How to make Mujadara – a nourishing vegan meal of lentils and rice, infused with fragrant Moroccan spices, served with caramelized shallots and seasonal veggies.  This recipe can be made in an Instant Pot or on the  stovetop! Video. 

How to make Mujadara -a flavorful, vegan Moroccan meal w/ lentils, rice & fragrant Moroccan spices. Can be made in the Instant Pot or stovetop.

Few desires, happy life. ~Moroccan Proverb

While in Morocco last winter, we hired a guide to take us high up into the Atlas Mountains to visit the beautiful old Berber villages. Our beautiful guide, Rachid was not eating meat during this time and would often stop at roadside cafes for a quick bowl of Mujadara- a simple, humble, nourishing meal of lentils and rice, seasoned with flavorful Moroccan Spices.

He described it as Moroccan comfort food – filling, nourishing and very affordable. The combination of spices is what turned this humble meal into something truly spectacular. And each bowl was a little different, depending on the town. Such flavor and aroma!

Mujadara Recipe | 60-sec video

ingredients in Mujadara

Of course when we got home, it was the first thing I replicated. So this recipe is straight from Morocco and I hope you enjoy it as much as we have!

Mujadara can be made either on the stovetop (see the recipe notes) or very quickly in an Instant Pot. Don’t skip the step of caramelizing the onions, they truly elevate!

I like to make a batch and have it in the fridge for midweek lunches. I thought my husband Brian would shun the Mujadara, but to my surprise, he happily gobbled it up and wanted seconds – always the true test!

Ingredients in Mujadara

A Note on Lentils and Rice 

If you use other lentils beside brown lentil (like small black or green ones) or different rice (like white basmati) you will have to adjust the liquid down a bit. Most Lentils take 9 minutes  (unless they’re very small) to cook in the Instant Pot. White Basmati Rice takes 5 minutes in the Instant Pot .

That is why we use brown basmati rice here, because they take roughly the same amount to time to cook as the big brown lentils.

***The goal here is getting both lentils and rice to cook in the same amount of time, so neither is mushy. 🙂  Please refer to recipe notes!

Optional Garnishes for Mujadara

  • diced tomato
  • diced avocado
  • dark leafy greens
  • sprouts or microgreens,
  • sliced cucumber
  • pine nuts,
  • drizzle of olive oil,
  • yogurt or vegan yogurt
  • zhoug yogurt (amazing) or Harissa yogurt- see recipe notes.
  • tahini sauce
  • lemon wedges
  • fresh parsley
  • aleppo chili flakes

How to make Mujadara -a flavorful, vegan Moroccan meal w/ lentils, rice & fragrant Moroccan spices. Can be made in the Instant Pot or stovetop.

How to make Mujadara

The basic recipe for Mujadara  is quick and easy, and can be made on the stovetop or in an instant pot.

Instant Pot Mujadara

  1. Place lentils in a bowl and cover with hot tap water (or boiling water), letting them soak until time to add to the instant pot.
  2. Set Instant Pot to Saute function. Saute shallots in the oil, 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly,  until tender and fragrant and slightly caramelized. Remove half, saving for the topping. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add all the spices, salt, lemon zest and water. Stir.
  3. Drain the lentils and add them along with the rinsed rice to the instant pot.  Give a good stir.
  4. Cover the instant pot and set to High pressure for 11 minutes. Let naturally release for at least 10 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, prep any garnishes you like.
  6. To serve, gently fluff the Mujadara with a fork (do not over mix, or it will get mushy ).  Divide among bowls, drizzle with olive oil, add tomatoes, avocado, caramelized shallots, sprouts, a spoonful of yogurt or zhoug yogurt, or tahini sauce – and fresh parsley or mint.

Stovetop Mujadara

  1. If using large brown lentils, par-cook them in boiling water for 15 minutes.
  2. While the lentils are boiling, heat oil in a dutch oven and cook the shallots, stirring often until golden and caramelized. Remove half and seat aside.
  3. Drain the lentils and add them along with rice, spices, salt, water to the pot. Bring to a simmer, cover tightly and cook on low heat for 20-25 minutes.
  4. Check to see if lentils and rice are tender. If not, continue to cook a few more minutes, adding more water if necessary. If using small black or green lentils, check cooking directions for cooking time – and adjust par cooking time according to the size of the lentil. For example, tiny black beluga lentils take 20 minutes to cook, so you would not need to par-cook.
  5. While Mujadara is simmering prep any garnishes you like.
  6. To serve, gently fluff the Mujadara with a fork (do not over mix, or it will get mushy ).  Divide among bowls, drizzle with olive oil, add tomatoes, avocado, caramelized shallots, sprouts, a spoonful of yogurt or zhoug yogurt, or tahini sauce – and fresh parsley or mint.

