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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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  • Dem wrote:

    I don’t have a white onion can I sub yellow

    • Martha wrote:

      Sure – no problem!

  • Mary Clark wrote:

    This sounds like a treat! I will be making it soon, but I wanted to thank you for your presentation – a couple of pix to drool over, and then it’s on to the recipe! Thanks much

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Mary – hope you enjoy the recipe!

  • Ron Howell wrote:

    I would like to try black rice. What do you think? My Palestinian neighbor suggested adding some allspice.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Ron – I definitely think you could make a version of this recipe using black rice. (Allspice would be a nice addition!). Also – FYI – we have a Forbidden Rice Pilaf recipe on our site that you might be interested in too:

  • Kelly Guevara wrote:

    I’m a big fan of cooked grains and this didn’t disappoint! I used long grain rice because it’s all I had on hand, but it still worked fine (although the rice was a little bit mushy). I added cumin and garlic powder to the water along with the salt. The paprika was a nice touch to the onions! I’m excited to have leftovers of this 😊

    • Martha wrote:

      So glad you enjoyed the recipe Kelly! (I love eating the leftover mujadarra with our cucumber salad!) 🙂

  • Jacel wrote:

    Hi! I wonder if i can i use orzo instead of brown rice!?

    • Martha wrote:

      Sure Jacel – the lentils take longer to cook than orzo so you’ll want to cook them separately. But the caramelized onions will taste delicious over the pasta. Enjoy!

      • ali sayed wrote:

        I’m Lebanese and this an authentic Lebanese dich its delicious and super easy to do but unfortunately the posted recipe its not a correct recipe and the method of cooking is wrong, correct one is
        350grm lentils washed and sorted
        150grm of long or short grain rice, washed and drained well u don’t need o use brown rice as the lentils is full of fibers
        100 grm fine chopped onion
        100 grm sliced onion browned fry
        3 table spoon olive oil
        2 table spoon canola oil
        1.5 liter water to cook
        salt to taste
        cumin powder optional
        in a heavy pan put the lentils and add the water with the salt bring to boil but never cover it or the lentils will get empty, let it cook tell its 75 % done only stain it and reserve the water and let it rest use only the clear part ,
        in the same pan heat the canola oil and cook till its yellow to brown in color add the rice and fry a bit then add the lentils and the cumin powder pour the reserved water only the clear part and the water have to be level with the lentils in the pan it may be a dash more only if the reserved water not enough u can add normal water mix it and don’t mix it anymore after this stage, bring it to boil the cover it well and leave it on very slow fire around 20min, turn off the fire and let it to rest up to 15 min, uncover it now and add the olive oil mix it with for dish it and garnish with the browned onion ,
        serve warm or cold with green salad
        this the original one,

        • Martha wrote:

          Thank you for sharing your recipe Ali!

  • Jennifer Longiaru wrote:

    This was delicious and so simple! My husband and my three year old enjoyed it. I will definitely make it again.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Jennifer! So glad you all enjoyed the recipe!

  • suzy wrote:

    Thank you so much for this recipe, it looks delicious and I would love to make it. Unfortunately, I am unable to cut onions so I usually buy the cut onions which are not rings. Can I still work with smaller cut onions?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Suzy – Absolutely – you can swap in the cut/chopped onions instead. Enjoy!

  • Mimi Allen wrote:

    I made this for dinner tonight. It was fabulous! So simple and so satisfying bi wish I had doubled it, as I bet it would be even more amazing the next day!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Mimi!

  • Erica M. wrote:

    I wasn’t sure how this dish would turn out but it truly was pretty tasty!! I made the lentils and rice in the rice cooker and it came out perfect! Thanks!!

    • Martha wrote:

      Great idea Erica! Glad you enjoyed the recipe as much as we do!

  • Sheri wrote:

    I found this recipe on Pinterest while looking for easy lunch ideas that included lentils, and I’m so glad I did! I made it this afternoon, and we ate a large portion of it straight out of the pan. It was delicious, and the caramelized onions were perfect in this dish. I will be making this often. Thanks!

    • Martha wrote:

      So glad you enjoyed the recipe as much as we do Sheri! (Now you have me craving some…I think I’ll make it again this week!) 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to write to us today!

  • 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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