Onion Lentils and Rice

"This recipe is adapted from "What to Cook" cookbook. Other than slicing the onions, it doesn't take a lot of prep time. This is what I make when I come home from work hungry and exhausted and want something yummy and filling for dinner."
photo by Ninna photo by Ninna
photo by Ninna
photo by pourmoidjour photo by pourmoidjour
photo by tendollarwine photo by tendollarwine
photo by tendollarwine photo by tendollarwine
photo by C in PA photo by C in PA
Ready In:




  • Heat olive oil in skillet, saute the onions with 1 tsp cumin until lightly browned (can add some garlic too, if desired).
  • Remove 1/3 of the onions and set aside.
  • Continue cooking the rest of the onions until dark brown and black in places.
  • In the meantime, bring water to a boil in a saucepan, add the lentils, reduce heat, and cover, simmering for 15 minutes.
  • To the lentils, add the 1/3 lightly browned onions, rice, salt, and remaining 1 tsp cumin.
  • Cover and simmer 15 minutes or until rice is tender.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the well-browned onions.
  • Cover and let stand for 5-10 minutes.
  • Serve!
  • Especially good with chopped lettuce, tomatoes, and a dollop of yogurt or sour cream on top.
  • Also good with cooked spinach.

Questions & Replies

  1. Can I make this in my instant pot?
  2. Do I boil the lentils first or use them dry?


  1. This was soooo good. I really appreciate the simplicity and vegan ingredients. I made as written mostly, but I already had cooked brown rice so I used 1/2 cup less water. I also sprinkled a bit of salt and cinnamon on the onions as they carmelized as per another Mujadarra recipe I saw online. Finally I increased the salt by 1/2 tsp.
  2. AWESOME! I made this last night for dinner. I used regular small brown lentils and brown rice--which, unfortunately, took longer to cook and still wasn't quite done. A word to the wise: you may need a bit of broth or water if you use heavy-duty brown rice in this recipe. But it was great! I also added about 6 cloves of garlic because I'm a garlic freak. This was wonderful--I'll make it very often. Thanks for posting!
  3. Yummy! This was my first time making anything with lentils in it, and I'm so pleased with the results! The lentils ended up a bit firmer than I think I would have liked, so next time I think I'll let them cook 5 minutes longer. I think they'd also be good rolled up with lettuce, tomato, and sour cream in a flour tortilla and eaten burrito-style. It's even better the next day---I'm eating the leftovers for lunch right now!
  4. Loved it. Easy, tasty and cheap- just the way I like it. I used long grain brown rice and therefore increased the water by a bit and cooked it longer. I think it changed the texture a bit, but great none the less. Thanks for posting
  5. I found this recipe while trying to use up some random ingredients in my cupboard, and it was perfect for using the almost empty bags of green lentils and jasmine rice. I also wanted to use up a small amount of unsweetened coconut and some pepitas, so I toasted those and added with the caramelized onions. (I also used coconut oil to cook the onions.) A little random but it worked out well. This is wonderful comfort food!


  1. I made and is really easy and delicious! I used Baharat or seven spices for Arabic flavor. And you can make this in the oven too.
  2. This has become one of our favorite dishes. I make it all the time and have become somewhat of a genius in the kitchen because of it. It's easy and best of all it's cheap! I use turmeric instead of cumin and a bit of red pepper since we like our food SPICY. Thanks so much for posting this recipe!!



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