Diabetes-Friendly Recipes

Mujadra (Syrian Lentils and Rice)

This recipe is adapted from a Syrian home cook. It is delicious as is, though it is typically served with a crisp pink turnip pickle, a condiment staple in every Arabic house. This adaptation reduces the salt and uses only olive oil for cooking.
Servings: 4
Cook time:


  • 1 medium onion, for caramelized onion garnish
  • 2 Tbs plus 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • ½ tsp salt, divided
  • ½ cup` lentils, well washed in several rinses of water
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup long grain rice


  1. Caramelize the onion. Cut the onion, root to tip, into thin strips. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt, and fry, stirring frequently, until most of it caramelizes to a dark brown color. Watch the onion carefully, especially during the last 5 minutes, and adjust the temperature so that it doesn't burn. This process should take about 20 minutes. When ready, remove the onion and oil to a bowl. Bring water to a boil and set aside. 
  2. While the onion cooks, start the lentils. In a 2-quart saucepan, cover lentils by 2" water, add a pinch of salt and the 1/2 teaspoon cumin. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmerfor 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Drain the cooking liquid from the lentils, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. 
  3. Once onions and lentils are done, start the rice. In the same 2-quart saucepan, combine the teaspoon extra virgin olive oil with the 1/2 cup reserved lentil cooking water. Add 1 cup boiling water ad remaining salt. Bring to a boil. Add the rice and reserved lentils. Stir gently and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes. 
  4. Serve the lentils and rice topped with the caramelized onion. 

Nutrition Information

Per serving (1 cup lentils and rice plus 2 Tbsp onion): Calories 335 cal; Protein 9.5g; Fat 8.5g; Chol 0 mg; Carbs 55g; Fiber 4g; Sodium 300mg



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