Mujaddara – Lebanese Lentil & Rice Pilaf (Vegan)


Mujaddara is a simple comforting Lebanese lentil and rice pilaf tossed with loads of fried onions. This easy to make vegan pilaf can be made gluten-free and makes for the perfect Thanksgiving side or meatless weeknight dinner!

Mujaddara Lebanese Rice and Lentil Pilaf on a silver platter topped with sour cream and fried onions

 A warm bowl full of Mujaddara Lentils and Rice Pilaf is the Middle Eastern answer to Fall Comfort Food!

I discovered this Middle Eastern staple at a Lebanese restaurant while visiting my parents in Germany and instantly fell in love with this simple rice dish. It had the perfect chew, with an earthy blend of spices and a divine sweetness and crunch from little specks of fried onions.

As soon as I got home, I needed to research recipes and after some experimenting, I came up with my own vegan version, which I have made countless times.

Why it took me so long to share my Mujaddara recipe with you, I cannot tell you.

This is one of those recipes, that is really, really simple in terms of ingredients but HUGE in flavor! A winning combination when it comes to weeknight dinners, right?

Have I mentioned that this easy vegan Lentil and Rice Pilaf is really cheap to make as well? The perfect recipe for a crowd!

Vegan Lebanese Mujaddara Lentil and Rice Pilaf served on a silver platter with fried onions on top and on the side

What is Mujaddara {Mejadra} ? 

Mujaddara, aka. Mejadra is a Middle Eastern style lentil rice pilaf seasoned with warming spices and speckled with tender lentils and a decadent amount of caramelized or fried onions.

Fried crunchy onions are the quintessential addition to a traditional Mujaddara. To quickly dry-out their moisture, the onions are sliced thinly and then tossed with a couple of tablespoons of seasoned all-purpose flour.

Once the flavours start to mingle the kitchen will be filled with the most seductive smell. Like fall, like comfort, like a feast about to happen.

Mujaddara makes a great side dish but can also be served as a vegan main course!

Just in case you just started planning your Thanksgiving menu, I would say make a big old bowl of this fragrant Arabic lentil rice pilaf. It’s dairy-free and meatless and I cannot imagine anyone not liking it. It’s like rice and beans – just more flavorful.

Mejadra Arabic Lentil Rice Pilaf on a silver platter with sliced cucumbers on the side and fried onions on top

 

Tips for making the best Mujaddara: 

  • As for the lentils, use either brown or green ones. There is no need to soak your lentils. Simply pre-cook the lentils for 15-18 minute. If your dried lentils have been around for a while in the pantry, they’ll take more time to cook than new ones.
  • For making Mujaddara,  I highly recommend using good quality basmati rice.  Indian basmati really works beautifully with all the warming spices we’ll be adding to this recipe.
  • You can take your lentil rice pilaf to the next level by soaking the rice in cold water for about 20 minutes before adding them to the hot oil. Don’t forget to drain well.
  • I like to fry my onions as I really like the crispiness and smokiness they add to the lentil rice. You’ll need two medium onions for this recipe, and you’ll want to slice them really thinly, using a mandoline.
  • For my spice blend, I am using cumin, cardamom, coriander, turmeric, allspice,  bay leaves and cinnamon. Feel free to adjust the spices to your personal taste.

Mujaddara Arabic Lentil and Rice Pilaf served with some sliced cucumbers and fried onions

Variations on this Vegan Mujaddara recipe: 

  • If you are not a fan of frying, you can caramelize the onions in good quality olive oil. Take your time to slowly fry the onions. Time makes all the difference here and I would give them about 20 minutes. You’ll need to stir them quite a bit during the last 10 minutes so don’t get too involved in that TV Drama in the background.
  • Feel free to add some raisins or cranberries to this lentil rice pilaf. I like to soak them in orange juice and stir them in with the fried onions.
  • You can substitute ground cloves for allspice if you prefer as they are similar in taste.
  • Make this Mujaddara gluten-free by caramelizing the onions or by tossing them in gluten-free flour.

I personally love to serve this Mujaddara with Coconut Yogurt or a dollop of Vegan Sour Cream and a bit of my homemade rhubarb chutney!

Did you make and love this recipe for Vegan Mujaddara Lentil and Rice Pilaf? Give it your review below!  And make sure to share your creations by tagging me on Instagram!

Mujaddara Arabic Lentil and Rice Pilaf served with some sliced cucumbers and fried onions
5 from 11 votes
Print

Mujaddara - Arabic Lentil and Rice Pilaf

Mujaddara is a simple comforting lentil and rice pilaf tossed with loads of fried onions. This easy to make Lebanese pilaf is known can be made vegan and makes for the perfect Thanksgiving side or meatless weeknight dinner!

