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Don’t be fooled by the simple ingredients in this Mujadarra. This classic dish is absolutely delicious!

Mujadarra - Don't be fooled by the simple ingredients in this classic Middle Eastern dish! A delicious side made from caramelized onions over lentils and brown rice. Simple but delicious!


I’m always thrilled to discover easy recipes made with ingredients that we always have on hand in our kitchen – and once combined – it tastes absolutely delicious! Such is the case with today’s recipe called Mujadarra.

What is Mujadarra?

Mujadarra is a classic dish made from lentils and brown rice that have been smothered in caramelized, seasoned onions. It’s a staple in Middle-Eastern diets and there are now many new variations of this dish with different lentils, grains and seasonings – but today’s recipe closely follows the more traditional version.

Mujadarra - Don't be fooled by the simple ingredients in this classic Middle Eastern dish! A delicious side made from caramelized onions over lentils and brown rice. Simple but delicious!


According to Wikipedia, the word mujadarra is the Arabic word for “pockmarked” – with the thought that the name of the dish is inspired by the lentils among the rice resembling pockmarks.

But don’t be fooled by the simple ingredients in this recipe! The flavors are rich and comforting and mujadarra is a wonderful side dish to just about any meal. (It’s also hearty enough to serve as a meatless meal if you’d like!)

Adapted from My Jewish Learning.

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  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings


  • 2½ cups water
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • ½ cup brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
  • 1 cup short grain brown rice (we recommend Lundberg brand)
  • 2 large Vidalia or white onions, cut in half, then sliced into thin rings (approximately 4 cups)
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika


  1. In a medium-sized saucepan with cover, combine water, salt, and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the brown rice and lentils to the saucepan and bring back to a boil.
  2. Once the lentils and rice have reached a boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for approximately 40-45 minutes or until the brown rice and lentils are tender. Turn off heat and allow to sit covered for 5 minutes.
  3. While the rice and lentils are cooking, prepare the onions. In a large skillet, heat the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil over medium high heat, tipping the skillet so that the oil evenly coats the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add the sliced onions, and cook for about 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently until the onions are a deep golden color, and the edges of the onions are well caramelized. Once cooked, remove from the heat and sprinkle the paprika over the onions. Stir to combine.
  5. Give the rice and lentil mixture a stir, then pour into a serving bowl. Top with caramelized onions and serve. (This dish is delicious served hot off the stove or at room temperature.)

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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Mujadarra - Don't be fooled by the simple ingredients in this classic Middle Eastern dish! A delicious side made from caramelized onions over lentils and brown rice. Simple but delicious!

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  • Amanda West wrote:

    This was soooooo fantastic! Perfect flavor, perfect texture. Wow! I made it 2 nights ago, and then saved the leftovers for a meal again last night and it was so delicious. I could eat this every night as a side with my main course. Thank you for the awesome recipe!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Amanda! 🙂 This dish is also amazing served alongside our Cucumber Salad (great contrast of flavors and textures!).

  • Amanda @ The Kitcheneer wrote:

    I am LOVING the caramelized onions in this recipe! And it makes a quick week night meal!

  • Renee – Kudos Kitchen wrote:

    Any dish that is topped with carmelized onions, I know I’ll love. I also happen to love lentils and brown rice. I’ll bet this would be a great side dish for just about anything!

  • Nutmeg Nanny wrote:

    This dish look so simple yet so packed with flavor! This is perfect for meatless nights 🙂

  • Paula – bell’alimento wrote:

    I’ve never tried this dish but it sounds amazing. Luckily I have everything I need in my pantry! Can’t wait to try this one out.

  • heather | girlichef wrote:

    I often eat lentils and rice together, but these caramelized onions on top are just perfection. I’ll definitely be trying this recipe soon!

  • The Food Hunter wrote:

    I’ve never heard of this..but it sounds delicious and I have everything to make it.

  • Katherine wrote:

    This looks tasty and a nice change from my usual side dishes. Even better, all the ingredients are already in my kitchen! Question, though: 1/4 tsp. Paprika is the only seasoning? It doesn’t sound like the flavor would be more than caramelized onions and a little nutty from the grains.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Katherine – the primary flavor is the caramelized onions. But start with the 1/4 teaspoon of paprika and if you’d like to add more to suit your tastes feel free to add more! Hope you enjoy the recipe!

  • Lauren Kelly Nutrition wrote:

    I have never heard of this before but just looking at the ingredients, it looks like my perfect dish!

  • stephanie @Back for Seconds wrote:

    Such a simple recipe but it sounds wonderfully flavorful!

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