Instant Pot Mujadara Lentils and Rice – a humble, hearty, protein packed side or vegetarian main, made with lentils, rice and veggies. Cooked to perfection – no mushy lentils or rice. Imagine the goodness of grains, legumes and veggies in one bowl, garnish it with caramelized onions and parsley and serve with salad or yogurt. It’s super yum!!! Vegan. Gluten-Free. Plant-based.
Believe me you when I say that after living an apartment hotel for more than a month, I am so looking forward to move into our home this month end. I can barely wait to cook in the comfort of my own kitchen. Although on the bright side this month has made me realize that I can definitely live like a minimalist, the European way with one of my favorite and most important kitchen toy, the Instant Pot.
I literally use if every possible way, pressure cook, sautee, boil, make porridge, make chili, cook beans and even sir fry. It’s definitely been a savior. I love it’s versatility and how easy it is to cook in it and clean it. If are are not already an Instant Pot owner and wondering if it’s still worth it, check out our post Is the Instant Pot worth it?
Lentils and Rice
So my recent favorite ingredients to cook in the Instant Pot are lentils and rice. After our popular posts, How To Make Perfect Rice Everytime, Rice Pudding, Italian Lentil Soup, Lentil Spaghetti, it was time time to combine my favorite ingredients together into a Lentil and Rice recipe.
Lentils and rice are an ancient preparation made differently in different cultures. Commonly known as Mujadara in the Middle Eastern and Khichadi in India, it’s a nutritious meal on a budget and I think you will love this preparation when you try it.
A classic Mujadara recipe is made with lentils and rice seasoned with cumin, coriander powder, chili powder, cinnamon and mint, garnished with caramelized onions and served with yogurt. However I wanted to make this already nutritious dish hearty so I gave it a lil tweak added a few veggies to it and honestly it turned out great.
Lentils and rice are great when you are looking for a something comforting, nutritious, filling and easy to make. Or when you want to cook for a large crowd on a budget.
How to cook Mujadara Lentils and Rice in Instant Pot
When cooking Mujadara in Instant Pot, you have to keep in mind that lentils take longer to cook in an Instant Pot compared to the rice. So the most first most important thing to do here is soak the lentils ahead of time so the lentils and rice can be cooked together for the same time. You definitely do not want to use unsoaked lentils as it will leave you with partially cooked lentils. So do not skip this step. So I soak my lentils atleast the night before or 5-6 hours before cooking.
Next heat some olive oil and temper it with cumin, garam masala, chopped parsley and onions. Traditionally the oil is tempered with cumin, coriander powder, chili powder, cinnamon which are pretty much the ingredients of my kitchen staple, the garam masala so I just added the garam masala to it. Once the onions are caramelized, I remove some and keep side for garnishing.
Next I toss in the rinsed basmati rice, zucchini, carrots and soaked but drained lentils into the pot. When I have vegetable broth handy I add vegetable broth or else I add water and salt.
Pressure cook for about 6 minutes, that is the minimum time required for the rice and soaked lentils to cook. Allow the pressure to naturally release and you will have the perfect lentils and rice ready in your Instant Pot. No mushy rice or lentil, each grain is separate.
Lastly garnish with the remainder of caramelized onions and parsley or mint. Take a bite and you will fall in love with how comforting each bite it.
What to serve with Mujadara
- My favorite is the thick and creamy Instant Pot Yogurt. If you haven’t tried this 2 ingredients / 2 step fail proof recipe, I definitely recommend.
- Lemon wedges and fresh herbs
- A Mediterranean salad perhaps.
What lentils can I use to cook Mujadara
I have used French green lentils since I didn’t have brown lentils handy. You can use either one but just remember to soak the lentils before you throw them in the pot.
Meal Prep & Freezer Meal Lentils and Rice
Whats great about Mujadara is that it makes an awesome freezer meal or meal prep option. We have our shipment arriving from the US tomorrow and this is going to be one busy week so I meal prepped a few meals and refrigerated and froze some. This can be refrigerated for upto 4 days or frozen in freezer safe containers for upto a month. Make sure you remember to defrost them 12 hours ahead of time to defrost and then heat it completely before serving. I even packed it for the hubby and son in their thermos for their lunches.
Oil Free Onions
Oh yes, you can absolutely caramelize the onions with out any oil. Although a little olive oil won’t harm, but if you would like to completely skip the oil, saute the onions in a covered pan for about 20-30 minutes until they turn golden brown. Stir occasionally and deglaze the pan with splashed of water when the pan dries out.
I hope you try this delicious recipe and fall in love with it. Don’t forget to take a picture and send it our way on Facebook or Instagaram. Tag us @dbellyrulesdmind.
- Soak the lentils overnight.
- Heat oil in Instant Pot. Temper oil with cumin, garam masala and half of the parsley. If you don't have garam masala handy, temper it with cinnamon, coriander powder, chili powder.
- Saute the onions until translucent or golden brown. Keep aside half the onions for garnishing.
- Add soaked and drained lentils, zucchini, carrots and rinsed rice to the pot.
- Pour in either vegetable broth or water
- Close the load and seal the vent.
- Pressure cook for 6 minutes and allow pressure to naturally release.
- Garnish with remaining caramelized onions and parsley.
- Serve with yogurt or salad.
- Soaking Lentils - Do not skip this step. I have explained the reason in my post above.
- Lentil Variety - Green or brown lentils work. Make sure to soak them and then cook
- Garam Masala alternative - Cumin, coriander powder, chili powder, cinnamon.
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