Photo of Mujadara (lentils topped with crispy caramelized onions) by WW

Mujadara (lentils topped with crispy caramelized onions)

Total Time
1 hr 40 min
10 min
1 hr 30 min
Here is a perfect example of the payoff you get for taking the time to cook low-and-slow. It may seem crazy to cook the onions for at least an hour, but the payoff is worth it: Incredibly sweet and deeply flavored onions. Be sure to use yellow, not sweet onions, for the best flavor and texture. This super-fragrant Middle Eastern dish is typically made with white basmati rice, but we use brown basmati for a whole-grain boost and extra-nutty flavor. If you’d like to use precooked lentils, you’ll need 4 cups.


Extra virgin olive oil

4 Tbsp, divided

Uncooked Spanish onion(s)

3 large, about 2 1/2 lb, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

Kosher salt

1¾ tsp, divided

Dry lentils

1½ cup(s), brown

Bay leaf

2 leaf/leaves, divided

Ground cumin

1 Tbsp

Dried ground coriander

2 tsp

Ground cinnamon

½ tsp

Black pepper

½ tsp

Uncooked brown basmati rice

1½ cup(s)

Fresh parsley

2 Tbsp, chopped (optional)


  1. Heat 12-inch or larger nonstick skillet over medium. Add 3 tbsp oil and swirl to coat. Add onions and 3⁄4 tsp salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions start to soften, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are very tender and golden brown, 1 hour to 1 hour, 15 minutes; reduce heat to low if onions brown too quickly.
  2. Meanwhile, in large saucepan, place lentils and 1 bay leaf. Add enough water to cover lentils by 2 inches and bring to boil. Reduce heat to maintain simmer and cook until lentils are just tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain and set aside. Discard bay leaf.
  3. Meanwhile, heat Dutch oven over medium-high. Add remaining 1 tbsp oil and swirl to coat. Add cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and black pepper and cook, stirring constantly, until very fragrant, 15 to 30 seconds. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until coated, about 1 minute. Stir in 3 cups water, remaining 1 tsp salt, and remaining bay leaf and bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until rice is tender and water is absorbed, about 45 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Fold in lentils and about third of caramelized onions. Cover and cook until lentils are heated through, about 5 minutes. Spoon into large bowl.
  4. Meanwhile, place skillet with remaining caramelized onions over medium-high heat. Cook, gently stirring occasionally, until onions are deeply browned and crisp with some charred spots, 8 to 10 minutes. Spoon over lentils. Sprinkle with parsley (if using).
  5. Serving size: about 1 cup