Instant Pot Mujadara

Can Mujadara be made ahead?

YES! It is the perfect healthy thing to meal-prep for the week. It is easily reheated for easy healthy midweek meals. A healthy delicious base! Feel free to freeze Mujadara – it reheats well.

Can Mujadara be vegan?

Yes it is vegan! To keep this vegan, top with tahini sauce instead of yogurt. Or add avocado!

How to make Mujadara -a flavorful, vegan Moroccan meal w/ lentils, rice & fragrant Moroccan spices. Can be made in the Instant Pot or stovetop.

I love the warm, fragrant aroma of the lentils and rice, paired with the cool, crunchy raw veggies. Such great texture!

The addition of something creamy or rich like olive oil, tahini sauce or yogurt or  zhoug yogurt(THE BEST) or even Harissa Yogurt ( mix harissa pasta yogurt together) really elevates.

Yes I realize these are not all “Moroccan sauces”,  but they do taste good here. Just sayin’. 😉

An energizing healthy bowl!

IHow to make Mujadara -a flavorful, vegan Moroccan meal w/ lentils, rice & fragrant Moroccan spices. Can be made in the Instant Pot or stovetop.

The fresh herbs and olive oil really elevate the Mujadara, so don’t skip this step at the very least.

Instant Pot Mujadara - a comforting, healthy vegetarian meal of lentils and rice, with fragrant Middle Eastern spices, served with caramelized shallots, fresh veggies, pine nuts and optional yogurt. Gluten-free and Vegan adaptable. #mujadara #healthy #lentils #rice #instantpot #instapot #mujadararecipe

Moroccan Mujadara! A quick and easy vegan meal that is healthy, delicious, and easy- and can be made on the stove or an Instant Pot.  You will love this! I promise!

xoxo

Sylvia

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Instant Pot Mujadara - a comforting, healthy vegetarian meal of lentils and rice, with fragrant Moroccan spices, served with caramelized shallots, fresh veggies, pine nuts and optional yogurt. Gluten-free and Vegan adaptable.

Mujadara Recipe (Instant Pot & Stovetop)

  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine | Feasting at Home
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 5 1x
  • Category: Main, vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, instant pot,
  • Method: instant pot
  • Cuisine: middle eastern
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

How to make Mujadara – a comforting, healthy Moroccan meal of lentils and rice, with fragrant Moroccan spices. This can be made in an Instant Pot or on the Stovetop. Vegan and GF.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup large brown lentils (do not use split lentils) see notes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 23 fat shallots, thinly sliced ( or 1 red onion)
  • 4 cloves garlic, rough chopped
  • 2 teaspoons  cumin
  • 1 teaspoons coriander
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric, optional
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint or parsley ( or use a tablespoon of fresh)
  • lemon zest from one small lemon
  • 3 cups water (updated from 3 1/2 cups- see notes if using white rice)
  • 1 cup brown basmati rice (rinsed and drained- see notes for white basmati rice)

Garnishes: caramelized shallot or onion, diced tomato, simple roasted veggies, diced avocado, sprouts or greens, sliced cucumber, pine nuts, a drizzle of olive oil, yogurt,  vegan yogurt, zhoug yogurt (amazing),  lemon wedges, fresh parsley, aleppo chili flakes. (In winter, serve with roasted root veggies, shredded kale, carrots, or cabbage or beets!


Instructions

Instant Pot Version

  1. Place lentils in a bowl and cover with hot tap water (or boiling water), letting them soak until time to add to the instant pot.
  2. Set Instant Pot to Saute function. Saute shallots in the oil, 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly,  until tender and fragrant and slightly caramelized. Remove half, saving for the topping. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add all the spices, salt, lemon zest and water. Stir.
  3. Drain the lentils and add them along with the rinsed rice to the instant pot.  Give a good stir.
  4. Cover the instant pot and set to High pressure for 11 minutes. Let naturally release for at least 10 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, prep any garnishes you like.
  6. To serve, gently fluff the Mujadara with a fork (do not over mix, or it will get mushy ).  Divide among bowls, drizzle with olive oil, add tomatoes, avocado, caramelized shallots, sprouts, a spoonful of yogurt or zhoug yogurt, or tahini sauce – and fresh parsley or mint.

