Curried Cauliflower Rice with Lentils & Crispy Shallot (Mujadara-Inspired)

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Wooden spoon resting on a platter of Grain-Free Mujadara beside crispy shallots and curry powder

Have you ever tried mujadara? If not, you’re totally missing out.

What is Mujadara?

Mujadara is a satisfying vegetarian dish with Middle Eastern and Arab influences. It’s traditionally made with rice, lentils, and caramelized onions, making it incredibly affordable and satisfying (and naturally plant-based!).

The spices can range in simplicity from just salt, pepper, and cumin to more complex flavors like cinnamon, lemon peel, and cayenne pepper.

Learn more about mujadara’s origins here, and find a more traditional preparation of the dish here!

What Makes our Version Unique?

  • It’s not traditional and rather inspired by the concept!
  • It’s made with cauliflower rice instead of rice to keep it grain-free.
  • It’s made with way less oil (with options to make it completely oil-free!).
  • The spices are simplified as we rely on cumin, coriander, and our go-to DIY Curry Powder.
  • The shallots are crispy instead of soft to add more texture!
  • We include optional dates at the end for a bit of sweet to balance out the salt.

Cauliflower, lentils, shallot, and other ingredients for making our Grain-Free Curried Cauliflower Rice recipe

To start, cook your lentils in vegetable broth so they get tender and flavorful but not mushy. Then prepare your shallots!

To keep this recipe grain-free we opted to toss our shallots in chickpea flour and salt and use cauliflower rice instead of rice.

To keep this recipe low/no oil, we include options for baking instead of pan-frying so the shallots still get nice and golden brown without the extra oil.

If you’d prefer more tender vs. crispy shallot, simply pan sauté (opting out of the crispy coating) in a little oil or water over medium-low heat until golden brown and tender.

Cooking lentils in a saucepan for our Mujadara recipe

Cooking crispy shallots in a skillet to make our Grain-Free Mujadara recipe

Once your lentils and shallot are prepared, all that’s left to do is cook your cauliflower rice.

Sauté with curry powder and cumin seed, the cooked lentils, and half of the crispy shallot, reserving the remaining shallot for serving!

Cooking Curried Cauliflower Rice with lentils for our grain-free take on mujadara

We hope you love this dish! It’s:

Easy to make
Flavorful
Comforting
Customizable
Satisfying
& Incredibly delicious

This would make the perfect dish for when you’re craving quick comfort. If you’re wondering what to pair it with, we’ve got you covered.

What to Pair with Mujadara

Try this recipe? Let us know by leaving a comment and rating, and tagging a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram! Cheers, friends.

Wooden serving spoons on a large platter of homemade Mujadara with fresh lemon wedges and parsley

Curried Cauliflower Rice with Lentils & Crispy Shallot (Mujadara-Inspired)

A grain-free, healthier take on Middle Eastern-inspired mujadara with cauliflower rice, lentils, and crispy shallot! A satisfying, affordable, flavorful side dish or main.
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Lemon wedges and fresh cilantro on a platter of our Cauliflower Rice Mujadara recipe
4.8 from 24 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4 (Servings)
Course Entree
Cuisine Grain-Free, Middle Eastern-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 2-3 Days

Ingredients

LENTILS

  • 3/4 cup green or brown lentils* (we recommend soaking overnight or buying sprouted)
  • 2 ¼ cups (low sodium) vegetable broth (sub up to 1/2 with water — RESERVE remaining liquid after cooking)

CAULIFLOWER RICE

SHALLOT

  • 2 cups thinly sliced shallot (or sub diced onion)
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour (or brown rice flour or all purpose flour if not grain-free)
  • 1/2 heaping tsp sea salt
  • 1-2 Tbsp avocado oil, or more as needed (see notes on reducing or omitting oil)

THE REST

  • 1 Tbsp avocado or olive oil (or sub water)
  • 1 tsp cumin seed
  • 1 tsp coriander seed
  • 1-2 Tbsp Curry Powder (or sub store-bought)
  • Sea salt to taste (~1/2 tsp as recipe is written)
  • 2 medjool dates, pitted and finely chopped (optional)

