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

Similar Recipes to Try

Mujadara: Lebanese Lentils and Rice

Easy Seafood Paella 

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. My 13 year old daughter and I have been on a “cooking the World “adventure over the last two years. Egypt was our 40th country, this week. I am so pleasantly surprised at how tasty this turned out. Will definitely make it again

  2. Was pleasantly surprised how good this was. I looked up so so many very complicated recipes, and thought this would be easiest for my first try. It was so so yummy. I did lesson the lentil cooking time.
    Very similar to how it was when i enjoyed it on a buggy buggy ride in Luxor!

  3. I tried making this recipe last night and oh boy, it brought back so many memories of my time in Doha, Qatar. Where I used to work, the cafeteria would have koshary every each week. I recalled being bewildered by it because I was used to eat rice dishes, pasta dishes as is and those two were never mixed together. The chef (he's Egyptian!) who made this dish noticed that I was gaping at the buffet and suggested I try it. I was starving after a long shift so I scooped the koshary into my plate, add the onions, sauce and then..... I went back for 2nds and 3rds (I had a monster appetite). There were times my husband and I had a craving for this meal. Thank you Suzy, this was delicious especially the sauce. It tasted exactly like my first koshary experience!

    1. Hi, Chris. I have done this with both gluten free pasta and flour before and thought it worked out well. I know sometimes gluten free pasta can get a bit mushy in recipes like this, so feel free to just omit it all together if you find that is the case. Hope that helps!

  4. Hello, would red onions or white onions be better for koshari? Thank you so much!

      1. Thank you so much, Suzy! Made some koshari last night with red onions since it was all I had on hand and it was still so delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe 🙂

  5. We love this dish and it's one of the few repeats in our household! Definitely make additional crispy onions, they're so addictive.

  6. First time trying this and it turned out perfectly! I did cook my rice and lentils separately and used fresh ground coriander. I added a few chives for a garnish! Will make it again!

  7. Tonight was my first time cooking koshari for my family, and it turned out amazing 😀

  8. When you list the ingredient as tomato sauce, do you mean a can of crushed tomatoes or a plain tomato pasta sauce? I'm in Canada and don't know if things are labeled differently.

    1. Hi, Joel! Just plain tomato sauce... not crushed tomatoes or pasta sauce. It is made of tomato puree, salt and usually a few other spices and most often comes in a can. Hope that helps!

  9. Based on previous comments, we stopped the lentils while they were still pretty firm. Worked out perfect when we followed the rest of the directions for the rice. We found black lentils at Whole Foods, which gave a nice nutty flavor (to me) to the dish. The rice and lentil mixture is very aesthetically pleasing. The tomato sauce was excellent, just a touch of spiciness (add more pepper flakes to increase the intensity). I was a bit surprised by the "additive" nature of the recipe - combine the rice and lentils, top with pasta, top with tomato sauce, top with garbanzos, top with onion crisps. Definitely segregated ingredients but it came together nicely, flavorwise. I've never had koshari before, but it seemed to turn out well. Basic but tasty when it all comes together. I'm a little surprised there isn't a fresh herb involved but again, I've never had the real thing, anywhere, any time.

    Would make again for sure.

  10. I want to make this dish for an Egyptian neighbor but am having a hard time finding brown lentils. I even went to an international grocery store but only found green and red lentils (the red lentils looked brown though). What color are the brown lentils on the inside? Can I substitute with green lentils or is the flavor too different? Thanks!

      1. Hi, Cheri. The recipe calls for a medium grain rice, and I can usually find that product at my local grocery store. If you cannot find it, you could go with long-grained rice.

  11. I'd still alter it because I hate onions and vinegar (the smell of vinegar iimmediately induces a gag reflex for me, so vinegar is a no-no at my home. Fortunately, I live alone), but I just love all the other ingredients: almost all legumes, rice, pasta, tomatoes... heck, I eat tomatoes even though I know I'm allergic to them. (I only avoid things which can give me a really dangerous reaction, because if I were to elliminate ALL allergens... I probably couldn't even eat food, but protein and carbohydrate solutions only.)
    However, what I really wanted to comment about: don't assume that everyone has a microwave oven. I don't. I have a small kitchen and if I had a microwave oven, I would have much less place for teas, and I'm absolutely crazy about trying all possible teas.

  12. Yes. Exactly. I took part of the rice and lentils mushy and mixed with rice cooked I had from last day :=) my only solution to save the meal.

  13. Followed the recipe EXACTLY (I do this the first time cause it’s unfair to negatively rate a recipe that one modifies). The rice and lentils got way mushy. Next time I will cook them separately and mix before assembling.

  14. Loved it so tasty! My husband from Egypt said it tasted exactly like home. Very pleased and it was easy to follow. Thanks for this gem of a recipe!

    1. Hi, Pat! I have not personally tried freezing this one, but I think it should work. I would not freeze the servings with the crispy, though. Instead, add that after reheating.