Mujaddara is a delicious warm lentil dish popular throughout the Middle East. It is so well loved that there is an ancient Arabic saying declaring that "A hungry man would be willing to sell his soul for a dish of mujaddara". 

The combination of warm, earthy spices and the fact that it is often served in times of celebration led me to the conclusion that these lentils would be the perfect side to share at a friendsgiving dinner. As an added bonus to being tasty and simple to prepare, mujaddara is composed of extremely affordable ingredients, so you can fill everyone's stomach without emptying your wallet.

Warm Spiced Lentils with Caramelized Onions (Mujaddara)

  • Prep Time:15 mins
  • Cook Time:45 mins
  • Total Time:1 hr
  • Servings:8
  • Medium


  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 1/2 cup bulgur wheat
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 onion chopped finely
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 2 onions sliced into half-moons
  • Parsley for garnish
Tatum Kenrick
  • Step 1

    Rinse lentils and soak them in water for about 15 minutes.

    Tatum Kenrick
  • Step 2

    Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy-bottomed pan.

    Tatum Kenrick
  • Step 3

    When the oil is hot, add diced onion and cook until slightly translucent.

    Tatum Kenrick
  • Step 4

    Stir in garlic and spices and cook until fragrant.

    Tatum Kenrick
  • Step 5

    Add in soaked lentils and enough water to cover, plus an additional 1 cup and 2 teaspoons of salt. Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes, or until lentils are just cooked through. It is important that they are not over cooked, otherwise they will become mushy.

    Tatum Kenrick
  • Step 6

    While lentils are cooking, rinse wheat until water comes out clear.

    Tatum Kenrick
  • Step 7

    When lentils are ready, add bulgur wheat to the pot with 2 cups of water and another teaspoon of salt. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to very low and let cook for about 25 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.

    Tatum Kenrick
  • Step 8

    When lentils and bulgur are almost finished, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan and add in sliced onions, cooking until caramelized.

    Tatum Kenrick
  • Step 9

    Pour mujaddara onto a serving dish, top with chopped parsley and caramelized onions, and enjoy while still warm.

    Tatum Kenrick

One of the best parts of this recipe is how many ways you can tweak it to make it your own. Want a spicy kick? Add a few teaspoons of cayenne pepper. Not sure you can get your hands on bulgur wheat? Whole grain rice is a great substitute. 

Any way you prepare it, this dish will be a standout on your friendsgiving table and have everyone going back for an extra helping.