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Instant Pot

Lentils and Bulgur with Caramelized Onions

4-6 Servings

FAST: 1 hour
Slow: 6 to 6½ hours 30 minutes active

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This hearty dish is a spin on mujaddara, a Levantine classic that typically pairs fried onions and lentils with rice. Instead of rice, we've used coarse bulgur, or cracked parcooked wheat, which lends a nutty flavor and texture. The onions are fried in olive oil until deeply caramelized—almost burnt, really—to coax out a savory bittersweet flavor. Served hot, warm or at room temperature, with a dollop of plain yogurt, this is a delicious accompaniment to grilled or roasted meats, but it’s also hearty enough to be the center of a vegetarian meal.




Don't worry if the onions caramelize unevenly. A handful of pale slices won't affect the dish's final flavor, but the bulk should be deep, dark brown—almost mahogany—in color. Underbrowned onions won't lend the dish the proper depth of flavor because they lack complex bittersweet notes.

FAST: 1 hour
Slow: 6 to 6½ hours

30 minutes active



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Monica C.
August 11, 2023
Add Lentils + Bulgur during Fast or Slow Step?
The recipe talks about adding the lentils and the bulgur in both the Fast and the Slow cooking segments. Which should it be?
Joy J.

why when I have red lentals does it call for brown, when I have brown it calls for green, can you interchange lentals.

carolyn r.

I used the "slow" option (5.5 hours). The flavor was good, but the texture was glutinous (definitely not "fluffable" at the end), which isn't what I expected given the comparison with mujaddara. Is it supposed to be glutinous, or is it possible I used the wrong bulgur? I used Bob's Red Mill bulgur, which doesn't specify whether it's "coarse."

Lynn C.

Hi Carolyn -

Unfortunately Bob's Red Mill brand's bulgur is medium grind (#2), not coarse (#3). Coarse bulgur, which is heartier and used more in soups and stews, takes longer to cook and therefore can withstand the slow cooker and pressure cooker better. The medium grind is best for bulgur salads like tabbouleh.

The Milk Street Team

Jon S.

Went stovetop with Bob's Red Mill. Trying hard to figure out how I went through so much of my life without mujaddara and all of its variations.