Moujadara (also sometimes called Mejadara, Mujadarrah, or Mujadara) is a simple but flavorful Middle Eastern recipe for rice, lentils, and caramelized onions. It’s a budget-friendly, vegan, one-pot meal your family will love.
This Moujadara recipe will quickly become a favorite dinner in your house, along with our Crock Pot Red Beans and Rice, Easy Carrot and Lentil Soup, and Easy Mediterranean Salad. You can serve it alongside our Creamy Homemade Yogurt (or a store bought vegan yogurt if you’re vegan or eating plant-based). It goes great with Easy Garlic Hummus, too.
If you’re searching for more beans and rice recipes, use our search bar. We have lots of delicious, cheap meals your family will love — even the kids!
Why You Should Try These Vegan Lentils and Rice
If you’re wondering why you should add this savory lentils and rice recipe to your meal plan, it’s because this dish is:
- Easy to prepare
- Perfect for leftovers
It’s also super flexible if you have family members who aren’t vegan; you can easily add bits of cooked and shredded chicken in at the end of cooking, just for them.
The Interesting History of Moujadara
This is a famous meal throughout the Middle East and Arab countries, especially in Lebanese, Jordanian, Syrian and Palestinian cuisine. It’s popular during religious fasting, too, especially among Arab Christians.
Rumor has it that this dish is also referred to as “Esau’s Favorite” (referring to Esau in the Old Testament). It’s my understanding that it was tradition for Jews to eat a variation of this meal twice a week: served warm one evening, and cold on Sunday.
Moujadara / Mujadara Spices and Seasonings
While there are many different Mujadara spices that can be used in variations of this dish, our recipe uses just a few simple spices most home cooks keep in their kitchen cupboards:
- Olive Oil
We also found the flavor is really amped up by using broth or bouillon. In this recipe, we use bouillon. If you want this recipe to stay vegan, you can use this vegan bouillon. If you’re not vegan, using any standard chicken flavored bouillon is fine. Or, you can skip using the bouillon altogether.
What to Serve With Moujadara
Serve this dish with yogurt, hummus, or a simple green salad. Toasted or grilled pita bread also goes great!
Cooking Rice and Lentils Together
We use brown basmati rice in this Moujadara recipe, which takes about 45 minutes to cook. Since our lentils only take 20-30 minutes to cook, we’ll add them into the pot after the rice has already been cooking for 15 minutes. This will ensure both the lentils and the brown rice are done cooking at the same time, since we’re cooking rice and lentils together in the same pot.
Preparing Onions For Moujadara
We like to caramelize our onions for this dish. Slice them somewhat thin, and place them into the pre-heated (on medium high) pot with olive oil. As they begin to brown, reduce heat to medium, stirring occasionally. You want them brown but not burnt.
We like using large Vidalia onions best. One large Vidalia onion is usually enough for one batch of this lentils and rice recipe.
I’ve heard of others who enjoy adding store-bought crispy onions like these to the top of their Moujadara. That’s entirely up to you!
Moujadara / Mejadara Lentils and Rice
Moujadara (also sometimes called Mejadara, Mujadarrah, or Mujadara) is a simple but flavorful Middle Eastern recipe for rice, lentils, and caramelized onions. It's a budget-friendly, vegan, one-pot meal your family will love.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 and 1/4 cups sliced onions
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- Pinch of cinnamon
- 4 cups water
- 2 teaspoons vegan broth base (linked below)*
- 1 cup brown basmati rice
- 1 cup green lentils
- Cilantro or parsley (optional)
- Green onions, sliced (optional)
- In a large pot, over medium high, heat olive oil. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown. Then, reduce heat to medium and add garlic. Continue to stir and keep a close watch over your pot; you want the onions a rich, deep golden brown, but not burnt.
- Add cumin, cinnamon, water, and bouillon or broth base (if using). Turn the pot back to medium high and bring to a simmer.
- Once simmering, add brown basmati rice and cover with a lid. Cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove lid and add green lentils. Cover, and continue to cook for 30 more minutes.
- Be sure your lentils and rice are fully cooked / softened before removing from heat. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with cilantro, parsley, and/or green onions for serving.
Using chicken bouillon or a similar vegan broth base really amps up the flavor of this dish. If you're vegan or avoiding meat products, I've linked a vegan bouillan for you to try. Otherwise, Better Than Bouillon is a good option.
If you don't want to use bouillon or the vegan broth base, then you can reduce the water from four cups to two cups, and use two cups of a vegetable or chicken broth, still totaling four cups of liquid.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 254Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 280mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 5gSugar: 2gProtein: 7g
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