Instant Pot Mujadara – a nourishing vegetarian meal of lentils and rice, with fragrant Moroccan spices, served with caramelized shallots, seasonal veggies, pine nuts and optional yogurt. Gluten-free and Vegan adaptable. Fast and easy!
While in Morocco last winter, we hired a guide to take us up into the Atlas Mountains to visit the beautiful old Berber villages. Our guide, Rachid was not eating meat during this time and would often stop at roadside cafes for a quick bowl of Mujadara- a humble, nourishing meal of lentils and rice, seasoned with flavorful Moroccan Spices. He described it as Moroccan comfort food – filling, nourishing and affordable.
This meal was very similar to what my Egyptian father used to make, but he called it “Kushari”. He would tell me stories of growing up in his tiny village, and how my grandmother, Shahada, a Copt, (old Christian religion) would make lentils and rice for them during their fasting time during the spring, thhe “Holy Great Fast” lasting almost two months. To my dad, this became his comfort food and his version was very simply seasoned. Now that I think about it, this is actually very similar to Khichari, the healing Indian Ayurvedic Bowl I posted about a few years back. It seems many regions of the world have a version of this!
The Mujadara we experienced in Morocco was different from my father’s – it was flavored with fragrant Moroccan spices and this recipe here is inspired by the Moroccan version.
This Mujadara recipe can be made quickly and easily in an Instant Pot.
I thought my husband Brian would shun the Mujadara, but to my surprise, he happily gobbled it up and wanted seconds – the true test.
The basic recipe is easy and quick and feel free to add any seasonal veggies. Tomotoes are delicious in summer, but roasted root veggies or winter squash would be nice in winter.
The shallots are a must – so don’t leave them off.
I added pine nuts but feel free to leave them out or sub other nuts or seeds. A little crunchy texture is nice.
This can be made ahead and reheated for easy healthy midweek meals. A healthy delicious base. To keep this vegan, top with tahini sauce instead of yogurt. Or add avocado!
During the colder months, add seasonal roasted veggies, ( cauliflower, carrots, parsnips, butternut) instead of tomatoes. You can also add shredded raw veggies like carrots, beets or cabbage. So a warm base of lentils and rice, topped with cool, crunchy raw veggies. Add tahini sauce or yogurt or zhoug yogurt!
An energizing healthy bowl!
The fresh herbs and olive oil really elevate the Mujadara , so don’t skip this step.
Moroccan -style Mujadara! A quick and easy vegan meal that can be made in a Instant Pot. You will love this!
Instant Pot Mujadara
Instant Pot Mujadara – a comforting, healthy vegetarian meal of lentils and rice, with fragrant Moroccan spices, served with caramelized shallots, fresh veggies, pine nuts and optional yogurt. Gluten-free and Vegan adaptable.
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 25
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 4-6
- Category: Main, vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, instant pot,
- Method: instant pot
- Cuisine: middle eastern
- 1 cup brown lentils ( or green or black- not split lentils)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2-3 fat shallots, thinly sliced ( or 1 red onion)
- 4 cloves garlic, rough chopped
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons coriander
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon turmeric, optional
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dried mint or parsley ( or use a tablespoon of fresh)
- lemon zest from one small lemon
- 3 ½ cups water (be accurate)
- 1 cup brown basmati rice ( rinsed, or white basmati)
Garnishes: caramelized shallot or onion, diced tomato, diced avocado, sprouts or greens, sliced cucumber, pine nuts, drizzle of olive oil, yogurt, vegan yogurt, zhoug yogurt (amazing), lemon wedges, fresh parsley, aleppo chili flakes. (In winter, serve with roasted root veggies, shredded kale, carrots, or cabbage or beets!
Place lentils in a bowl and cover with hot tap water (or boiling water), letting them soak until time to add to the instant pot.
Set Instant Pot to Saute function. Saute shallots in the oil, 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly, until tender and fragrant and slightly caramelized. Remove half, saving for the topping. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add all the spices, salt, lemon zest and water. Stir. Drain the lentils and add them along with the rinsed rice to the instant pot. Give a good stir.
Cover the instant pot and set to Normal Pressure, High for 14 minutes. Let naturally release for at least 10 minutes.
In the mean time, prep any garnishes you like.
To serve, gently fluff Mujadara with a fork (do not over mix, or it will get mushy ). Divide among bowls, drizzle with olive oil, add tomatoes, avocado, caramelized shallots, sprouts, a spoonful of yogurt or zhoug yogurt, or tahini sauce – and fresh parsley or mint. Feel free to serve with other seasonal veggies ( roasted root veggies, shredded cabbage or carrots, etc).
This can be made ahead and refrigerated, and used as a healthy base for mid-week lunches.
In fall, winter you could serve with roasted winter squash or root veggies.
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