Mujadara - This Instant Pot mujadara recipe is a delicious combination of lentils, rice and caramelized onions. This fragrant vegetarian recipe comes together quickly in your pressure cooker, making it perfect for any night of the week. Best part, the lentils and rice are cooked to perfection, no mushy rice nor lentils. 1 min. Video recipe.
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This recipe was originally published in April 2019 and has been updated with new content , pictures and video
What is Mujadara?
Mujadara is a traditional combination of lentils and rice. Caramelized onions garnish and add some extra flavor to the lentils and rice. It is a hearty, comforting meal perfect for preparing ahead of time and sending with your family for a hearty mid-day lunch. It's a nutritious meal on a budget and I think you will love this preparation when you try it.
Mujadara Recipe Ingredients
The main ingredients of mujadara are lentils, rice and onions. Since you can cook them all in the Instant Pot, it is an easy, one pot meal that is easy to make. For this Instant Pot lentils and rice recipe, I use basmati rice and green or brown lentils, depending on what I have on hand.
For added flavor, you’ll need the following spices:
- Bay leaves
- cinnamon ground
- cumin ground
- coriander ground
- garlic cloves
- chili powder
- olive oil
- salt (as desired)
You can also add a little flavor and richness using vegetable stock instead of water in the Instant Pot.
I also use olive oil to caramelize the onions. You can also caramelize onions without using oil. Just use water to deglaze the pot and make sure to keep stirring the onions frequently.
How to make Instant Pot Mujadara
Like other recipes, the Instant Pot adds extra ease to making mujadara. It is a great tool because you can cook the lentils, onions, and rice in the same pot. Nervous to use the Instant Pot for this recipe? Don’t be! We break down exactly how to use the Instant Pot in our beginner’s guide to the Instant Pot, called Is the Instant Pot Worth It.
Before you get started, make sure you soak the lentils overnight. When you make it the next day, heat the oil using the saute function. Add in the half moon shaped, sliced onions and saute until the onions have caramelized. Once they are done, remove them from the inner pot and set aside.
Once the onions (caramalized) are removed, add in the remaining oil to the inner pot. Add in the finely chopped onions and garlic and saute until the onions start to soften and become fragrant. Stir the bay leaves ,cumin, cinnamon, coriander powder, and chili powder and temper the oil.
When the onions are done, add the pre-soaked and drained lentils and rinsed rice to the inner pot. Pour in the vegetable broth or water and close the lid. Set the valve to sealing and pressure cook for 6 minutes on high pressure. When done, allow the pressure to naturally release.
Remove it from the Instant Pot. Garnish with caramelized onions and parsley.
Serve it with yogurt or a salad.
Pro tips and tricks to make the best Instant Pot Mujadara
- Always soak the lentils.
- Don’t use canned lentils or yellow or red lentils in this dish.
- Make sure to rinse the rice really well. The more debris you remove from the rice, the softer and fluffier it will be when cooked.
- If you want to keep the meal vegan, do not serve with yogurt. Choose a salad instead.
Can I make Mujadara on Stove Top?
Don't own an electric pressure cooker, no worries you can enjoy this Mujadara like it's traditionally cooked on stove top.
Tips - Don't forget to soak the lentils the previous night. When cooking on the stove top you cook the lentils and rice in one pot and while the rice and lentils are cooking, you caramelize the onions parallely.
Using a dutch oven or in a soup pot, heat the oil. Add the cumin, cinnamon, coriander powder, and chili powder and cook until fragrant. Then add the finely chopped onions and saute until the onions become soft and fragrant too.
Once the onions are ready, add in 5 cups of water and bring it to boil. Once the water starts boiling, reduce the heat to medium and add the presoaked lentils and rice, stir the onions lentils and rice. Cover with a lid and cook on low heat for until the water is absorbed. This should take approximately 25 minutes.
