Mujaddara – the middle eastern lentil rice

mujaddhara lentil rice
Many a weekday nights, simple dinner is what we mostly go for. It is filling and nutritious. A perfect solution to most of these situations is the lentils and grain combination of some sort. Most cuisines have perfected this combination with a collection of recipes.  The Mujaddara is one such recipe which came from the big influence of Arabian nights to us.

The Arabian night connection

 The younger one loves to still listen to Arabian night stories.

Setting up the mezze, hiding in the tepee and reading stories was one of the favourite activities of my kids when they were smaller. She loved the idea of the magic carpet, Adored the little money and overall just lived in that story as a child. This prompted me to explore simple recipes that reflected the region. 
Combined with my dream of visiting Morroco,  the love for the cuisine slowly developed.  Very often the comfort of mujaddara was in the fact that we could continue the storytime with least interruption to our storytime as it if one pot, quick and wholesome.
I also love the idea of the carpet spread on the floor and a huge plate of food to share with a large number of mezze style bowls and things and to be seated on the floor and eat with our fingers. Pretty much similar to what we do back home too.
In addition, the similarity between the spices used like cumin, cinnamon, cloves and saffron create a feeling of being back in connection with my roots too.
Mujaddhara mezze platter

Now back to Story time

Have you heard the story of the “Little hunchbacked man?” That’s the best story that I love to read to my kids, for I feel it teaches to be human over religion and to come forth with the truth, however bitter it may be. they liked this as much as the like the Rumplestiltskin. Now that they are older they like to read it for themselves. That gives me ample time to write to you about the Mujaddara. Hope you enjoy the recipe and let me know your favourite reads. Somehow, I still love reading these as they are memories for me. 
Here are some leads for one-pot meals made under 30 minutes which is perfect in a pressure cooker or instant pot.


This post has been updated with renewed content and images. not much changes to the original recipe, but have added notes of the meal-prep and instant pot versions. This recipe is added to the collection from Foodies_redoingoldposts, where we bloggers create an environment to update and bring you, readers, the best from our further upgrades to the recipe. Hope ypu like it.
mujaddhara lentil rice


the middle eastern lentil rice
Prep Time 4 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 44 minutes
Course Main Dish, Traditional
Cuisine diabetic friendly, gluten free, International, Kids choice, Medicinal, middleeastern, One pot, Pressure cooker, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Winter
Servings 4 people
Calories 490 kcal


main ingredients

  • 1 cup rice long grain or brown rice
  • 1 cup brown lentils


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • salt to taste
  • 2-3 cloves

for the topping

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium Onion yellow variety
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds


  • Wash and soak the lentils in a bowl for about 30 minutes
  • Peel and slice thin the yellow onion and set aside
  • In a small flat pan add 1 tsp of olive oil and the sliced onion.
  • Roast the onion on a slow heat, as it starts browning add a pinch of salt and a few cumin seeds. Once it is well caramelized, remove from heat and set aside.
  • Wash the rice and keep aside
  • Into a heavy pan/ pressure cooker / instapot add the olive oil, followed by the cumin seeds and cloves
  • As the cloves and cumin become aromatic, drain and add the lentils and rice and saute for a minute.
  • Add 3 cups of water if using the pressure cooker.
  • Add salt and mix well.
  • Pressure cook for 3 whistles or for 10 minutes on medium
  • Remove from heat. Open when the pressure is released naturally and fluff the rice
  • Serve hot topped with the roasted onion and with a dollop of tzatziki and marinated olives.
    Mujaddhara mezze platter


To make this in the instant pot
It is best to soak the lentils for 30 minutes so the rice and lentils cook evenly in the instant pot. it takes 6 minutes on high with natural pressure release for the recipe to be perfect
To meal prep
Mujaddara stays well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Personally, I do find it easier to make it fresh than freezing this recipe as it does not thaw evenly and I am not fon of the rice texture when thawed.


Calories: 490kcalCarbohydrates: 90gProtein: 18gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gSodium: 202mgPotassium: 678mgFiber: 23gSugar: 2g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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5 years ago

Loved this simple and healthy one pot dish…

Shobha Keshwani
5 years ago

This really tastes so good. I make it sometimes too.

5 years ago

Mujaddara is one of my favorite Middle Eastern dishes. It is such a simple, everyday rice and lentil dish but those caramelized onions make it sooo delicious and amazing.

Sujata Roy
5 years ago

I love one pot meal and this looks so inviting. Loved the idea of adding fried onions. Healthy and delicious share.

Uma Srinivas
Uma Srinivas
5 years ago

Perfect for weekdays and lunch boxes. Filled with nutrition and vitamins. Yummy rice!

Poonam bachhav
5 years ago

Love the one pot meals for the comfort ..this one sounds so healthy and flavorful !

Mayuri Patel
5 years ago

I love one pot meals and ones that are fussy free, healthy and quick to make. Mujaddara looks very tempting. Bookmarked this recipe.

5 years ago

Love this variation of rice with lentils. I’ve tried the middle eastern pulao with lentils and keema and I loved it. This is a quick and wholesome rice, looks absolutely yum!

Bhawana Singh
Bhawana Singh
5 years ago

This simple yet fulfilling lentil rice recipe looks great. One pot meal with all nutrition. easy to cook in no time.

5 years ago

Lovely one, do need to try this version. Thanks for sharing.

5 years ago

Lovely one, do need to try this. I make with black chana but that recipe is different.

5 years ago

Love the one pot meal ideas, so quick and healthy as well 🙂

5 years ago

What a timing, we did order this rice day before yesterday in a Lebanese restaurant in Italy while on holiday there, loved it! Such a simple recipe and thanks for linking it to MLLA #120.

3 years ago

I once made it and totally loved the flavors in this dish. Wonderful share.

3 years ago

That’s such a simple and flavourful dish!! Perfect meal for all

3 years ago

So now I have a delicious and a good looking mujjadara to ape. Thanks always wanted to try it but I did not like what I saw n saw what I did not like on reading. Am I making sense?
The hunchback story I can’t recall will check I love Arabian nights even now. 😁

Poonam Bachhav
3 years ago

This one pot lentil rice is such a fuss free recipe with dominant flavors coming from cumin. I love the caramelized onion topping. Would love pairing this dish with some raita and papad on a lazy Summer afternoon.

Jayashree T.Rao
3 years ago

I love one-pot meals, some of them are so handy to make, indeed a life saviour. This Mujaddara, looks tasty and healthy with the lentil in it

2 years ago
Rating :

Such a fantastic rice and lentil dish! I love all those flavors and the minimal prep. Definitely perfect for weeknights.

Caitlyn Erhardt
2 years ago
Rating :

Thanks for a simple and tasty rice dish!

2 years ago
Rating :

This lentil rice looks so delicious – part of my childhood was spent in the middle east and I feel I can smell this dish. delicious.

2 years ago

Packed with all the richness of health. Lentils are my favorite. Love the combination with rice. Easy and quick and delicious too.

Mandy Applegate
Mandy Applegate
2 years ago
Rating :

This rice is wonderful and so easy to make!

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