Majadera (Lentil, Onion, and Rice Dish)

"This is an easy-to-make, filling, and delicious Middle Eastern dish that uses ingredients from the pantry. I often get compliments on my one-pot version and decided to share it here for those looking for an easy dinner -- or something to bring to the picnic -- that tastes good both hot or at room temperature and reheats well. Various lentils and grains can be substituted. Wild rice gives it a nuttier flavor; bulgar is chewier and softer. Both are delicious in this! Can be served on its own or with a soft white cheese."
photo by Vita258 photo by Vita258
photo by Vita258
photo by Vita258 photo by Vita258
photo by Vita258 photo by Vita258
Ready In:
1hr 10mins


  • 2 medium onions (yellow or red)
  • 2 cups lentils, picked over and rinsed (green, brown, or black will all work, but cooking times vary)
  • 2 cups rice (white, brown, or wild, bulgur will also work)
  • 23 cup olive oil (or enough to cover bottom of pan)
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • salt (about 2 tsp)
  • pepper


  • Roughly chop the onions. In a deep pot, heat the oil and add the onions, stirring to coat them.
  • Let the onions simmer on low to medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they turn a deep brown or almost black, 15-20 minutes. This is the most important step! It gives most of the flavor to the dish. If necessary, add a little oil to keep the onions from burning.
  • Add cumin, cinnamon, and lentils; stir and cook for some seconds.
  • Add the water. Bring to a boil, then turn stove to low heat. Let the lentils simmer until soft (about 25-30 minutes; time varies depending on type of lentil).
  • Add the rice (or bulgur), salt, and pepper.
  • Cover the pot. Cook 10 minutes (or according to the rice instructions). Check after 10 minutes to see if the rice is tender / if needs more water. Turn off heat when done, fluff, and let the rice "rest" for another few minutes with the lid on. Add more salt or pepper if needed.

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