Christina Schmidhofer
Total Time
45 Mins
Makes 4 to 6 servings

As a child in Syria, Sal Tompkins loved this meatless pilaf she calls mjadara. Petite French green lentils (also called Le Puy) keep their shape better than brown ones.

Prep and cook time: About 45 minutes

How to Make It

Step 1

In a 3-quart pan over high heat, bring lentils and 2 1/2 cups water to a boil. Cover and simmer until tender to bite, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain.

Step 2

Meanwhile, add oil, onions, and garlic to a 12-inch frying pan over medium heat; stir often until onions are golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Add rice, salt, cumin, and pepper; stir until rice looks opaque, about 3 minutes.

Step 3

Stir in lentils and 2 more cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender to bite and liquid is absorbed, 13 to 15 minutes. Serve with yogurt sauce.

Ratings & Reviews

Randallios's Review

January 17, 2014
Love this recipe!! As a single guy I found it very difficult to get the desired result but I quickly found that the use of the right kind of rice improves the end result I used Spekko Rice ( and it worked for me.

greyout's Review

January 13, 2013

Christine62's Review

September 24, 2012
Wow! and WOW! I was skeptical - being a pretty devoted meat eater. We've been wanting to go meatless monday and I decided to give this a try. OMG - it was sooo good. Having the yogurt sauce was a must. I think all the wonderful onions as a starter for this dish really made it tasty, and very authentic. I did not miss the meat. Do it - it is good.

mmmbanya12135's Review

July 31, 2012
Delicious as is but next time I plan on using less pepper because my son thought it was too spicy (but he is very sensitive to spices). Very easy to make. The stages of cooking make it easy to do prep and cleaning in between steps. I only used two pots. One for lentils, one for dish. The whole family and the kids' friend loved it! I also used fresh mint for yogurt sauce. Always fresh unless you're desperate. I made the sauce first and let it chill in the fridge while I cooked.

chefamh's Review

May 21, 2011
This is a delicious dish - everyone loved it even my husband who doesn't usually prefer lentils. I used french green lentils and substituted sliced celery for some of the onions.

jfinzel's Review

January 09, 2011
I made this for the first time without any changes and it was wonderful as is! Next time I will use brown basmati rice instead of the white rice and cook a little longer. It is going into the regular rotation!! I served it with roasted zucchini. It made a great 'meatless' meal.

Madmann's Review

August 02, 2010
very tasty and easy to make

jjfadoosh's Review

September 28, 2009
this is my second time making this and it is outstanding!!!!! my only change is to add salt with the lentils for their first round of cooking--maybe a tsp or so. I like how they give the nutritional value but I wish it was a bit more specific--is the info for 4 or 6 servings and what size are the servings? that is my only complaint.

jnjhill's Review

February 11, 2009
I really enjoyed this dish & will definitely make again. A little time consuming, but easy to make. I used fresh mint in the yogurt sauce, which worked well.