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Brown rice mujadara on a white plate with spiced yogurt.

Mujadara (Brown Rice and Lentils)

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  • Author: Alexandra Shytsman
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern
  • Diet: Vegan


Mujadara is a classic Middle Eastern dish of cumin-scented brown rice and lentils with caramelized onions and garlicky yogurt.



For the Mujadara

  • 1 cup brown basmati rice* (see note below)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds* 
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon*
  • 1/2 cup green lentils
  • 1 large or 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced

For the Yogurt Sauce

  • 2 cups unsweetened yogurt (vegan or dairy)
  • 2 small garlic cloves, crushed, grated, or very finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh herbs (like cilantro, dill, mint, and/or parsley)
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Start by putting the kettle on to boil water; you’ll need 2 3/4 cups.
  2. Place the rice in a mesh strainer and rinse under running water.
  3. Transfer the rice to a large skillet over medium heat. Toast until completely dry, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes. Then add 1 tablespoon oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds, 3/4 teaspoon salt, a few grinds of black pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon. Stir to combine and toast until the rice smells nutty, 1 to 2 minutes more.
  4. Place the lentils in the mesh strainer and rinse under running water. Stir the lentils into the rice.
  5. Add 2 3/4 cups boiling water (careful, it may sputter). Cover tightly with a lid, reduce the heat to low, and simmer very gently until all the water is absorbed, 30 to 35 minutes. (DO NOT STIR during simmering or it will turn out mushy.)
  6. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a separate large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until they’re browned and crispy in places, 15 to 20 minutes.
  7. When all the water is absorbed by the rice and lentils, turn the heat off and leave the pan covered to steam for 10 minutes more (still not stirring).
  8. Lastly, make the sauce by stirring together all the ingredients.
  9. To serve, transfer the rice and lentils to a platter and top with the onions. Serve with the yogurt sauce on the side.


  • Don’t have brown basmati rice? Use regular long grain brown rice, or white basmati rice.
  • You can sub cumin seeds with ground cumin.
  • A pinch of cinnamon works well with the sweetness of the onions. If you don’t have any, just skip it.


  • Serving Size: 1/4 of the recipe (without sauce)
  • Calories: 330
  • Sodium: 237 mg
  • Fat: 12.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 48.9 g
  • Fiber: 10.1 g
  • Protein: 9.6 g
Tofu with tomatoes.

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