Mujaddara (also spelled mujadara, mjedra, mejadra, mjadra) is an unbelievably tasty lentil stew that originated in Lebanon. In the country itself, it is known as “poor mans stew” because it is a cheap meal, but also full of nutrients.
Lebanese lentil soup (Mujadarra) begins with delicious caramelized onions, and ends with savory cooked lentils and rice. This is a vegan dish, but I promise you will not miss the meat! Lebanese Lentil stew is hardy, tasty and perfect for meatless Mondays!
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Every year on Easter break, our family would travel to Texas to stay with family and spend the Holiday celebrating the Resurrection together. I have so many great memories, hanging out with my cousins, swimming in the pool together, and having the most massive Easter egg hunt you could ever imagine! It was a week of fun, food and Lebanese tradition.
On Good Friday we would usually spend the day hanging out by the pool if the weather permitted. I vividly remember my aunt getting out a HUGE stock pot in the morning after breakfast to begin the process of making mujaddara. By lunchtime it would be ready, we would all sit poolside and eat a bowl of this lentil stew along with cheese pizza (remember it’s LENT!). Every time I make mujaddara it takes me back to those good memories.
Place 1 cup of dry lentils into a large pot and fill with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and cook it for 30-45 minutes before adding anything else.
How to caramelize onions for lentil soup
FINELY dicing 1 very large onion (or 2 medium sized onions). The key here is to finely dice them, they should almost be minced. You will be crying your eyes out if you do it right!
In a large skillet, add the diced onions with 1/2 cup of olive oil. Saute it, stirring frequently until it is very caramelized. You ALMOST want to burn it. There is a very fine line between being well caramelized and burned. The onions will begin to clump together before it is done.
I love using this basting spoon for almost all of my sautéing needs. It has a flat end kind of like a spatula, but it is a spoon as well, perfect for sautéing onions! Check it out!
As soon as you attain the right caramelization needed, remove the skillet from the heat and CAREFULLY add the water to stop the cooking process of the onions. ****USE CAUTION AS THE HOT OIL WILL CAUSE THE WATER TO SPLATTER
If you are unsure how much to caramelize your onions, check out my video here. This is a very important step to perfect lentil stew. This will show you how I do it.
Video how to make Lebanese Lentil Soup (Mujaddara)
Pour the onion mixture and the rice and spices into the pot with the lentils and simmer it all together, stirring frequently to make sure it’s not sticking on the bottom, for about 45 minutes and the rice is tender. Served with Lebanese flatbread and tabbouleh salad on the side.
**Note: there are some other variations to this savory lentil dish, some of which add swiss chard and other things. Check out this recipe for Mediterranean Lentil Soup with Swiss Chard.
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Lebanese Lentil Stew (Mujaddara)
- 1 cup Brown Lentils
- 4 cups Water
- 1 Large Onion finely diced
- ½ cup Light Olive Oil
- 4 cups Water
- ½ cup White Rice long grain
- 2 teas Salt
- ½ teas Pepper
- Plain yogurt for garnish (optional)
- Put lentils in pot with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and cook for 30-45 minutes while prepping other ingredients
- Finely dice the onions and place in the skillet with olive oil
- See video above, caramelize thee onions until very brown and until they begin to clump together
- Remove from heat and immediately add water to stop the onions from cooking **USE CAUTION SINCE IT MAY SPLATTER WHEN THE WATER HITS THE HOT OIL!!!
- Add the onion mixture and rice and spices to the cooking lentils
- Simmer on medium heat for 45 minutes or until rice is tender and it is a thick consistency
- Enjoy with Lebanese flat bread!