Lebanese lentil rice


This rice dish originates in Lebanon and we discovered it when we invited our friend around for a barbecue. Everyone that came had to bring one dish and this was what she brought. Ilham is a chef that works in Lebanese restaurants and this is a dish that she adjusted to her own taste. When I first tried it, I had to get the recipe. It combines wonderful flavour with a simple way of cooking. This is honestly one of the best rice dishes I have tried to date. It serves four but feel free to double or adjust the recipe to your taste.

Also, if you have no mixed spice on hand, you can switch it out for cinnamon. This lentil rice dish works wonderfully as a side with other dishes. Ilham would typically serve this with grilled and seasoned sliced courgette or Taboulleh with  a bone on chicken tagine. Whilst this lentil rice can be a great side dish you can add cooked minced beef to it at the end of cooking to make it a main meal that you can add a side salad to with a dressing or cucumber yoghurt dip.


  • Mixed spice
  • Green lentils (1/2 cup)
  • Onion (1)
  • Basmati Rice (2 cups)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Soak green lentils in water overnight.
  2. Boil the soaked lentils until cooked, meanwhile boil the rice.
  3. When the lentils have cooked drain them well.
  4. Finely dice and onion and caramelise then add in the cooked lentils. Once your rice is cooked allow to cool slightly then add into the cooked lentil and onion add the mixed spice and season with salt and pepper to taste, for better results cook for longer adding more oil to get crispy aromatic rice.

Frequently asked questions

Is this lentil rice suitable for vegetarians/vegans?

As this dish contains no meat or animal based ingredients it is suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

How long do I have to soak the lentils?

Lentils should be soaked for at least 12 hours, we recommend soaking them overnight as they will be ready to cook in the morning.

What is the total cooking time?

Less than one hour (next time we cook this dish we will time the total cooking).

Is this lentil rice gluten free?

Gluten comes from wheat and this recipe does not contain any wheat which makes it a great gluten free side dish.

Can I use any rice?

Basmati rice is superior in comparison to long or short grain rice due to its aromatic flavour. Also, basmati rice is less likely to become sticky. If you only have long grain rice it will be fine but do not use short grain rice as it has a tendency to become mushy.

How to store lentil rice?

We recommend making lentil rice fresh on the day and eating it all. Storing it in the fridge will only spoil the flavour and leftover rice can be dangerous.

What oil is best for lentil rice?

Our go to option for making lentil rice is vegetable oil simply because it does not add too much of a flavour. If you do not have vegetable oil, we would recommend opting for another flavourless oil like groundnut, a light sunflower oil, or a mild olive oil however, the flavour will slightly change.

What should I serve with this rice dish?

You could serve it with any type of meat, tagine, olives, vegetables, curry or salads such as tabbouleh.


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