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)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.8 from 95 reviews
  • 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

Units 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
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 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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Comments

  1. SO easy and yummy! I’ve made this on the stove and it’s much messier, I really appreciate the instant pot recipe.






  2. Absolutely delicious! Just the meal I want to have in my refrigerator when I am starving. I made the tahini sauce and it was delicious too. Very filling, I liked the sticky of the rice and lentils together. Sauteed shallots were fantastic! A side a vegetable or salad is perfect.
    Thank you so much for a healthy very satisfying meal!






  3. Followed the recipe exactly. Got mushy lentils. Next time I will not pre-soak lentils. May reduce cooking time a minute too.

  4. Could I use your five spice mix in place of the allspice in this recipe. If so how much should I use? Love your recipes!!!

    1. Hey Barbara- I would just leave out the allspice- 5-spice may not be quite right here- although you are free to try it! Perhaps go half?

  5. I’m excited to try this with what I have on on hand tonight – black beluga lentils and Ben’s Original Whole Grain brown rice (it’s parboiled so cooking time should still be 9 minutes I think?)

  6. Absolutely scrumptious!

    I’ve always loved this dish but hadn’t tried to make it myself.
    Will do this recipe again & again.

    Had it with roasted squash, raw beet & your Zhoug yogurt.
    Beautiful! 🙏






  7. This looks delicious but I’m a bit confused on cooking time – I usually cook brown basmati rice for 22 min in my instant pot (and every other recipe I’ve seen out there for brown rice in the IP recommends at least 20 min). Is there a special type of rice you’re using that cooks quicker?

    1. Hi Betty, I use basic brown basmati rice. Do you use the rice setting? Maybe that’s it… here we just set on high pressure.

  8. This was so easy and delicious. I used 3 sweet onions as I love caramelized onions and didn’t use parsley or lemon zest. I garnished with cilantro, avocado, tomatoes, small dollop of Greek yogurt and toasted pine nuts. Yummy! The spices are so warming. Thanks for a great recipe. Love that I could do it in the instant pot.






  9. Lovely and easy yet tastes so much more complex than the few ingredients would suggest. Great over chopped spinach or with sauteed veggies. Will make this often throughout the fall and winter.






  10. Lovely – I didn’t have allspice so added a pinch each of cloves and nutmeg – and don’t care for coriander so left it out. Served with lemon wedges, avocado, tomato, cucumber and sour cream – the kids loved it and we did too. Very easy and I’ve added it to our monthly rota by request.






  11. This was VERY good. I blitzed the spices rather than using them whole. I served with yogurt, parsley, a sprinkle of salt, pepper and chili flakes.

  12. Yum.

    Here’s my adjustment for green lentils and white basmati rice:

    I soaked the green lentils for 4 hours prior to cooking. I cooked for 8 minutes with 2.5 cups water. Natural release for 10. I should have done 7 because both lentils and rice were slightly over cooked — but still yummy, and neither broke down.

    Added an onion, and caramelized in a cast iron pan instead of the instant pot, then transferred before spices were added.

    Served with raw carrots, heirloom tomatoes, raw zucchini, sautéed mushrooms, and hummus. Awesome work meal prep recipe.

    Thank you!!!






  13. The instructions don’t say what to do with the rice. Cook it separately? mix in with the lentils? Throw it at the bride?






  14. This turned out perfectly! I used baharat instead of allspice & kept all of the shallots in the pot, caramelising half a brown onion until it was crispy. Just delicious, sprinkled with some freshly chopped mint & parsley. One point to note, this is a Lebanese dish 🙂






  15. I’ve eaten many mjadras since I was very young because there’s a huge lebanese community where I live. I tried to learn from my friend’s grandma but I never got it right. This is hands down the best I’ve ever eaten. And I made it! With 10 minutes in the kitchen. Thank you so much for this recipe, I’m sure I’ll make it very often.






  16. Delicious, nutritious & super easy to make! Roasted some veggies to go with it and made your tahini sauce to top. Thank you 🙂






  17. Absolutely fantastic. I’ve tried making this dish (not this particular recipe) on the stovetop before and it always came out a mushy, oatmeal mess with no flavor. Trying it in the instant pot was the best. I didn’t have brown basmati rice, so I used white and adjusted accordingly per the recommendation and it did not disappoint. The aroma from the spice mixture punched me in the face (in the best possible way!) and was only a foreshadow of the deliciousness that was to come. I drizzled a little bit of toum on top and man, was it good. I may substitute veggie or chicken broth for the water next time to see what that does for the flavor. Can’t wait to make it again. Wife loved it, I loved it. Well done!






  18. This recipe has come in handy so many times! Love it when I’m in the need for a high fiber recipe.
    Pay extra attention to the water level notes to avoid getting mushy basmati rice.






  19. Love this. I was craving it tonight but didn’t have brown lentils. So, why not try it with red lentils and white rice, cut the liquid a bit, add a shredded carrot? Cut the time to 6 minutes with a 10 minute release. Flavor is great. The whole pot is mush. I’ll stick with the originals next time.






  20. This is sooo delicious!! I’ve been trying to eat more plant based and this recipe is a keeper. I’ve already made it twice in the past week and recommended it to everyone I know. So good with all the toppings, especially the Zhoug sauce (didn’t have yogurt so mixed it with sour cream and it’s amazing) Thank you for such a delicious recipe!






  21. It tasted great but the lentils got a little mushy so it wasn’t the right Mikaela consistency like I’ve eaten before – do you think using a bit less water or maybe cooking a couple minutes less would help?






    1. Yes. It may be the size of your lentils ( smaller?) require less cooking times. They come in so many sizes!

  22. This dish was amazing! Will definitely be going into our regular rotation – flavor was phenomenal. My lentils did break down a little and make it creamy – any idea how to prevent that? I used what I thought were brown lentils, just labeled as “lentils” on the bag and not split.

    1. Hi Beth, they may have been slightly smaller. They come is so many sizes! Maybe cut cooking time back by 1-2 minutes?

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