Mujadara is a deceptively simple dish common throughout the Middle East and Israel. Its base components are rice, lentils, and caramelized onions, which might seem boring, but when they come together it’s magical.

Some versions use spices like garlic, cumin, cinnamon, but the versions I’m familiar with stick to just onions and salt for seasoning (the lentils add a peppery flavor).

You’ll find this on regular rotation in most Sephardic households—typically served with Israeli salad and spiced yogurt (unless part of a meat meal, in which case no yogurt).

It’s a one-pot, no-mess, meal, so go ahead and give it a try—you might start making it on regular rotation too.


  • 1 large Spanish onion
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 2 cups Basmati rice
  • 2 cups water


  1. Slice the onion into half-rounds. Add the onions and oil to a deep frying pan (see pictures of the one I used above) or a pot. You’re going to cook the rice and lentils in here too, so make sure you choose one that will fit it all.
  2. Start the onions over high heat, then reduce to low and cook for about an hour, stirring every so often. You want them deeply caramelized. Add the salt about halfway through.
  3. Remove onions and set aside for later.
  4. Soak the lentils for 15 minutes. Drain.
  5. Add the lentils to the pot and enough water to just cover. Cook for 15 minutes.
  6. Keep the lentils in the pot and add the rice and another 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook until the water is absorbed. Turn off the fire and keep covered for 10 minutes. Uncover and let sit for another 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  7. Serve warm with the onions piled on top, or mix them through—up to you.

Serves: 6-8