Meanwhile make the caramelized onions for the topping. Heat some oil in a skillet and add the moon shaped onions and cook on medium heat until they caramelize and the edges start getting crispy and dark.
Lastly when the lentils and rice are cooked, add the caramelized onions and topping and relish this Mujadara preparation.
Can you save Mujadara?
If you want to make it ahead for the family to take to work or school, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days in an airtight container. If you want to freeze it, put it into a freezer safe container and freeze for up to a month.
What lentils can I use to make Mujadara?
We use brown or green lentils to make it. It’s best to avoid any variety of canned lentils.
Do I have to soak the lentils?
Yes, this recipe calls for soaking the lentils overnight to match the pressure cooking time with rice.
What to serve with Mujadara?
Can I make this Mujadara recipe Vegan?
This recipe is naturally vegan. It only contains plant based ingredients.
Make this wholesome and nutritious Mujadara, lentil and rice recipe for a delicious lunch or dinner. Did you make this recipe? Leave a comment below and let us know how you enjoyed it.
Instant Pot Mujadara Recipe Lentils and Rice
- basmati rice 1 cup, washed
- green or brown lentils 1 cup, soaked overnight
- onions 2 large, one diced and other half moons
- olive oil 2 tbsp
- parsley ½ cup
- water or vegetable broth 2.5 cups
- salt to taste
- cumin ground ½ tbsp
- coriander ground ½ tbsp
- cinnamon ground 1 tsp
- chili powder ½ tsp (optional)
- garlic cloves 2, minced
- bay leaves 2
- Soak the lentils overnight.
Instant Pot Mujadara Recipe
- Heat oil in Instant Pot using the saute function. Add the half moon sliced onions and saute until the onions caramelize. Remove the onions and keep them aside for garnishing.
- In the same pot add the remaining oil and finely chopped onions and chopped garlic and saute.
- Add the bay leaves, cumin, cinnamon, coriander powder, chili powder. Add soaked, drained lentils 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.
Stove Top Mujadara Recipe
When cooking on the stove top you cook the lentils and rice in one pot and while the rice and lentils are cooking, you caramelize the onions parallely. The amount of water or broth required to cook is a total of 4 cups.
- In a dutch oven or in a soup pot, heat the oil. Add the bay leaves , cumin, cinnamon, coriander powder, and chili powder and cook until fragrant.
- Then add the finely chopped onions and garlic and saute until the onions become soft, fragrant and ready.
- Next add in 4 cups of water and bring it to boil. Once the water starts boiling, reduce the heat to medium.
- Add the presoaked lentils and rice, stir the onions lentils and rice. Cover with a lid and cook on low heat for until the water is absorbed. This should take approximately 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile make the caramelized onions for the topping. Heat some oil in a skillet and add the moon shaped onions and cook on medium heat until they caramelize and the edges start getting crispy and dark.
- Lastly when the lentils and rice are cooked, add the caramelized onions and topping and relish this Mujadara preparation.
- 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 overnight and then cook so they match the cooking time with rice.
- Spices - Cumin, coriander powder, chili powder, cinnamon.
- Liquid - The amount of liquid differs when pressure cooking versus cooking on stove top.
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Mealthy MultiPot 9-in-1 Programmable Slow and Pressure Cooker
Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer
Instant Pot Ultra 6 Qt 10-in-1 Multi- Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Yogurt Maker, Cake Maker, Egg Cooker, Sauté, Steamer, Warmer, and Sterilizer
Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 101.4 Ounce
365 Everyday Value, Organic Vegetable Broth, 48 fl oz
Organic Coriander Powder / Dhaniya Powder -Indian Spices, Pack of 2 (200 Gram Each)
McCormick Ground Cumin, 14 oz
Simply Organic, Cinnamon, 2.45 oz
Royal White Basmati Rice, 20 Pound
365 Everyday Value, Organic Green Lentils, 16 Ounce
Morton Salt Regular Salt - 26 oz