rice and lentils cover photo

Rice with lentils and caramelized onions

My easy version of the popular Mediterranean recipe for rice with lentils and caramelized onions

My recipe for you today is based on the original dish called Mujaddara. This is a classic Southern Mediterranean dish featuring lentils and generally rice. It’s served garnished with caramelized onions.

I have no experience with Eastern cuisine so I decided that I want to start easy and the rice with lentils and caramelized onions really appealed to me. This recipe is:

  • easy
  • fast
  • flavoury
  • budget-friendly
  • packed with protein
  • very appetizing!

rice and lentils ready
My rice and lentils ready

So, I checked my pantry and of course, I had all the needed ingredients ready at hand. This is another great thing about this recipe. You almost certainly have all ingredients already so no need for any fancy shopping!

When making this recipe, you can vary between types of rice and lentils you use. I did it twice with French lentils and I really liked the result. Overall, of most types of lentils I’ve tried, I liked French the best. For me, it cooks faster than traditional green lentils. But unlike red lentils, it keeps its shape after cooking. Red lentils always turns into a mush when I prepare it.

preparing rice and lentils on my stove
Preparing rice and lentils on my stove

You can also try different types of rice and get amazing results. I used classic white medium-grain rice that I had at home. Similarly, red or yellow onions are also fine. Red produces a slightly sweeter taste so I prefer it generally.

More lentils recipes from me:

This recipe calls for only two spices – cinnamon and cumin. This may sound a bit weird for you at first, but trust me – add the cinnamon, don’t skip it! The taste it gives to the dish is amazing!

With no further ado, let’s get cooking!


  • One and a half cups lentils
    (I used French lentils, but you can use green or red as you choose)
  • One cup rice
  • Two large red onions
    (Yellow also works – I tried it and liked it just as much as with red)
  • Half a tbsp tomato puree
  • One tsp cumin
  • Half a tsp cinnamon
  • Salt and oil to taste

sautee onions for rice and lentils topping
Caramelizing the onions for rice and lentils topping


  1. Start by chopping half an onion in cubes and set the other one and a half onions aside for now
  2. Add the onion to a pot. Sautee the chopped onion in 2-3 tbsp oil for about a minute
  3. Add the lentils and four cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes on low temperature. I choose to use French lentils, because I like the taste more than any other type of lentils.
  4. Add the rice to the pot along with the spices – salt, cumin and cinnamon. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes or until the rice is cooked
  5. While the rice and lentils are broiling, slice your one and a half onion in semi-circles.
  6. Add the sliced onion to a skillet with a drop of oil and caramelize it on medium heat. Make sure you stir it well so it doesn’t burn on one side.
  7. When it’s almost done. add a tablespoon of tomato paste, mix well and leave for an additional minute.
  8. Serve the rice and lentils in a big plate and top it off with a large helping of caramelized onions.

rice and lentils ready side view
Rice and lentils ready side view

This dish is amazing and sooo aromatic! If you’re vegetarian, you can add some sour cream on the side. Or, if you find vegan sour cream – a large spoonful!

Did you like this recipe? Share how you made it in the comment section below!

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Rice with lentils and caramelized onions
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