Mujaddara is a richly spiced Middle Eastern comfort food filled with rice, lentils, and caramelized fried onions. It is the perfect filling in these Middle Eastern mujaddara burritos, along with zucchini baba ghanoush!
middle eastern lentil, rice, and caramelized onion burritos

Here’s the deal.

I have absolutely no scruples when it comes to burritos.


I really think it comes from growing up in NYC where, I hate to say it, Mexican food? SUUUXXXXX.

With an x.

No, really. That’s how bad it is.

As a result, I have very little Real Life Best Authentic Mexican Food Experience…which basically means I have no standards when it comes to all things south of the border. I mean, obviously I know that Taco Bell is one of the most disturbing things on earth, but I’m also fairly convinced that Chipotle is The Real Deal.

All of you in Arizona or SoCal are gagging at the thought of this right now. I accept that. It is what it is.


The silver lining to all of this is that I am pretty much an open book with what I will and won’t shove into an oversized tortilla. If it even somewhat resembles rice and beans…I will do it.

Cultural norms be damned.


Given how enamored I am with all things Middle Eastern (really, I could live off of hummus and falafel if anyone would let me), it was really only a matter of time before this particular fusion burrito happened. I’m mostly just shocked that it didn’t happen sooner. Making mujaddara, a Lebanese version of rice and beans that involves mixing fried caramelized onions with richly spiced basmati rice and lentils, has always been on my cooking bucket list, but it wasn’t until I found myself with a HUGE Dutch oven full of it (seriously, enough to feed a small army) and a bag full of burrito shells in my fridge that I had the DOH moment that led me to these.

It was worth the wait.

I realize that not everyone will have as fluid a definition of “burrito filling” as I do and so may not want to stray so far from tradition, but either way, you should still make the filling and eat it topped with the zucchini baba ghanoush from last week or some kind of tahini/garlic/yogurt sauce. It is comfort food to the nth degree, but the kind that doesn’t make you feel like a ton of bricks smacked you in the face after you eat it.

I more than kind of love that.


Middle Eastern Mujaddara Burritos
Mujaddara is a richly spiced Middle Eastern comfort food filled with rice, lentils, and caramelized fried onions. It is the perfect filling in these Middle Eastern mujaddara burritos, along with zucchini baba ghanoush!
Yield: 8 burritos
  • 2 lb onions, halved and sliced ¼-inch thick
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1¼ cups green or brown lentils, rinsed
  • 1¼ cups basmati rice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
  • 8 tortillas
  • 1 recipe Zucchini Baba Ghanoush
  1. Toss the onions with 2 tsp salt in a bowl and microwave for 5 minutes. Rinse, drain, and pat dry with paper towels. Cook the onions and the oil in a Dutch oven over high heat, stirring often, until golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Drain the onions in a colander set in a large bowl, reserving 3 tbsp of the leftover oil. Transfer the onions to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Do not wash the pot.
  2. Meanwhile, bring the lentils, 4 cups water, and 1 tsp salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until lentils are tender, 15-17 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. While the onions and lentils cook, place the rice in a medium bowl and cover with hot tap water by 2 inches. Let stand for 15 minutes. Carefully pour off as much water as possible, leaving the rice in the bowl. Add cold water to the rice and pour it off again. Repeat 4-5 times. Drain rice in a fine-mesh strainer.
  4. Heat 3 tbsp of the reserved oil, garlic, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, ¼ tsp black pepper, and cayenne pepper in the Dutch oven over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until it starts to turn translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in 2¼ cups water, sugar, and 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil. Stir in the lentils and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook until all of the liquid is absorbed, about 12 minutes.
  5. Remove the pot from the heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and stir in the cilantro and the onions.
  6. Heat the tortillas according to package directions. Mound the lentil and rice mixture and the zucchini baba ghanoush across the center of the tortillas, close to the bottom edge. Fold the sides of the tortilla over the filling, then fold up the bottom of the tortilla. Continue to roll tightly into a burrito. Serve warm.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 burrito


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48 Responses to Middle Eastern Lentil, Rice, and Caramelized Onion Burritos

  1. I’m thinking you should open a Middle Eastern/Mexico fusion food truck with these.
    Those onions! Yum!

  2. Beth says:

    I thought New York had good … everything! But in this case I’m glad it doesn’t, because your burritos – whether or not they’re legit – look amazing. This is the best kind of Monday morning inspiration I could get!

