birthday!! xoxo