This is another recipe from the Food52 Cookbook, Volume 2 – the cookbook written by visitors to the Food52 website. Mujaddara is a dish of lentils, rice and caramelized onions, and it’s delicious. This recipe combines it with an Indian-spiced yogurt topping. I served the mujaddara with tandoori shrimp; it would be great with chicken or as a vegetarian main dish. You can also make it ahead and reheat it in the microwave.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check your butter, yogurt and spices. The butter should contain only cream and the yogurt should contain no artificial ingredients. Make sure the spices do not contain colour or anti-caking agents and use freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Look for small green lentils

Caramelized onions add sweetness to this dish

Mujaddara is a mixture of lentils, rice and onions

Mujaddara with spiced yogurt, served beside tandoori shrimp


For the Mujaddara

¾ cups Puy lentils (aka French lentils, the tiny dark brown ones)

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1 cup jasmine rice

2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons olive oil

6 cups onions (about 3 medium onions), halved and thinly sliced

For the yogurt

½ cup Greek yogurt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon cumin (freshly ground, if possible)

½ teaspoon coriander (freshly ground)

½ teaspoon spicy paprika or aleppo pepper

3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Juice and zest of half a lemon

¼ teaspoon salt


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Put lentils, ½ teaspoon salt, and 4 cups water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer lentils until soft but not mushy, about 20 minutes. Drain lentils and set aside. Rinse pot.

Add rice, the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and 1 1/2 cups water to the pot, set over medium heat, and bring to a boil. When water begins to boil, cover pot, transfer to oven, and cook for 17 minutes until perfectly cooked. Remove from oven, uncover, and fluff with a fork. Set aside.

While rice cooks, set a wide, deep sauté pan over medium-low heat and add butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil. When butter has mostly melted, add onions and toss to incorporate with butter and oil.

After 5 minutes, onions will have softened slightly and started to release their liquid.

Raise heat to medium and cook 10 to 12 minutes more, until onions are very soft and browned. Add water by the tablespoon if pan gets too dry or if onions start to stick. When onions are well browned, add last tablespoon of olive oil and raise heat to high. Cook another 3 to 4 minutes, until bottom layer of onions has charred and crisped; try not to stir too much, or onions won’t crisp up.

Combine rice, lentils, and most of the onions in large serving bowl and let sit for at least 15 minutes, to marry the flavors together. Taste, and add more onions if desired. Meanwhile, make the yogurt: mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.

If mujaddara has cooled significantly, reheat in a low oven or even in the microwave for a couple minutes. To serve, plate a big scoop of mujaddara and top with a dollop of yogurt. Serves 4.

From the Food52 Cookbook, Volume 2