FOR SERVING optional

  • Lemon juice
  • Fresh parsley
  • Pomegranate arils

Instructions

  • Start by cooking lentils (see notes if using canned). Add rinsed and drained lentils to a small saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Bring to a low boil over medium-high heat. Then reduce heat to low and simmer until lentils are just tender with a very slight bite — about 15-20 minutes. 
  • Remove lentils from heat but don’t drain yet. Set a fine mesh strainer or colander over a mixing bowl and strain the lentils, SAVING the vegetable broth for later use!
  • Next, using a fine box grater or the grater attachment on your food processor, prepare your cauliflower rice if you haven’t already. See this post for more detailed instructions. Set aside.
  • Next, add sliced shallot to a small mixing bowl and toss to coat with chickpea flour and sea salt. Set aside. 
    NOTE: If you'd prefer more tender shallot, simply pan sauté (omitting the crispy coating mixture) in a little oil or water over medium-low heat until golden brown and tender. See notes for low/no-oil option.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add oil (starting with the lesser amount) and only as many shallot pieces as will fit comfortably in the pan. Sauté until crispy and brown, stirring frequently — about 4-5 minutes. Repeat as needed, adding more oil and shallots to the pan until all are cooked. Remove half of the shallot from the pan and set aside for later use.
  • To the skillet with the remaining shallot, add a bit more oil (or water). Then add coriander and cumin seed and toast for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add cooked drained lentils and season with a few pinches of sea salt. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Then add cauliflower rice, curry powder (starting with the lower amount and working your way up), a healthy pinch of sea salt, and the remaining crispy shallot set aside from earlier (reserving a few spoonfuls for garnish if desired). Add a few Tbsp (~45 ml) of the reserved lentil vegetable broth at a time until the cauliflower rice appears moistened. You don’t want it to be soggy, just slightly moistened.
  • Add dates (optional) at this time and stir again to combine. Continue sautéing over medium heat uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 4-5 minutes, or until cauliflower rice is tender and golden brown.
  • Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more salt or curry powder to taste or broth for moisture.
  • Garnish with any remaining crispy shallot (optional), lemon wedges, fresh parsley, and/or pomegranate arils (optional) and serve.
  • Best when fresh, though leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator up to 2-3 days and be reheated on the stovetop over medium heat until hot.

Video

Notes

*If using canned lentils, simply rinse 1 15 oz (425g) can of lentils, drain, and set aside. Add to the recipe when the instructions call for them.
*For a lower / no oil option: Add the seasoned/breaded shallot to a baking sheet and spritz lightly with avocado oil (or omit oil altogether). Bake in a 400 degree F (204 C) oven for 7-10 minutes (stirring occasionally for even cooking) or until the onions are crispy and golden brown (be careful not to burn them). 
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with low sodium vegetable broth, the lesser amounts of avocado oil, and without optional ingredients.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 servings Calories: 332 Carbohydrates: 51.4 g Protein: 15.9 g Fat: 9.2 g Saturated Fat: 1.1 g Sodium: 438 mg Potassium: 855 mg Fiber: 13.1 g Sugar: 12.3 g

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  1. Colette says

    Made this and it did taste really good. Only thing that I wasn’t sure about was when I added the cooked and drained lentils it all went a bit mushy. Did I do something wrong or is that how it is?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm, it shouldn’t! If you drained them in the can, we’d suggest draining in a fine mesh strainer next time to make sure as much water as possible gets removed. Hope that helps!

  2. Kyhra Awe says

    🌟🌟FIVEEEE STARSS🌟🌟🌟
    Loved this because it was something new to our weekly feeds. Dad was in awe, also made this dish in 30mins. After work 🙌🏼 Going to keep the recipe for here on out! Thankyou for the introduction !!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad everyone enjoyed it, Kyhra! Thanks so much for the lovely review!

