Mujadara Hamra hails from the South of Lebanon and is a flavoursome lentils and bulgur (cracked wheat) recipe topped with caramelised onions. Accidentally a vegan Lebanese recipe.
Mujadara originates from the middle-east and it's main ingredient is brown (green) lentils.
This authentic Lebanese mujadara recipe without rice is from the South of Lebanon and is the hamra version: using cracked wheat (bulgur) rather than rice. I grew up on the rice version, but this recipe is equally amazing in flavour. Check out the different types of mujadara.
This can be enjoyed for lunch and dinner, both adults and kids love to eat mujadara. Due to its lentil content mujadara is high in iron. It is best served warm and with a side of Lebanese cucumber and yoghurt salad.
Or read this round-up of various sides for what to serve with mujadara.
What's also wonderful about this Lebanese lentil and bulgur dish is it's inexpensive to make. And left over burgul can be use to make an amazing burgul pilav.
How to make Mujadara Hamra
A true mjadara hamra requires no added spices or herbs, the flavours within are rich.
It's important to note Mujadara gets it's dark brown colour from the caramelisation of the onions as well as the brown lentils.
The trick with caramelising onions to get that super dark golden brown tinge, is to be patient and not fry on the hottest setting.
Just let the onions do their thing, and get them so dark (the brownest color before black). Also, keep aside some spare caramelised onion to garnish your mujadara hamra.
Another Lebanese lentil recipe to check out is lemon lentil soup - it's sour, wholesome and deeelish!
- Brown Lentils
- Cracked wheat (bulgur) - I use extra/extra extra coarse
- Brown onions
- Olive oil
Pre Cooking (if using dried lentils)
- Check lentils for stones that need to be discarded by sifting through.
- Wash and soak for a couple of hours (I do this to speed up the cooking process)
🔪 COOKING INSTRUCTIONS
Wash lentils to rid any excess sediment
Place lentils in a large pot with water, bring to boil
Cover the pot of lentils and simmer over low heat about 10 minutes or until lentils are par cooked.
Drain par cooked lentils in a colander and save liquid. You will use this later
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat
Cook small chopped onions for about 30-40 minutes, stirring every few minutes until they are dark golden brown. (You'll need to be patient for this step - the onions must be like this as the dish relies on the taste and colour of the caramelised onion)
Once onions are a dark golden colour, pour the liquid from the lentils into the onions and let it simmer for a couple of minutes to combine.
Add the cooked lentils, salt (to taste) and cracked wheat (bulgur), stir through thoroughly.
Cover the saucepan and cook over very low heat for 25-30 minutes.
MUJADARA RECIPE TIPS
Best served warm, however can be eaten cold
Caramelising the onions to a dark golden colour is an important step for the taste of this dish, it gives it the full flavour
Brown (green) lentils only - no other colour as this will result in a completely different outcome
If you are using dried brown lentils: sift through lentils to pick out any unwanted pebbles or unwanted looking lentils as well as be sure to pre-soak lentils until they have softened
Using canned lentils is fine, though I find the canned lentil variety to be a lot less smaller in size. Drain and wash lentils thoroughly to rid all murkiness
Use a heavy bottom pot - a thin pot will burn the bottom and turn the mjadara mushy. Trust me I learnt the hard way!
Cracked wheat / bulgur is made from durum wheat which has been cracked and par cooked. Cracked wheat / bulgur is high in fibre and is a great replacement for rice, cous cous, small type pastas or use it in a stuffing. Cracked wheat / bulgur contains gluten.
It's a wholesome filling meal preceded by Lebanese Lentil Soup (Shorbet Adas) and then enjoyed with a serving of salad, usually fattoush (an authentic tangy Lebanese salad made with bakleh (purslane). Another fabulous side to enjoy with Mujadara are Pickles, here's my pickled vegetables recipe that would be perfect for this. I salivate thinking about this meal! However, I must confess, in my family we grew up with Mujadaret Roz which is the rice version. I aim to share that recipe soon. If your looking for another Lebanese Rice recipe that's vegan, try my family's favourite: Lebanese Rice Vegan.
It isn't ideal as it will turn out completely different. There are other types of mujadara using different coloured lentils such as mujadara safra (yellow variety)What is mujadara?
In English mujadara is pronounced 'mu-jd-dara'
Depending on what dialect of Arabic you speak, mujadara can be called mjadara, mejadara, madadarah, moujadara.
Bulgur is available at your local grocer in either fine or coarse varieties.
Bulgur can also easily be found online via Amazon* or Tesco*.
If you're thinking about making a mujadara recipe there are a few variations including but not limited to;
- Mujadara recipe with rice
- Mujadara makhbousa - a lentil porridge also known as mujadara musafaya
- Mujadara safra - simmered red lentils and rice
Other Vegan Lebanese Recipes
Malfouf salad (ILebanese cabbage salad) or taboule pair perfectly with mjadara hamra. .
One of my childhood favourites is lentils and pasta soup called rishtaya.
In the mood to learn more about my vegan Lebanese recipes? I recommend for an easy sweet fix Lebanese rice pudding (riz bi haleeb) or for a rice that's packed with nuts and veggies (and highly requested by my family my Lebanese rice vegan.
Mujadara Hamra (Lentils & Bulgur)
- 1 cup Brown lentils (best to use the dry type not canned)
- ½ cup Coarse cracked wheat (bulgur)
- 4 medium Finely diced onions brown or white variety
- ¼ - ½ cup Olive oil
- 3 cups Water
- ⅓ tablespoon Salt or to taste
- Check lentils for stones that need to be discarded
- Wash and soak for a couple of hours (I do this to speed up the cooking process)
- After soaking lentils, discard and wash lentils to rid any excess sediment
- Place lentils in a large pot with water, bring to boil
- Cover the pot of lentils and simmer over low heat about 10 minutes or until lentils are par cooked.
- Drain par cooked lentils in a colander and save liquid. You will use this later
- Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat
- Cook the onions for about 30-40 minutes, stirring every few minutes until they are dark golden brown. (You'll need to be patient for this step - the onions must be like this as the dish relies on the taste of the caramelised onion)
- Once onions are a dark golden colour, pour the liquid from the lentils into the onions and let it simmer for a couple of minutes to combine.
- Add the cooked lentils, salt (to taste) and cracked wheat (bulgur), stir through thoroughly.
- Cover the saucepan and cook over very low heat for 25-30 minutes.
N.B., nutrition info is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. This will vary based on the specific ingredients you use.
Are there any additional spices? No cumin?
In our family we never put any other spices in mujadara hamra as it's not needed, it's already full of flavour.
I eat this for breakfast because I wake up thinking about leftovers.
This dish is a little sweet; flavorful yet mild.
This is one of the first lentil dishes I made after learning their health benefits. Inviting recipe style and delightful end product.
Note the onions take me at least 60 minutes every time despite my intention to be faster.
Thinking about leftovers is a great thing! So glad you're venturing into lentil land and this recipe made the cut - yay!
Yes, the onions can take a while to fry up. Especially as stove tops differ, I notice this when I am cooking elsewhere out of my kitchen. But the end result is worth it and the smell is delicious.
Have a lovely day 🙂
Now this is one of those dishes that I don't think that I have tried yet. Definitely excited to experiment with it some time soon!
The flavours in this are amazing! An awesome recipe!
Such a delicious way to use lentils as an ingredient - I can't wait to give this a try especially with that topping!
I had a ton of lentil in my pantry and this was the perfect recipe to use them up - thank you! So flavorful!
This looks delicious! I can't wait to make it. Lentils are so good!