Meatless Monday: Mujadarrah aka “lentils and rice with caramelized onions”

One of my memories of attending school in the north east is this fabulous middle eastern restaurant that sprung up in our small ocean town. The owner was proud of his fresh ingredients: zesty lemons, ripe cucumbers, delicious creamy hummus, and this fabulous dish of deep brown caramelized onions with lentils and jasmine rice. I used to drag my entire aerobics class to this place after a hard workout to feast on the mellow garlicky fare.

I found the recipe for Mujadarrah (spelled different ways in different cookbooks) in several of my vegetarian cookbooks and settled on Deborah Madison’s version.


  • 6 (yes, SIX) tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1.25 cups green lentils, rinsed
  • 3/4 cup jasmine rice
  • 1 quart water (I realized after making this that I would much prefer vegetable stock)
  • salt/pepper
  1. heat oil over medium flame in large skillet. Add onion and cook until brown and caramelized (12-15 min) stirring rarely. Too much stirring interferes with the browning process
  2. meanwhile, add 1 quart salted water (or veg stock) to large sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add lentils and simmer 15 minutes.
  3. Add rice to lentils and add enough water to cover. Cover pan and simmer 15 more minutes–adding water if necessary until rice is tender.
  4. Season with more salt and add pepper to taste.
  5. Add 1/2 onions to lentils and rice and stir.
  6. Serve garnished with remaining half of onions.

This recipe is so easy and so cheap! It is also delicious and full of fiber and heart healthy fat from the olive oil. I estimated that it provided 6 generous servings.

We served this with a bright green salad with lemon vinaigrette and lots of fresh parsley to keep the middle eastern flavor going. I also garnished with a mixture of marinated green and ripe olives and feta. You can hold the feta for a vegan dish.

We also toasted some Naan and enjoyed it with the meal.

Verdict? My favorite!! Jeremy thought it was so/so…he’s not a lentil fan. He did love the onions and had two helpings of the salad. Morgan tasted it but was more into his plate full of carrots and ranch. I wonder if it would work pureed for Leighton?!?



Filed under Meatless Monday, Planning Family Meals, Vegetarian Cooking

2 responses to “Meatless Monday: Mujadarrah aka “lentils and rice with caramelized onions”

  1. Oh man, that looks GOOD. The Husband and I are going to Lebanon in April. This is his first time going back since he came to the US 12 years ago and my first time meeting any of his immediate family. I’m hoping to pick up some good recipes, techniques and ideas from his Mom and Sister.

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