Middle Eastern Lentils & Rice

Middle Eastern Lentils & Rice

Difficulty Level


  • 1 pound (about 2 cups) green or red lentils
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 cups rice
  • 4-1/2 cups water
  • About 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • Fried onions or yogurt for garnish


Serves 6 - 8. Rinse the lentils and soak in water to cover for a least 2 hours. Drain. (Although there is no need to soak lentils as with beans, soaking in warm water for several hours or overnight helps to bring out the lentil's flavor and maintain its shape during cooking.) Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the rice and saute until well coated, about 1 minute. Add the lentils, water, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until tender and the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes. Stir with a fork to fluff. Transfer to a large serving platter and scatter fried onions over the top or serve with yogurt. Note: This simple lentil-and-rice dish is popular throughout the Middle East, called megadara/mujadara in Syria, Lebanon, and Greece and koshari in Egypt. A similar dish called kedegeree or kitchiri is popular in India.

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