Stovetop Version: 

  1. IF using large brown lentils, par-cook them in boiling water ( like you would pasta) for 15 minutes.   If using small black caviar lentil or green lentils, check cooking directions for cooking time. Adjust par cooking time according to the size of a lentil. For example, tiny black beluga lentils take 20 minutes to cook, so you would not need to par-cook.
  2. While the lentils are simmering, heat oil in a wide, shallow, heavy bottomed pot or  dutch oven and saute the shallots, stirring often until golden and caramelized. Remove half and set aside.
  3. Drain the lentils and add it along with rice, spices, salt, water to the pot. Bring to a simmer, cover tightly and cook on low heat for 20-25 minutes. Check to see if lentils and rice are tender. If not, continue to cook a few more minutes, adding more water if necessary.
  4. In the meantime, prep any garnishes you like.
  5. To serve, gently fluff the Mujadara with a fork (do not over mix, or it will get mushy ).  Divide among bowls, drizzle with olive oil, add tomatoes, avocado, caramelized shallots, sprouts, a spoonful of yogurt or zhoug yogurt, harissa yogurt, or tahini sauce – and fresh parsley or mint.

Notes

LENTILS & RICE: If you use different lentils (like small ones) or different rice (like white basmati) you will have to adjust the liquid down a bit. Most Lentils take 9 minutes  (unless they’re very small) to cook in the Instant Pot. White Basmati Rice takes 5 minutes in the pressure cooker. That is why we use brown basmati rice here, because they take roughly the same amount to time to cook as the lentils. The goal here is getting both lentils and rice to cook in the same amount of time, so neither is mushy. 🙂

WHITE RICE If using white basmati rice, shorten the cooking time to 9 minutes and reduce water to 2.5 cups. The rice will still get slightly mushy, but not horribly.

This can be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen, reheated, and used as a healthy base for mid-week lunches.

To make Harissa yogurt or Zhoug yogurt- simple mix a 1-3 tablespoons of harissa paste or zhoug to a cup of plain yogurt (of course you can use vegan yogurt)

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 ½ cups plus tomato & avocado and drizzle olive oil.
  • Calories: 429
  • Sugar: 4.3 g
  • Sodium: 714.7 mg
  • Fat: 14.8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 63.1 g
  • Fiber: 9.4 g
  • Protein: 14.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

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  1. Thank you for another yummy recipe. My mother-in-law makes the Lebanese version with a ton of onions and no seasoning. I used more onion (three red) than your recipe called for, but otherwise followed the recipe as stated for the Instant Pot (I love my Instant Pot). The Moroccan spices provided warmth and depth to the flavor, and the lentils and rice were perfectly cooked. Thank you for another great recipe.

  2. I multiplied the recipe by 2.5 to use a whole pound of lentils and share with a friend who recently had a baby. I reduced the total water by about a half a cup because of this. I thought it turned out great. I caramelized onions on the stove separately to add in at the end as per Zahav cookbook. Very tasty recipe and would be an easy weeknight option if the onions were prepped ahead of time.

  3. Top notch flavors. I added handfuls of greens to wilt at the end along with chopped herbs: fresh cilantro, parsley and mint. Served with lemon yogurt. Used the instant pot with French lentils and long grain brown basmati rice and used your recipe time and everything was perfectly cooked. I used red onions instead of shallots and that caramel used bit is I think the cherry on top for this. Also adding lemon juice at the end. Thanks so much for this. Husband also loved it.

  4. I’ve been making this recipe for several years so figured I should leave a comment of gratitude. This is a staple, go-to dinner in my home. It can be as fancy as you want with a smorgasbord of fresh garnishes, or stripped down to the bare essentials if money is tight that week. I follow the recipe pretty much exactly but sometimes leave out the lemon zest if I don’t have lemons on hand, and add a little lemon pepper spice into the mix instead. I like to garnish with garlic hummus, grape tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, Aleppo pepper, and lemon juice. I love lentil-rice Instant Pot recipes and this one is top notch. Thank you Sylvia 🙂

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Hi, I'm Sylvia!

Chef and author of the whole-foods recipe blog, Feasting at Home, Sylvia Fountaine is a former restaurant owner and caterer turned full-time food blogger. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest and shares seasonal, healthy recipes along with tips and tricks from her home kitchen.

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