Instant Pot Lentils & Rice (Mujadara) is the perfect healthy vegan meal. Lentils and rice cooked with fragrant spices and topped with caramelized onions. You will love this one-pot version where you don't have to cook lentils and rice separately. This vegan and gluten free dish is also budget friendly and nutritious.
Are you always looking for a options for your Meatless Monday dinner? This Mujadara with long grain basmati rice and brown lentils, is a perfect dish packed with protein and delicious. which make this dish protein packed and delicious. It goes perfectly with a side of salad and yogurt.
What is Mujadara?
Mujaddara, or Mujadara, translates to a middle eastern Rice and Lentil preparation topped with caramelized onions which is an everyday staple in Lebanese homes.
I first had Mujadara at a small middle eastern cafe near my work place in Foster City, California. This was also the time when I had just started this blog, so about an year back. While eating it, all I could think of was this would be perfect to make in the instant pot 🙂
It is always interesting to find similarities between different cultures and cuisines. In India, lentils and rice cooked together is khichdi. This is very similar to Khichdi and I could easy call it Masoor Dal Khichdi. Masoor Dal is the whole brown lentils I used in this recipe.
The one difference would be that khichdi is not topped with caramelized onions (love, love them). The spices are also very similar. You can also top Mujadara with pine nuts or almonds. I did not do that in this recipe.
How to make Mujadara Lentils & Rice in the Instant Pot?
1 - The first and necessary step to make Mujadara as a one-pot recipe is to soak the whole brown lentils. Typically brown lentils take longer to cook than rice, so soaking them is my first hack to get them to cook perfectly with the rice. Brown lentils retain their shape and have a unique taste, which you will very much enjoy in this dish.
2 - Now cut half of the onions into slices and dice half of them. Heat oil in the instant pot and sauté the sliced onions and keep them aside to use as a topping later (left photo below). These caramelized onions is the best part of mujadara, so please don't skip this step!
3 - Now heat some more oil in the instant pot. Add the diced onions, garlic, and sauté them till they are lightly browned. Then add the spices (picture on the right below).
4 - Drain the water from the soaked lentils. Add the lentils and water to the instant pot. Let it boil for about 3 minutes. This is the second hack so we can cook this as a one-pot recipe. As the lentils take longer to cook, we give them a little head start by letting them boil.
5 - Stir in the rice. Close the lid and pressure cook on Rice mode. The rice mode cooks on low pressure. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then do a quick release.
6 - Top the cooked lentils and rice with the caramelized onions. Save some for serving.
Enjoy this delicious Instant Pot Mujadara.
What to serve with mujadara?
Here are a few options
- Yogurt or tahini
- Side Salad
- Steamed veggies
How to make Lentils & Brown Rice Mujadara in Instant Pot?
We can make this Mujadara with brown rice with some minor modifications. Soak brown rice in hot water for about 2 hours. Do not soak the brown lentils. Then follow the recipe, just change the pressure cooking time to 15 mins on high pressure, followed by a 10 min natural pressure release. This means let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then release the pressure manually.
Tips for making one-pot Mujadara
- Soak the whole masoor dal for about an hour, so it gets soft and can cook in the same time as rice.
- Adjust the spices to taste. I have kept this recipe to be non spicy.
- Don't forget the sautéed sliced onions. They are the best part of Mujaddara.
- If you want to save time, you can sauté the sliced onions on the stovetop while the rice & lentils are cooking in the instant pot.
- Make a large batch and enjoy for the whole week. These lentils and rice can be easily refrigerated.
- Typically veggies are not added in the original Mujaddara recipe, however similar to khichdi feel free to add veggies to taste. Some veggies that could cook well in the same time are - carrots, peas, potatoes, green beans, squash.
Love lentils and rice? Love one-pot meals? Check out these delicious recipes:
- Black eyed peas & spinach rice
- Chana Dal Pulao (Split Chickpea Pilaf)
- Lentil & Vegetable Khichdi
- Moong Dal Khichdi (Pongal)
Try these delicious Instant Pot Lentils & Rice for your next meatless dinner. A bowl of Mujadara topped with caramelized onions, some yogurt or tahini on the side...a perfect dinner!
Instant Pot Lentils & Rice (Mujadara) Recipe
- Rinse and soak the brown lentils for 1 hour in warm water.
- Heat the instant pot in saute mode and add 1 tbsp of oil in it. Add the sliced onions and saute them for about 5 minutes until they brown and are slightly crisp on the edges. Take them out and save for later.
- Add 1 tbsp of oil to the instant pot. Add the diced onions and garlic. Saute till they lightly brown for about 3 minutes. Add the ground coriander, cumin, cinnamon and salt.
- Stir in the lentils and water. Let it boil for about 2-3 minutes. This will help the lentils to get softer before we add rice.
- Add the rice and stir well. Press cancel and close lid with vent in sealing position.
- Cook on Rice mode. Instant Pot set the cooking time to 12 minutes at low pressure. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 mins, then release manually (10 minute NPR). Press cancel and take the steel insert out of the instant pot.
- Fluff the lentils and rice with a fork. Top the rice with the caramelized sliced onions and cilantro. Enjoy with a side of yogurt and salad.
Note: Nutrition values are my best estimates. If you rely on them for your diet, use your preferred nutrition calculator.