Course Main Course, side
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Keyword easy, lentil rice pilaf, lentils, meatless mains, mejadra, mujaddara, pilaf recipes, side dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Resting time 10 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Calories 544 kcal
Author Kiki Johnson

Ingredients

  • 125 g green lentils
  • 100 g basmati rice
  • 2 big onions
  • 2 tbsps flour mixed with 1 tsp salt
  • 2 pods cardamom
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 laurel leaf
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar

Optional

  • 2 tbsp coconut yogurt or greek yogurt
  • oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Place the lentils in a colander and wash them. Drain and transfer to a pot, adding plenty of water. Let come to a boil, then reduce the temperature and let lentils simmer for 15 minutes. 

  2. Wash the rice well and drain in a sieve. 

  3. Peel and slice the onion finely using a mandoline. Place on a plate and dust with 2 tbsps of flour, salt and pepper. 

  4. Heat a big pan on medium high heat. Crush the cardamom pods with the back of a knife an place in the pan along with cumin seeds. Toast without fat until fragrant for about a minute. Add 2 tbsp coconut oil, the drained rice, laurel leaf and ground spices as well as 3/4 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of sugar or maple syrup.

  5. Let everything fry for about 1 minute, then add 350 ml of water and the pre-cooked lentils. Let come to a boil, reduce the heat, place the lid on top and let simmer for 13 to 15 minutes. If you notice that the water evaporated too quickly, add a splash. 

  6. In the meantime, add enough oil to a deep pot or pan that it stands about 2 cm deep. Heat until it reaches 350 F. Fry the onions in 2 batches until nicely browned and crispy. Transfer to a kitchen towel-lined plate and let cool down. 

  7. Take the lid off the rice and quickly place a clean kitchen towel on top and put the lid back on. Let the pilaf rest off the heat for another 10 minutes. 

  8. Fluff up the rice with a fork and add half of the fried onions. Serve with more fried onions on top and a dollop of non-dairy sour cream or coconut yogurt. 

Vegan Lentil Rice Pilaf | Mujaddara is a simple comforting Lebanese lentil and rice dish tossed with loads of fried onions. This easy to make vegan pilaf can be made gluten-free and makes for the perfect side or meatless weeknight dinner! Perfect for meal prep! #pilaf #veganrecipes #mealprep #eayrecipes #lebaneserecipes
Vegan Lentil Rice Pilaf - this delicious Lebanese lentil and rice dish is a simple gluten-free meal that is fragrant with spices. An easy dinner recipe but also perfect for healthy meal prep #veganrecipes #glutenfreerecipes #easyrecipes
Mujaddara - This simple Lebanese Lentil and Rice Pilaf is Middle Eastern comfort food at its best, loaded with crispy fried onions. This easy to make vegan pilaf can be made gluten-free and makes for the perfect Thanksgiving side or meatless weeknight dinner! #Lebaneserecipes, #realfood, #veganrecipes, #glutenfreerecipes

 


20 Comments


  1. I love discovering new dishes. This Mujaddara looks so delicious! And one of the fun things is I have all the ingredients at hand which means I can make it for dinner!


  2. I have just started trying different Lebanese recipes. I can’t wait to make this one also. The flavor combinations look amazing and you give such great tips on how to make it.

    • Thanks so much, Katie! The ingredients are so simple which is why everyone is always amazed how there can be so much flavor in this dish! I am sure you will love this one!


  3. I love lentils with rice. We make something very similar in India too. Here in Israel, they have a similar dish that I love very much. I can’t wait to try this out soon. Saving for later.


  4. Rice pilaf is my favorite and this looks so flavorful! I wish I had some right now!


  5. I am a big fan of pilaf, though never tried this version before. I love that you added lentils and more spices! It sounds soooo delicious!)


  6. This is a whole new cuisine for me. I really like lentils and rice so I imagine this would be a dish I’d enjoy. The spices in it sound amazing — I’m putting this recipe on my list this week.


  7. Yum, this looks so delicious! I love the combination of flavors. This would be perfect as a side dish, or even on its own for a light lunch


  8. This pilaf looks so flavorufl and delicious. I can’t wait to try your version. Pinned.

  9. I love all the flavors in this recipe! And the addition of lentils would add a really nice texture to the dish.


  10. Your photos are magnificent and this dish is a showstopper! I love the spices and flavors going on here…such a beautiful, hearty meal for the fall <3


  11. I love finding new cuisines to try. I will be saving this for later next week.


  12. Your recipe for Vegan Mujaddara Lentil and Rice Pilaf looks and sounds so delicious with all those wonderful flavours. Like you, I would fry the onions so that they’re nice and crispy with the lentil rice.

  13. Pingback: Vegane Saure Sahne ganz einfach selber machen

  14. Pingback: Vegane Vietnamesische Nudelsuppe Pho - gesund & einfach

  15. Pingback: Vietnamesischer Veganer Nudelsalat mit Grapefruit Dressing

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*