Koshari Recipe: Egyptian comfort bowl of lentils, rice, chickpeas, with a special tomato sauce and savory crispy onions on top!  SKIP TO RECIPE

Egyptian Koshari Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish. Hands down a family favorite. A comforting bowl of spiced lentils and rice with chickpeas, tiny pasta, and tomato sauce. Topped with thin crispy onion rings. A tasty, budget friendly, vegan recipe! See it on TheMediterraneanDish.com

Koshari is a fun word to say, isn't it?

Koshari (also spelled, Kushari) is the national dish of my birthplace, Egypt. By far one of my favorite things to eat--EVER! No matter how far I've traveled, I will always crave a humble bowl of koshari as served in the streets of Egypt.

Egyptian Koshari Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish. Hands down a family favorite. A comforting bowl of spiced lentils and rice with chickpeas, tiny pasta, and tomato sauce. Topped with thin crispy onion rings. A tasty, budget friendly, vegan recipe! See it on TheMediterraneanDish.com


What is Koshari?

Koshri is another one of those genius solutions to using up pantry staples. It is a cousin to the Middle Eastern Mujadara. In a nutshell, it is a comforting bowl of simple pantry staples: spiced lentils and rice, combined with chickpeas and small pasta.  All smothered in a tomato sauce that's been spiked with vinegar (out-of-this-world tasty, by the way!) Then...wait for it...it's topped with savory, crispy thin fried onion rings.

Egyptian Koshari Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish. Hands down a family favorite. A comforting bowl of spiced lentils and rice with chickpeas, tiny pasta, and tomato sauce. Topped with thin crispy onion rings. A tasty, budget friendly, vegan recipe! See it on TheMediterraneanDish.com

Although this koshari recipe takes some time to put together, each element is fairly simple to make.

It may not look like much, but this Egyptian comfort food has every bit a satisfying depth and texture to it. It'll have you coming back for more!

What to Serve with Koshari?

At home, koshari is served family-style with additional tomato sauce and crispy onion rings to pass! To complete the meal, I typically add a side of this quick 3- ingredient Mediterranean salad dressed simply in olive oil and lemon juice.


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Egyptian Koshari Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish. Hands down a family favorite. A comforting bowl of spiced lentils and rice with chickpeas, tiny pasta, and tomato sauce. Topped with thin crispy onion rings. A tasty, budget friendly, vegan recipe! See it on TheMediterraneanDish.com

Koshari Recipe


Koshari is a traditional Egyptian staple, mixing chick peas, pasta, fried onions, and zesty tomato sauce, served on top a bed of rice and brown lentils! Flavor packed and not to mention healthy!



For the Crispy Onion Topping

  • 1 large onion, sliced into thin rings
  • Salt
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cooking oil

For Tomato Sauce

  • Cooking oil
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ -1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 can 28-oz tomato sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

For Koshari 

  • 1 ½ cup brown lentils, picked over and well-rinsed
  • 1 ½ cup medium-grain rice, rinsed, soaked in water for 15 minutes, drained
  • ½ tsp each salt and pepper
  • ½ tsp coriander
  • 2 cups elbow pasta
  • Cooking oil
  • Water
  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and warmed


Make the crispy onion topping. 

  • Sprinkle the onion rings with salt, then toss them in the flour to coat. Shake off excess flour.
  • In a large skillet, heat the cooking oil over medium-high heat, cook the onion rings, stirring often, until they turn a nice caramelized brown. Onions must be crispy, but not burned (15-20 minutes).

Make the Tomato Sauce. 

  • In a saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon cooking oil. Add the grated onion, cook on medium-high until the onion turns a translucent gold (do not brown). Now add the garlic, coriander, and red pepper flakes, if using, and saute briefly until fragrant (30-45 seconds more).
  • Stir in tomato sauce and pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens (15 minutes or so).
  • Stir in the distilled white vinegar, and turn the heat to low. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

Make the Koshari

  • Cook the lentils. Bring lentils and 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot or saucepan over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook until lentils are just tender (15-17 minutes). Drain from water and season with a little salt. (Note: when the lentils are ready, they should not be fully cooked. They should be only par-cooked and still have a bite to them as they need to finish cooking with the rice).
  • Now, for the rice. Drain the rice from its soaking water. Combine the par-cooked lentils and the rice in the saucepan over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon cooking oil, salt, pepper, and coriander. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring regularly. Add warm water to cover the rice and lentil mixture by about 1 ½ inches (you'll probably use about 3 cups of water here). Bring to a boil; the water should reduce a bit. Now cover and cook until all the liquid has been absorbed and both the rice and lentils are well cooked through (about 20 minutes).  Keep covered and undisturbed for 5 minutes or so.
  • Now make the pasta. While the rice and lentils are cooking, make the pasta according to package instructions by adding the elbow pasta to boiling water with a dash of salt and a little oil. Cook until the pasta is al dente. Drain.
  • Cover the chickpeas and warm in the microwave briefly before serving.

Put it All Together! 

