Lebanese Lentils Just Like Grandma’s

One of my all time favorite foods happens to be a true soul food for me. It is cooked lentils. My grandmother always had these ready and on hand. They were a staple in her diet. In Lebanon, where she was from, they call them, Mujadara. It is a healthy meal that is inexpensive and easy to prepare.

Here is my grandmother’s recipe, which I have adopted. I make this dish often for my family. Sometimes, I will serve the whole meal Lebanese themed. Add some hummus, tabuleah, falafel and Ezekiel pita bread and you have an entire Lebanese table.

This recipe will make 4 servings. But, my family loves this dish so much, that I always have to make a double batch to ensure that everyone gets some!

Lebanese Lentils – Mujadara
  • 1 cup of brown lentils – soaked overnight (they will expand to about double)
  • ½ cup of brown rice
  • 2 yellow onions – peeled and chopped
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • Ground Cinnamon to taste
  • Ground Cumin to taste
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • Dehydrated mint leaves – crushed – 1 teaspoon (optional)*
  • 3-4 cups of water
  • 1-2 vegetable bouillon cubes
  • In a large pot, sauté the onions in the olive oil until they are translucent (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the lentils and the rice to the onions and sauté for 5 minutes.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and stir well.
  • Bring to a boil and lower heat
  • Let the lentils simmer for about an hour or until all the liquid is absorbed.
  • The lentils should be soft and opened.
  • The consistency should a little bit mushy but not watery.

*My grandmother always had dried mint leaves on hand. We used to grow it in the garden and since it grows like a weed, she would take the extra, dry it in the oven and then crush it. She would then give me a little baggie of the crushed mint leaves. I use it to season just about everything. It is a great addition to salads, soups, and lentils!

This healthy recipe is a great side dish or can be served as a main dish with salad on the side. My grandmother always served it with a big salad, kalamata olives and pita bread. I was always happy when there were leftovers that I could bring home and eat later. Unfortunately, there were not always leftovers for me to take!

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