Mujadara Hamra (Lentils & Bulgur)

5 from 1 vote
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Mujadara Hamra is a popular comforting Lebanese recipe. It combines brown lentils, bulgur wheat, and caramelized onions with a deep red-brown hue, making it a flavorful and nutritious dish perfect for picnics, cookouts, and gatherings.

A serving of Mujaddara Hamra next to small cucumbers, radish and saj bread

This is the ultimate Lebanese comfort food—the lentils provide a soft, earthy flavor, the onions bring a bit of bitterness, and the texture of the coarse bulgur wheat balances it all out. Serve it with fresh veggies or a side salad, and you are all set. Plus, this dish can be enjoyed hot or cold, so it goes great for picnics or a quick/takeaway lunch.

While preparing mujadara hamra might sound a bit complicated (those onions do need to cook for a while without burning), following my tried-and-tested cooking method and top tips will help you make a high-protein main dish everyone will love.

A close up of cooked lentils with bulgur wheat

Mujadara: Hamra vs lentils & rice

In mujadara hamra, lentils, bulgur wheat, and onions are the key ingredients. The onions are typically sautéed to a deep reddish-brown color, adding a deep, smoky flavor to the dish. On the other hand, Mujadara with lentils and rice is a simpler variation, containing lentils, rice, and caramelized onions. These onions are cooked until crispy and golden, bringing a sweet and savory contrast to the lentils and rice.

Ingredients

Ingredients for Mujadara Hamra
  • Brown lentils: They will become perfectly soft when cooked. I add some salt to flavor them while cooking.
  • Bulgur wheat: For this mujadara recipe, it’s best to use coarse bulgur wheat.
  • Red onions
  • Oil: You will need both vegetable oil (to sauté the onions) and extra-virgin olive oil (to flavor the dish).
  • Water: To cook the lentils and to make the onion water.

How to make mujadara hamra

Boil the lentils: First, discard any small stones from the lentils and rinse them well. Then combine them with 4 cups of water (1 L) and the salt in a large pot. Bring to a boil and cook for 25 minutes.

Red lentils in a pot with water

Fry the onions: As the lentils cook, finely chop the onions. Then, add the vegetable oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-low. Add the onions and sauté them for about 10 minutes or until they become dark brown. Make sure to stir continuously so they don’t just burn. Cooking them like this brings out a slightly bitter taste, which is needed for this dish.

Prepare the onion water: Then, drain the excess oil and carefully add 2 cups of water (500 ml) to the pot with the cooked onions. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to very low heat and simmer for about 7 minutes until the onions are very soft.

Steps for sautéing onions in a saucepan

Combine and simmer: Next, sieve the onion liquid into the pot with the cooked lentils. The onions should be tender and disintegrate when passed through the sieve. If there are any small bits of onion left, press them with a spatula or a spoon so they pass through the sieve.

Sieving oil from cooked onions

Next, add the bulgur wheat to the pot with the lentils and onion water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Then reduce to very low and simmer for 10 minutes. Keep the pot uncovered and stir occasionally. Finally, remove the mujadara hamra from the heat, and add the olive oil. Stir to incorporate and set aside for 10 minutes before serving.

Steps for cooking lentils and bulgur in onion water

Choose a pairing salad to serve with 

You can serve this lentils and bulgur dish with bread (I love serving it with Saj bread), pickles, tomatoes, onions, radishes, plain yogurt, ayran, or with salad. My favorite salad pairings are:

A serving of Mujaddara Hamra next to a plate with small cucumbers, radish and mint leaves

If you try this authentic mujadara hamra recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations—tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

Mujadara Hamra (Lentils & Bulgur)

5 from 1 vote
By: Samira
Mujadara Hamra is a popular comforting Lebanese recipe. It combines brown lentils, bulgur wheat, and caramelized onions with a deep red-brown hue, making it a flavorful & nutritious dish perfect for picnics, cookouts, and summer gatherings.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients 
 

  • 15 oz dried brown lentils 2 cups
  • 6 cups water divided
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil for frying the onions
  • 11 oz red onion 3 small ones, finely chopped.
  • 10 oz bulgur wheat coarse, cups
  • 2/3 cup olive oil extra virgin

Instructions 

  • Remove any debris or stones from the lentils and rinse them in a fine-mesh sieve.
  • In a large saucepan, combine the lentils, 4 cups of water, and salt. Bring to a boil and cook for 25 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions and sauté them for about 10 minutes or until they become dark brown. Stir continuously.
  • Drain the excess oil from the onions. Add 2 cups of water to the pot with the onions. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to low heat and simmer for 7 minutes.
  • Once the lentils have cooked for 25 minutes, sieve the onion water into the saucepan with cooked lentils. The onions should disintegrate and pass through the sieve—use a spoon or a spatula to help pass any small bits.
  • Add the bulgur wheat to the saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Then reduce to very low and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove the mujadara hamra from the heat and add the olive oil. Stir to incorporate and set aside for 10 minutes before serving.
    Enjoy hot or cold with a side of vegetables or a salad.

Notes

To store: Keep any leftovers in an airtight container. Store them in the fridge for 3-4 days. Enjoy them cold or reheat them in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Check the blog post for serving suggestions!
Course: Main
Cuisine: Lebanese
Shelf life: 3-4 Days

Nutrition

Calories: 730kcal, Carbohydrates: 62g, Protein: 18g, Fat: 47g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 18g, Monounsaturated Fat: 20g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Sodium: 905mg, Potassium: 710mg, Fiber: 23g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 25IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 57mg, Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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1 Comment

  1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

    5 stars
    This dish sounds delicious. I love lentils.