  • To serve, fluff the rice and lentils with a fork and transfer to a serving platter. Top with the elbow pasta and ½ of the tomato sauce, then the chickpeas, and finally ½ of the crispy onions for garnish. Serve, passing the remaining sauce and crispy onions separately.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hours 7 minutes
  • Category: Vegetarian
  • Cuisine: Egyptian


  • Calories: 0
  • Sugar: 0 g
  • Sodium: 0 mg
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 0 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: Koshari recipe, lentil and chickpea recipe

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Mujadara: Lebanese Lentils and Rice

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Spanish Chicken and Rice with Chorizo 


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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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  1. An ideal meal, so healthy but SO delicious! I've had Koshari take out before, but first time making it at home. I absolutely loved it, will be a regular meal here on out. Leftovers were great too, just crisped up the onions for each serving individually. Great for anybody, but awesome that it's vegan.

  2. I failed! Tremendously!
    My rice never got dry and fluffy. It was sort of gloopy. But that was 100% my fault, and the eaters I was feeding STILL went back for seconds. The seasonings are amazing, and that tomato sauce is unbelievable.

    It might not be the right way, but next time, I'm going to cook all of the carbs separately and fluff them together, and I'm going to do the onions last so they're still crisp. The flavors in this are amazingly wonderful - thank you Suzy!

  3. Hi Suzy

    I live in Cairo and I love Koushary. We do not have it in America where I am from..I have always wanted to try cooking it my self. I just happen to come across your recipe and I am going to try it really soon. I just have one question. The spicy sauce they give you in the packets with the koushary. Do you know the ingredients for how they make this. If so can you post it. I love putting this on top of my koushary.
    Thanks so much

    1. Welcome, Ameerah! I'm glad you get to make your own Koshari now! I don't have the recipe for that extra topping you've mentioned, but I know there is a bit of vinegar, garlic, and chili pepper.

    1. You could, if you chopped them up real finely. Essentially, you need to make a sauce, so you'll end up using quite a few tomatoes

  4. This is such a great recipe!! My first time trying Koshari and will definitely be making it again. Thank you so much!!!

  5. This is delicious!! We are studying countries and this one caught my attention. The flavors all together are worth the effort!!

  6. Hi Suzy,

    Thanks for the awesome recipe. I thought it would taste like a home experiment, but it actually tasted much like what I get from Egyptian restaurants. The sauce was esp. amazing, thank you again. 🙂

    God bless,

  7. Hi Suzy ~
    Thank you very much for your easy-to-follow recipe. It reminded us of the 1st time we had Koshari, when we happened upon Abou Tarek in Cairo. I did roast and grind some cardamom (which I'd picked up in India) and cloves and added them to the sauce along at the same time as the other sauteed spices, which gave some beautiful undertones. Thanks again for bringing back memories!
    Lisa & Denis O'Connor

  8. Dear Suzy, thanks for this recipe, it was a wonderful vegetarian dish. I'm going through national dishes and it's not too easy find originally vegetarian ones; there's a vegetarian in our dinner table and it's always easier if you don't need to find substitutes to some ingredient (i.e., meat). Koshari is at the moment among the highest rated dishes in our company, sharing the top position with Belizean rice and beans.

  9. Dear Suzy, I'm planning to make the Koshari, but wonder if the amount of tomato sauce given in your recipe is correct. I'm a metric person and used a converter that told me that 128 oz would translate to 3.6 kg (or liters) which is a substantial amount of tomato sauce for 4-6 persons.

  10. Amazing recipe -- I searched many of the other sites after hearing about Koshari from an acquaintance -- yours was the only one with all the elements (rice, lentils, elbow macaroni, onions, coriander, tomato sauce, vinegar) and came out great, although I agree that the amount made could easily serve 8 people (or maybe 150 for that wedding mentioned above!), especially if I serve with a nice salad or some greens. Otherwise, nothing else is needed for this meal as it is quite complete. Glad I found you!

    1. Haha. My husband is also from Alexandria. It took me years to get the rice right. I recommend getting yourself a rice cooker.

  11. Great recipe!

    My wife and I love koshari, and are so happy that we found this recipe! The only change that we made was to use half the lentils that the recipe calls for. Otherwise, it's perfect!

  12. I really love it thank you,,,you're recipe is easy to understand and the finish pruduct is so yummy i enjoy making it and most of all,,,all my kids love it?????

  13. I am from Egypt and I grew up in Alexandria on the Mediterranean. Your recipe is fantastic! I will use it every time ?thanks

  14. My granddaughter is in Israel for four months and I’m trying to experiment at home with food she might encounter there. This sure took a lot of pans, but it was worth it. I cut down the pasta and rice but still have enough for an army leftover even though we two ate heartily. The crispy onions, however, are gone. You could put those on about anything and make it wonderful! You absolutely cannot omit them, but I’d leave out the pasta next time. Thanks for the recipe! What should I try next that she might find on a kibbutz near Jerusalem?

    1. So glad you gave this one a try! I think you'll find most of the recipes and flavors used here are quite close to what your granddaughter may be enjoying in Israel. A couple easy ones that come to mind are Shakshuka and Balalela Salad. Check out our recipe archives 🙂

  15. I have to make this today for 150 people with 1/2 c servings. How can I increase the recipe or should I only double it many times? It is for a wedding tomorrow at 4

    1. Hi Alexandra,
      This is a good question for someone with catering experience. I have not made this recipe for a 150 people before, but I would imagine doubling it a few times would likely work.