I love Middle Eastern food, and one dish I miss the most is Mujaddara. When I lived in Michigan, we ate Mujaddara at one of our favorite Mediterranean restaurants. Since moving, we haven't found a Meditteranean restaurant that makes Mujaddara like our restaurant at home.
As usual, if I can't find what I want in a restaurant, I make my own. So, today, I decided to try making homemade Mujaddara!
Actually, Mujaddara is a simple dish with complex flavors. Basically, it is a combination of cooked lentils and rice with a district seasoning, topped with onions, and I add my Vegan Tzatziki (Greek Yogurt Sauce) for added flavor.
One of my favorite aspects of this recipe is how inexpensive but filling this Mujaddara recipe is. And, my Mujaddara recipe is oil-free, including the onions.
What are the best lentils and rice to use for Mujaddara?
For this recipe, I chose brown lentils, but green lentils work as well. However, do not use red lentils for this recipe because they tend to be much softer and often mushier when cooked.
Although dry lentils can be used for this recipe, I used Trader Joe's prepared brown steamed lentils for a quick and easy alternative.
On the other hand, rice is basmati rice, which is brown or white long-grain rice. Both gluten-free and low in fat contain all eight essential amino acids, folic acid, and are very low in sodium and have no cholesterol.
Even though I chose basmati rice, white or brown rice may be used as a substitute.
Making Mujaddara without any oil is easier than you may think.
To make Mujaddara without any oil, there are some easy tips to follow without sacrificing flavor. Typically, Mujaddara is made with a large quantity of oil for cooking the rice and the onions.
Instead, opt for a cleaner and healthier version of a traditionally oily Mediterranean dish:
- First, saute the garlic and seasonings in a dry non-stick pan.
- When it begins to stick slightly, add 2 Tablespoons of water or vegetable broth.
- Then, add the rice to the dry, hot pan, moving it around with a wooden spoon to get it a little toastie before adding the combination of vegetable broth and water.
How to carmelize the onions without any oil:
Additionally, caramelizing onions without oil is possible with a few simple steps:
- Cut the onions in quarters and then into slivers.
- Place the onions in a measuring cup and add 2 Tablespoons of salt; stir (don't worry, the salt is removed afterward)
- Cover with a paper towel and microwave on high for 5 minutes
- Removed from the microwave and rinse onions in a colander with water to remove all the salt.
- Transfer the wet onions to some paper towels and spread them out to dry.
- Then, using a non-stick skillet, heat the skillet to medium-low and add the onions.
- They will immediately start sizzling and start to stick, turning the base of the skillet brown.
- Next, add a small amount of vegetable broth, and stir, releasing the moisture.
- The onions will carmelize as you slowly add broth to the browning bottom of the pan.
Vegan Tzatziki (Greek Yogurt Sauce) for serving Mujaddara
One of my favorite sauces to serve with Mujaddara is a vegan Greek yogurt sauce! It's tangy and creamy and balances the rice lentil mixture's savory flavor, deepening the flavors.
Ingredients needed for Vegan Tzatziki (Greek Yogurt Sauce):
- Plain Almond Milk Yogurt (I used Kite Hill)
- Red onion
- Red wine vinegar
- Fresh lemon juice
- Minced garlic
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Sea salt
- Ground pepper
I also like to serve a little hummus as well as another added flavor.
Of course, Oil-Free Vegan Garlic Cilantro Naan is another great side dish to serve with Mujaddara.
Ingredients needed for Oil-Free Vegan Garlic Cilantro Naan
- Active Yeast
- Pink Himalayan salt
- Maple syrup
- Unbleached all-purpose flour
- Semolina Flour
- Warm water
So, the next time you're craving a healthy, oil-free, and inexpensive meal, give this Mujaddara recipe a try!
Do you love Middle Eastern Food? If so, try these tasty recipes:
- Greek Orzo Salad
- Healthy Greek Pasta Salad
- Mediterranean Couscous Salad
- Vegan Mediterranean Party Platter
- Oil-Free Hummus and Tabbouleh Wrap
- Tabouli Salad
- Quinoa Greek Salad with OMG Oil-Free Dressing
Hi! My name is Kathy, I am a retired high school English teacher & vegan enthusiast and blogger. My entire blog is fully plant-based vegan. I truly believe what we eat & how we live determines our health & the preservation of our planet! 🙂