Mujadara with Crispy Onions

I do love my cookbooks and I especially enjoy ones by authors who live in the state of Michigan. Just like I support the local farmers and buy their produce at the market I also support other “made in Michigan” products  from my Great Lake State.

Rosewater and Orange Blossom cookbook certainly has a special attraction not just with the title but the author, Maureen Abood who grew up as a Lebanese -American in Michigan. Who doesn’t love rosewater or orange blossom in “sweets” especially!

When I get a new cookbook I sit down in my comfortable recliner and maybe listen to TV and read through it writing down all of the recipes I might like to try. This time the weather was beautiful and warm and I sat out on my deck leafing through all the interesting recipes.

I just happened to pick this vegetarian recipe with three favorite ingredients; lentils, rice and caramelized onions.  I knew it would become a favorite so how could I go wrong making this.

Mujadara with Crispy Onions

  • 1 cup green or brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
  • 4 cups water, divided
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 4 cups onions, diced
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup long-grain rice or bulgur (I used rice)
  • few grinds of black pepper
  • drizzle with oil to serve
  • serve with labneh (thick yogurt) and flatbread

Fried Onion Garnish:

  • canola oil for frying
  • onion cut in very thin rings or pieces (shallots would work good too) – make lots of them!

Place the lentils in a small saucepan and add 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the lentils are al dente, about 12 minutes. They will finish cooking in a later step. Remove from the heat and set them aside in the cooking liquid.

In a large saute pan (use 12-14-inch) heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until they are a dark brown, about 40 minutes or so. While they are cooking sprinkle with 1 tsp. of salt. You must stir frequently to keep the onions from burning, especially towards the last 15 minutes of the cooking time.   Adjust the heat if you need to.

Gradually add the remaining 2 cups of water; bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes.

Stir in  the rice and the lentils with their liquid. Bring back to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and cook until the liquid has been absorbed, about 20 minutes; stir occasionally. Taste the rice and lentils and adjust the seasonings.

Serve warm or room temperature and  drizzle with oil (optional).

Fry thin slices of onions to use as a garnish. Make lots! Top with a dollop of labneh (thick yogurt) and some fried onions. Serve with flatbread and maybe a green salad.

Recipe by

Linking to Fiesta Friday #187.

The onions in the beginning and in the end…

25 thoughts on “Mujadara with Crispy Onions

  1. Lentils and rice is an absolute favorite of mine too, Judi and the crispy onions on top! Yum!
    I get a packet of crispy fried onions available in Indian markets so it is even easier…I have to make your mouthwatering recipe soon. Love labneh too….drooling here 🙂


    • Thanks Sandhya – I absolutely love the combination of lentils and rice. I’m so happy I discovered this recipe and of course I like lots of crispy onions on top. There must not be a long shelf life on fried onions in a store – they would get rancid right?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Judi,
        Not sure why, but the store bought fried onions do last quite well. I think they must sun dry the onions first.
        But I don’t like to take a chance- I had got a smaller package to try but when I found the leftover package in the pantry….when I was cleaning the pantry….they did not smell rancid.


  2. This looks SO flavorful and comforting! Those crispy onions…I could eat them by the spoonful! That’s really neat that this is even from a cookbook written by a Michigander 🙂


    • That’s why I said “make lots of them” as I could eat a lot too! When I saw the cover of her cookbook I knew I had to buy it and was pleasantly surprised she lives in Michigan. She gives little stories about her life and I always enjoy that sometimes just as much as the recipes.


  3. Judi,
    This is my first time on your blog – looks like you have some wonderful recipes. Mujadara is on of our favorites- I make it at home , and I order it when I’m in a Middle Eastern restaurant –
    I absolutely could not believe what I read when I saw you are aunt juju– my grandkids call me grandma juju- I guess we are both judi’s ( Judee) so funny. Looking forward to looking through your blog-


  4. Another Juju – how wonderful. A nephew when he was 2 could not say Judi and from that day on I became “Aunt Juju”. All my nieces and nephews call me that. I love to make all kinds of recipes and experiment with different cuisines. Mujadara is so good, especially with all of those onions.


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