  3. Erica says:

    Oh my gahhhh this looks so good. I want it for my lunch. And my dinner. I love lentils too so this is right up my alley. Aaaand now I should get back to studying for my exam in a couple hours, but I couldn’t resist visiting and seeing what you posted! Glad I did 🙂

  4. I love middle eastern flavour! These burritos look filling and delicious.

  5. I think more people need to ake lentil burritos. And always with caramelised onions.

  6. I need more burrito loving in my life. This flavour is out of this world!! Yum!

  7. I say you burrito up anything you want girl, because ALL your burritos look fabulous. And right there with you on the NYC Mexican fail. Sigh.

  8. Uhmmm. Clearly you are the QUEEN of Mexican food in NYC! Even if nobody else knows how to make it, at least you can make a dang-good burrito! Speaking of which…these?! My Monday needs.

  9. I want to shove one in my mouth, please. And then maybe another. Girl, you know the way to my heart

  10. Julia says:

    Hey, for a girl who doesn’t have a whole lot of experience with Mexican food, you wrapped these burritos with flying colors! And Middle Eastern-style?!! Woman after my own heart. Gimme them caramelized onions!! <3

  11. Heather says:

    I generally always have rice and beans in my burritos, so I’m looking forward to trying this out! I don’t have much experience with middle eastern flavors, but this looks and sounds delicious!

  12. I love these flavors and need to start making ME foods more often! I’ll send you some burritos from the southwest if you send me some of these!

  13. This is PERECT!! Whip up a large batch and keep making these ALL week! LOVE it!

  14. haha, I’m kind of surprised to hear there isn’t much good Mexican food in NYC? I guess I just assume that all cuisines are good there. . anyway, I grew up in Texas with Tex-Mex, which isn’t real, authentic Mexican food and then moved to CA (Los Angeles). . my husband loves Mexican food, like next to Korean food, Mexican food is #2. LOVE these middle-eastern-mujaddara-burritos!!! Damn girl! they look so good!!!

  15. Pam says:

    I love all things wrapped in a tortilla. This burrito looks hearty, healthy, and super flavorful. Yummy!

  16. Monica says:

    My knowledge of Mexican food has been sadly/embarassingly lacking and I can now blame it on growing up around the NY-area – I knew it! : ) I have been craving tacos these last couple of weeks but now I add burritos. This looks so tasty and is just my kind of burrito filling. Love it…great fusion!

  17. Ahhh, these look unburritoble. (Sorry that was so cheesy. xD) Yay for any kind of goodness wrapped up in a tortilla, though! And I could totally live off of hummus and falafel, too. You’re not alone!

  18. Kate says:

    Mexican varies so much from local to local, I’m not even sure what “real” Mexican is. I mean even Baja California is completely different from Mexico City. I think that leaves it open to a lot of interpretation.

  19. Give that I could live off falafel and hummus too, this twist on burritos sounds great to me! So much more exciting than Mexican 🙂

  20. Oh, I bet Sacramento has NYC beat on the terrible Mexican food. Why do you think we eat at Chipotle all the time? I guess it’s better than the sushi being bad. Because that would make me die of depression. Anyway, LENTILS. So underused. Loved these!

  21. I think this is probably the most unique/inspired burrito combo…ever! I’m now craving Middle Eastern + Mexican food and I know that this is the only thing that will satiate. I will be making these at some point!

  22. This burrito looks packed with flavor – yum! You must have the yummiest, coolest lunches at your pre-clerkship classes!

