This flavorful Middle Eastern dish consists of lentils, rice, and onions cooked in flavorful spices. It makes for a delicious simple dinner or a fantastic side dish!
Mujaddara - also known as mjeddrah, mejadra, majadra, or mudardara - is a traditional Middle Eastern dish made from a combination of lentils, rice, and sauteed onions.
It's a simple dish that is hearty, inexpensive, and packed with flavor - and variations of it can be found throughout the Arab world.
I personally love this lentil and rice pilaf on it's own as a simple vegan friendly dinner. But it's also a wonderful addition to a full Middle Eastern spread with favorites like falafel, Greek lentil salad, or fattouche.
How to Soak Rice and Lentils
This recipe calls for soaking the lentils and rice prior to cooking, which brings the tenderness out in the rice and encourages the lentils, which normally require no presoaking, to keep their shape.
To do this, simply pour the lentils into a small bowl and cover them with cold water. Do the same with the rice in a separate bowl. Allow them to soak for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours.
When the rice and lentils are done soaking, drain them in a colander and rinse with cold water.
If you love this recipe, be sure to check out these other delicious vegan ideas:
- Global Vegan Recipes from around the world!
- More recipes featuring Lentils and Peas.
- My favorite healthy whole grain recipes.
This recipe was contributed by Ellen Kanner, who writes the Meatless Monday column for The Huffingon Post and her own food blog, Soulful Vegan. She is also a contributor to Bon Appetit, Relish, Eating Well, Vegetarian Times, More, the Miami Herald and regional publications across the country.
Mjeddrah (Rice and Lentil Pilaf)
- After soaking lentils and rice (see notes), strain them through a sieve. Rinse in cold water.
- Bring vegetable broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the lentils and rice to the broth. Toss in the bay leaf. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 30 to 40 minutes, until lentils and rice are soft and fluffy and have soaked up all the liquid. Remove cover, remove from heat and set aside.
- Just before serving, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced onion and cook, stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes, until onions start to soften and turn golden and fragrant. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring, another 10 minutes or so, until onions are brown and tender. Season with salt and pepper.
- Stir lentils and rice together gently. Remove bay leaf and season the rice and lentil mixture generously with salt, pepper and cumin to taste. Serve the pilaf topped with the cooked onions.
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