Lentil and bulgur pilaf (Mujaddra janoubieh)

This lentil pilaf is called southern mujaddara since it is how folks in southern areas of the country eat it. The bulgur should be dark if possible and when cooked with the lentils becomes soft and silky and just scrumptious. 

Serve it warm or at room temperature with fresh veggies (radishes are a must) and if you like a glass of ayran (yogurt drink) or a bowl of yogurt on the side. 

The lentils used for this dish are the small brown ones. The bulgur is the dark and not too coarse variety (#2). However, any bulgur will do.


  • 1 cup of brown lentils
  • 4 large onions
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 cup of coarse brown bulgur
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp of cumin if desired
  • olive oil, as needed
  1. Place the lentils and the water in a pot and cook them for about 20 minutes. In a skillet, fry the onion till golden and add half that quantity to the lentils, leaving the other half to cook a bit longer (till browned and crisped) to use as a garnish (if desired). Add the onion to the pot with the lentils and add the bulgur. Cook the mixture for 20 minutes or so until the bulgur and lentils are thoroughly cooked and the water has evaporated. About 10 minutes before the end of cooking, add the salt and cumin. Taste the mixture and if it is cooked, soft and silky, great. If not, add a bit more water and simmer over very low heat till cooked. Serve at room temperature with the rest of the onions as garnish, some fresh veggies (definitely radishes!) and a glass of ayran or a bowl of yogurt.

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  1. Posted May 24, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Thank you! Joumana for this. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Mujaddra and always order a large order at our fave Mediterranean store. I am absolutely making this next week :)))

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  2. Posted May 24, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Mmmm mujaddara was one of my favorites as a child.
    Was always a welcome sight to find the bowls out and filled.
    Sito always let them sit a while, for hours. Do you? ;)

  3. Posted May 24, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    Merci beaucoup pour ce délicieux partage! Douce nuit.

  4. Posted May 24, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    Two of my favorite foods – so simple and perfect!

  5. Posted May 24, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    This looks delicious! I’ve never seen it made with bulgur before- definitely need to try this!

  6. Joumana
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    @Mark: Mujaddara can sit for hours; usually it was to let it cool since it is eaten at room temperature.

  7. Posted May 25, 2012 at 1:02 am | Permalink

    A delightful recipe. I love making these kinds of meals at home usually adding simply marinated grilled lamb of chicken. Great!

  8. Ed Habib
    Posted May 25, 2012 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    Rice or Bulgur, I am not sure what I like the best but this is definately one of my comfort foods with a big salad. It is strange, I am not a big fan of vinegar, but with mujaddara always want vinegar with oil in my salad. Also I always crave pickled turnip when I have mujaddara and normally I am not a big fan.
    The more onions the better though in mujaddara

  9. Posted May 25, 2012 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    Bulgur and lentils are staples in my kitchen. I cook with them all the time. This dish of yours Joumana will certainly make its appearance on my dinner table sooner than later.
    It looks fantastic!

  10. Carrie
    Posted May 25, 2012 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    So glad I saw this post yesterday! I have to bring a side dish to a picnic for my son’s preschool and really didn’t want to go to the store for ingredients. I have lentils, onions, and coarse bulgur. Yay me! Thanks for sharing yummy recipes like these. It’s simmering on the stove now : )

  11. Posted May 26, 2012 at 5:01 am | Permalink

    A recipe to try asap!!! Thank you for sharing

  12. Posted May 29, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Joumana dear: I can vouch to the fabulousness of u’r recipe. Made it last night with rave reviews plus made lovely lunches for today for the boy’s tiffins :) Happy me and happy them!

    chow :) Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  13. Joumana
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 5:10 am | Permalink

    @Devaki: You are the best! I can just imagine too the wide repertoire of lentil dishes from your end! Glad they liked it:)

  14. Posted May 30, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    That looks so delicious with the toasted onions on the top! I know I’d love this.

  15. Posted June 3, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    I’m always looking for new side dishes, and lentils are among my favorites. can’t wait to try this tasty looking treat, so simple, yet packed with flavor I’m sure!

  16. Posted June 13, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Délicieusement libanais….je n’ai d’yeux que pour ces ” lentilles “….

  17. Naomi
    Posted August 2, 2013 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    Hi, I just followed your recipe and overlooked the water amount. 3 cups is far too much water for 1 cup of burghul. My burghul is still cooking on the stove and has gone soft and sloppy due to the water content. I would cut the water by half or down to 2 cups at most! It isn’t my first time cooking burghul, and i completely forgot to remember my mother’s 1:1.5 burghul:water rule. I’m going to serve it with Cucumber and yogurt dressing, hopefully it still tastes ok.

  18. Joumana
    Posted August 3, 2013 at 3:32 am | Permalink

    @Naomi: No panic; here are two suggestions: you can add one cup more bulgur. You can turn it into a soup by adding one cup of yogurt and a mashed clove of garlic, with a dash of mint or sumac (if you like) (this is also a Turkish or Kurdish dish).

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