Mujadara (mujaddara) is a signature Middle Eastern dish of lentils and rice garnished with crispy onions. Comforting in the best way, this vegan lentils and rice meal is great with a side of fattoush salad or shirazi salad and plain yogurt.
Place the lentils in a small saucepan with 2 cups of the water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, and then reduce the heat and simmer, cover until the lentils are par-boiled (10-12 minutes). Remove from the heat, drain the lentils and set them aside.
In a large saute pan with a lid, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the diced onions and cook until the onions are dark golden brown, darker than typical caramelized onions (about 40 minutes), sprinkle the onions with a teaspoon of salt as they cook.
Carefully pour the remaining 2 cups of water, bring the water to a boil over high heat, and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir the rice and par-cooked lentils into the onion mixture. Add a good dash of kosher salt, black pepper, and the cumin.
Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice and lentils are both cooked through (about 15 to 20 minutes).
If you are adding the the fried onions, work on them while the rice and lentils are cooking. In a large skillet, heat about 2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. When a small piece of onion bubbles vigorously, the oil is ready. Fry the onions in batches until they are crispy and deeply golden brown. Transfer the crispy onion rings to a paper towel-lined plate to get rid of excess oil.
Let the rice and lentils rest covered for about 10 minutes undisturbed, then garnish with parsley and transfer to serving bowls. Top each bowl with the crispy onion rings.