Chef Laura Frankel’s Mujadara

The Lebanese classic dish gets a make-over as a vegan side with crispy shallots, garlic chips and sauteed Swiss Chard.

Mujadarah is one of the oldest recorded recipes, with versions being dated as early as 1200. Without meat, it was a medieval Arab dish commonly consumed by the poor, reputed to be a derivative of the “mess of pottage” Jacob used to buy Esau’s birthright. Typically served with meat, I modernized the ancient dish by making it an all-purpose side dish with a luscious topping of crispy shallots and garlic chips.

Chef Laura Frankel’s Mujadara

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 40 mins


  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil don’t worry you will use the oil again to saute the chard!
  • 5 large shallots sliced very thinly
  • 6 large cloves garlic sliced thinly
  • 1 ½ cups basmati rice rinsed until water is clear and not cloudy
  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • Large pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 1 bunch Swiss Chard stems sliced thinly and leaves coarsely chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper


  • Line 2 small plates with several layers of paper towels.
  • In a small saucepan or saute pan, cook shallots and evoo, over low heat, stirring frequently, until shallots are medium brown and crispy (patience is key here, this will take 20-30 minutes). Transfer shallots to lined plate and sprinkle with salt.
  • Add sliced garlic to the same pan and cook until chips are light brown. Transfer to plate. The garlic will crisp up as it cools.
  • Meanwhile, simmer rice, partially covered, in a saucepan with 2 ¾ cups of water. When the water level is even with the top of the rice, turn off the heat, cover and allow steam to finish the cooking.
  • Cook lentils in 2 cups of water, over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes until tender. Drain lentils.
  • In a large saute pan, coated with the oil used to cook shallots and garlic, add crushed red pepper and chard stems. Stir frequently for about 2 minutes until stems are tender. Add leaves and saute for just a minute. Add rice, lentils and stir to combine. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer lentil mixture to platter. Top with shallots and garlic chips. Serve with fish, chicken, beef, lamb or favorite vegetable dish.