The fried onions, cool yogurt and refreshing salad make for the perfect accompaniment’s to this warm and comforting lentil and rice dish.

Ingredients for Mjaddara

1/2 Bag Large Green Lentils (approx. ¾ to 1 cup, I like the Ziyad brand)

1 ½  cups Basmati Rice

½ Large White Onion

4 tbsp Olive Oil (divided)

1 tbsp Cumin

1 tsp AllSpice 

½ tsp Black Pepper

A Dash of Turmeric (for color)

Salt to taste

Ingredients for the Salad

½ Large White Onion

2 Medium Tomatoes

½ Lemon, squeezed

Salt to taste


Begin by rinsing and soaking the Basmati rice in lukewarm water. 

Soaked Basmati Rice

Take a medium saucepan and fill it with water about ⅔ of the way. Put on stove over medium heat and add in the lentils to begin cooking. This will take about 15-20 minutes.

Large Green Lentils beginning to boil in a medium saucepan

While the rice is soaking and lentils are cooking, take the first onion half and slice it into thin pieces. Use a frying pan and place 2 tbsp of olive oil in it and heat up on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, drop the onions in, cover and reduce to medium low heat to allow the onions to sweat. 

Slice the onions thin, these aren’t going to be thick like for stir fry or fajitas 😉

Keep checking on the lentils and stirring them to avoid sticking. As they begin to boil, spices will be added. Add the cumin, black pepper, allspice, turmeric and salt. Mix and cover, leaving just enough of the lid open to let the steam go through and lower the heat to medium-low.

All the spices I used (minus the turmeric, which I forgot to add in the picture. Whoops!)

Continue to stir the onions as well, this is done to thoroughly cook them all. As soon as you see they have cooked, raise the heat to high to allow the frying to begin where they will caramelize and begin to slightly crisp up. Once you see that, remove from heat and place the onions on a plate on the side.

You want the onions to develop that crisp around the edges and brown caramelization. Some people prefer to completely fry up the onions until they are a dark brown and super crispy, this is also an option.

While the lentils keep cooking along, make the salad. This is a quick and easy salad that should not take more than 5 minutes if you are quick at chopping. Dice the tomatoes into small pieces and finely chop the onions. Place them in a bowl and add the freshly squeezed lemon juice and salt to taste. Mix it well and you’re done!

*Note: you can use pre-squeezed lemon juice if you don’t have fresh lemons available or don’t want to go through the trouble 😉

By the time you are done with the salad, the lentils should be cooked and ready for the rice to be added. Taste the broth of the lentils before adding the rice, you want it to be slightly overspiced and oversalted because when you add the plain uncooked rice to cook together, it will balance out. You don’t want the broth to be bland or just right because once the rice is added, you won’t be able to add more spices due to the rice cooking process.

Strain the water from the rice and add it to the lentils which are still boiling on medium-low heat. Use a wooden spoon and carefully mix the lentils and rice well to get everything combined. Add a dash more of salt and cumin, stir again and cover completely to thoroughly cook. 

Be careful when adding the rice to the lentils. you want both to stay in good shape. That is why we do not want to over mix. A quick stir to get the lentils and rice together should be just enough. The more you stir, the more the lentils will mash up and the rice grains will break.

The rice will need about 10-12 minutes to cook through. Once the rice has soaked up all the water and softened, it will be ready. Turn off the heat but leave it on the stove covered.

Take the second 2 tablespoons of olive oil and pour them in the frying pan that was used earlier for the onions. Heat them on high heat, when the oil loosens you’ll know it’s hot enough. 

*This part is optional and should be done with caution*

Open the lid of the Mjaddara and quickly pour the heated oil over it and close it immediately letting the oil seep through and give the rice a delicious flavor. Keep it closed for a minute or two.

Plate your Mjaddara in individual plates or on a platter and top it with the fried onions. Serve it with the salad you made and some nonfat Greek yogurt on the side as well and enjoy!