Sustainability made simple

Mujadara: Lebanese Recipe for Lentils With Rice

mujadara recipe
Foto: Gregor Gindlin / Utopia

Have you ever tried mujadara? This delicious and versatile Lebanese dish is not only healthy but easy to make. We’ll show you our favorite vegan mujadara recipe.

What is mujadara?

Mujadara is a traditional Lebanese dish with three main ingredients: lentils, rice and onions. You might have heard of mujadara under one of its many different names: majadra, mejadra, moujadara, mudardara, and megadarra. But mujadara is not only versatile in its spelling. There are also countless variations and adaptations of this traditional dish, which make it fun to explore.

The best thing about mujadara is that it’s perfect for vegans. Just replace the traditional ingredient of yogurt with vegan yogurt and you’re ready to go. There are many reasons to love vegan mujadara: lentils are an excellent source of protein and rich in important nutrients such as vitamin B, magnesium, zinc and potassium. This recipe is also not difficult to cook and budget-friendly. The unusual mix of ingredients creates a unique, savory taste for this dish, which can be enjoyed as a main or a side. We will not only provide you with the basic recipe, but also inspiration on how to personalize your mujadara.

Ingredients for Vegan Mujadara

You don't need a lot of ingredients for a tasty vegan mujadara.
You don’t need a lot of ingredients for a tasty vegan mujadara.
(Foto: Gregor Gindlin / Utopia)

You don’t need a lot of ingredients to make a great vegan mujadara. These are the main ingredients for our recipe:

  • Lentils: You can use both green and brown lentils. Green lentils take a little bit more time to cook. It is not recommended to use red lentils since they do not remain as firm as green and brown lentils when cooked.
  • Brown rice: We recommend that you use brown rice as it is rich in vitamins and minerals and remains firmer than white rice when cooked. If you prefer to use white rice, this is also possible. Since it takes less time to cook than brown rice, you will have to adjust the cooking time accordingly. It is not recommended to use instant rice. 
  • Onions: According to preference and availability you can use white onions, red onions and even shallots. After being caramelized, onions will add a lot of wonderful sweet flavor to your plate. Make sure you have a lot of onions!
  • Vegetable stock: We recommend that you make your own vegetable stock, which is easier than you may think. However, you can also use store-bought instant stock. Make sure to compare products to find an organic option. 
  • Vegetable oil: We recommend olive oil for frying due to its unique taste and health benefits. However if you want to fry at a high temperature, it may be better to use a more heat-resistant oil, such as sunflower oil.
  • Vegan yogurt: You can use vegan yogurt from the store or check out our homemade vegan yogurt recipe
  • Herbs and spices: The traditional seasonings for mujadara are cilantro, cumin, pepper and salt. But you don’t have to stop there. There are also variations of mujadara involving chili, mint, cinnamon and other spices. Fresh cilantro makes a great garnish for this dish! 

These are the ingredients for the basic recipe, but feel free to experiment and adapt to your preferences. You can also check out our recommendations for variations of the traditional recipe at the end of this article. 

Mujadara Recipe

This recipe makes 4 servings.


  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup green or brown lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • Vegetable stock (enough for 3 cups of water)
  • 1½ tsp. cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive or vegetable oil
  • 4 cups chopped onions
  • 2 cups vegan yogurt
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro


  1. Rinse the rice and the lentils separately. This is most efficiently done with a strainer, but a more sustainable mthod is using a big bowl with water. Just put the rice and the lentils in the bowl, add some water, and agitate with your hands or a spoon. You can conserve the water left over after draining to water plants.
  2. Now it’s time to cook the rice and the lentils. You can use the same pot for both the rice and the lentils to save water and space. Fill up a big pot with a lot of water and add your vegetable stock, the spices and the brown rice. When cooking brown rice, it is important that you give it some time before you add the lentils since they take less time to cook. Brown rice typically takes around 30 minutes, while green lentils (18-20 minutes) and brown lentils (20-25 minutes) normally cook a little bit faster. That means you can let the brown rice cook for about 11 minutes (for green lentils) or 7 minutes (for brown lentils) before you add the lentils. Once the rice and lentils are fully cooked, drain the excess water. and set aside
  3. In the meantime, peel and chop the onions to your preferred size. Then heat up a pan with some olive or vegetable oil and add the onions to caramelize them. If you prefer softer onions you should start with medium-high heat and turn down the heat after 10 minutes to medium-low. If you want crispy onions, leave the heat on high and do not stir as often. Caramelize the onions for around 20 minutes, or until golden. Be careful to not burn them. 
  4. Spoon the rice and lentils into a bowl or dish. Add the vegan yogurt on top or on the side. Top the dish with caramelized onions and fresh herbs and enjoy.

If you have leftovers, you can store them in the fridge for up to four days, preferably in a glass container. Store the vegan yogurt separately from the rice, lentils and onion. You can reheat the rice, lentils and onions in the oven or on the stovetop. 

Mujadara Recipe Variations

You can also use hummus as a swap for vegan yogurt in this mujadara recipe.
You can also use hummus as a swap for vegan yogurt in this mujadara recipe.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / danad94d)

Here are our recommendations if you’d like to mix up your mujadara recipe:

1. Cinnamon and chili

Cinnamon isn’t just for sweets – it is a widely used spice in a variety of Middle Eastern cuisines. It elegantly rounds off the taste of your mujadara and goes well with caramelized onions. 

Are you in for some heat? Adding chili to your rice and lentils is the way to go for our spice lovers.

2. Mint

Plain yogurt too boring for you? Mix it up with some fresh mint. Mint is a another herb widely used in Middle Eastern cuisine. If you don’t have any fresh mint, it might be time for you to start growing your own mint plant in your kitchen or garden.

3. Hummus or tahini

Tahini and hummus are both typical Middle Eastern dips. While tahini is made from toasted ground sesame seeds, hummus is based on chickpeas, lemon juice and garlic. While hummus usually includes tahini, there are also recipes for hummus without tahini. Both dips are great options to replace the vegan yogurt in our  mujadara recipe.

4. Raisins

If you like it sweet, try using some raisins in your mujadara. Just add the raisins to the lentils and rice a few  minutes before they are done. Raisins go great with the caramelised onions, too. 

5. Bulgur

Instead of rice you can also use bulgur wheat. Bulgur is a nuttier grain with many great uses. In this case, cook the bulgur wheat and the lentils separately.

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