    Also I’m with you about Chipotle – it’s delicious. I’m from SoCal and have pretty much lived in either SoCal or NorCal my whole life, but Chipotle seems pretty real to me 🙂

  23. This looks AH-MAZING!! This half-Middle Easterner approves BIG TIME!

  24. Wow, wow, wow! Mujadara is one of my favorite foods in all the world and this sounds amazing.

  25. The flavours in these are some of my favourite, so you won’t find me complaining about any lack of burrito authenticity. Not that I would know what a ‘proper’ burrito is supposed to be like, anyway. I’m pretty sure the Mexican food over here in the UK is much worse that NYC’s!
    P.S. I could live off hummus & falafel, too! 🙂

  26. Hotly Spiced says:

    That’s a fantastic looking burrito. It’s difficult for us to get good Mexican cuisine here in Sydney too. We are a long way from Mexico xx

  27. Eileen says:

    As a Californian who used to like in Brooklyn, I concur: NYC Mexican food is stunningly awful. We made SO many tacos at home when we lived there! I’ve never had mujadarra in a burrito, though. Must give it a try. 🙂

  28. I love nothing more than a great mashup (“fusion” to those more sophisticated than I), especially when it’s two of my favorite cuisines!!

  29. Johanna GGG says:

    Having come to burritos late in life (well after childhood) I am quite happy to put anything in them. I have tried these rice lentils and onions sort of middle eastern dish once and loved it – it did make heaps so stuffing it in a burrito with dips sounds great

  30. This sounds so good. We love a good Lebanese dish like this one -we have make more burritos-
    Perfect dish!

  31. Reeni says:

    Stuff anything in a burrito and I’m all over it especially when caramelized onions are involved! The flavors in these rock. So creative.

  32. I am getting so hungry just looking at your pictures, I love the caramelized onions and lentils in your burritos. I love caramelized onions with just about anything.

  33. Krista says:

    Bad Mexican food is a sad, sad thing. These, on the other hand, sound marvy, and who cares if they’re authentic or traditional. 🙂

  34. Zainab says:

    I feel your pain on the lack of good mexican in NY. Just plain sad. But makes it easy for us to explore and stuff all the things in a burrito!!

  35. easypeasy says:

    I love how different this is! Looks yummy! 🙂
    This sounds so unusually good! 🙂

  36. Kelly says:

    I’d be happy with these stuffed burritos any day. They look incredible! Love the flavors!

  37. These sound so good! Any excuse for extra lentils in my house!

  38. dawn says:

    so there is no way of me getting the recipe for this zucchini baba ghanoush unless I join this recipe redux. and I can’t join the recipe redux because I do not have a blog???? so how can I get the recipe for the zucchini baba ghanoush????

  39. grace says:

    while i really, really, really like mexican food, i’d definitely give this a go too. falafel is my friend, and i’m certainly a fan of these flavors! 🙂

  40. I am thinking I could live off of hummus and falafel too! Oooh – and mujaddara oh and coffee and ooh chocolate …those gotta be included whenever “forever” and “living” are in one sentence.
    This is one spectacular filling – wow – I could just skip the burrito and devour that filling!

  41. Okay but this rice looks ridiculously amazing. And lentils?? Ugh I’m dying over here 🙂

  42. Oh, haven’t made Mujaddara for ages and I do love it and these Burritos are so my kind of food – thanks Joanne for the reminder about this dish:-)

  43. This sounds delicious! You always come up with the most creative recipes. Can’t wait to try this one too!

  44. Eva R. says:

    We had these for dinner last night on our quest to use up some old pantry staples, and OH MY GOD. SO GOOD! I can’t wait for lunch leftovers this week!

  45. Angela says:

    We made this recipe last night and it was as amazing tasting as it looks! My eyes were bigger than my stomach, so I wrapped up one burrito and put it in the fridge. It was delicious cold for lunch the next day too!

  46. Lawyer says:

    You copied this from cooks illustrated and did not give them credit. Plagiarism is a crime. Do not take credit for the time and effort of others.

    • joanne says:

      Hello, you’ll see that I actually DO cite the source of the mujaddara filling at the bottom of the recipe. The recipe is actually from The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook, which was produced by America’s Test Kitchen.

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