  3. Cathie says

    I made this tonight. I love the crispy shallots. I didn’t put in the dates but it was very very good. Now, what should I do with the leftover cauliflower rice? I have about a cup left.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Cathie. We are so glad you enjoyed it! The leftover cauliflower rice can be added to a stir fry or frozen and added to smoothies. Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  4. Karine says

    Hi, I’m Lebanese and we make mujadara all the time. Just wanted to share a suggestion that if you are pan sauteing the shallots/onions the way to get them crispy is that they need to be fried long enough, traditionally mujadara is not served with soft onion. Simply, the onions/shallots need to be close to burnt (very dark brown almost black lol) Dont let this intimidate you because it provides a lot of deep and rich flavour to the dish. If vegetarian it’s eaten with Balkan style yogurt. If vegan, make fattoush and eat it with it! Yum! I’m making this version with some changes for Iftar today

  5. Holly says

    Super yummy and definitely inspired me to use cauliflower rice more often! I had trouble crisping the shallots, but the dish was still delicious! Served with lemon juice and chopped parsley. Definitely recommend.

  6. Eniko T says

    I made this dish tonight, it was amazing! I followed the recipe and added all optional ingredients except for the pomegranate, which I didn’t have at home. My husband and I are thinking of serving it at a house party in the future. The flavors are wonderful and the dish is warming and comforting. The fresh parsley and lemon are the perfect touch at the end.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Christie, we haven’t tried it that way, but it should work. Let us know how it goes!

  7. Melissa says

    Hello! Do you think this recipe will work with oat flour? I can’t eat any grains (no rice, or wheat, etc), and I am wondering how to fry the onions!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm, we think it might be too heavy of a flour. Let us know if you try it though! We wonder if arrowroot might be another option!

  8. Ashley says

    One of my favourite recipes and part of my regular rotation. The dates are a MUST. I eat this with a side of curried roasted sweet potatoes, hummus, and homemade tabbouleh. FANTASTIC.

  9. Alexi says

    This recipe is a winner and now in my regular rotation. I use pre-cooked lentils from Trader Joe’s and frozen riced cauliflower for even quicker preparation on weeknights. I typically only use one date, but otherwise make the recipe as-is (a rarity for me as I’m always experimenting). So good!

  10. dhannon says

    I used frozen riced cauliflower, simply sautéed a onion instead of the crispy shallots. Also used dried cranberries in place of the dates. Excellent recipe and nice change from regular curried cauliflower rice.

  11. Shanon says

    My husband and I loved this dish – he’s brought it up several times asking when I’m going to make it again. The fried shallots were delicious! I think I’ll serve a warm naan with it next time. Thank you for the recipe.

  12. Martin says

    In the video it shows you can also bake the shallots? If so, what temp and amount of time would you recommend? I love your recipes and have been making them for years now. A lot of my fellow vegans stopped using your recipes after you added meat / dairy recipes… while I was surprised, I won’t be throwing the baby out with the bath water. Thank you for all your hard work and effort, it truly makes our lives much easier. Infinite love and blessings.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks for sharing, Martin! We appreciate the support. You can find the baking instructions in the recipe notes!

  13. Nicole says

    This was super tasty! My whole family liked it (even my picky 9 year old boy). I added some green beans (to use them up) and the dates. The dates are definitely not optional, in my opinion, since they add a lot to the flavor of the dish. Overall, I plan to make it again!

  14. Rita says

    I hope that you can help me. I made this and it was delicious but for the fact that I think I put too much curry powder and it tasted bitter. Any way to salvage this dish?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm, if it tasted bitter you could try compensating by adding more cauliflower rice, salt, and more dates.

  15. Allison says

    Loved this! Couldn’t get my shallots to crisp but it still tasted great. Also used a bag of pre-riced cauliflower and a can of drained, rinse lentils to make it faster. Will be part of the regular rotation!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Wonderful – thanks for sharing! The shallots get crispiest when the pan isn’t crowded and there’s plenty of oil :D

  16. Michelle says

    Fantastic! We didn’t use the dates or pomegranate arils but they weren’t missed. It was absolutely delicious and we’ll definitely make it again.

  17. Emmy says

    Question! Since your recipes aren’t 100% vegan and I know you’ve chosen to add more meat/dairy, will you be labeling everything that’s vegan as such, just for ease of browsing? For example, as far as I can tell this recipe is totally vegan, but I noticed a lot of them that are have “vegan” or “plant based” in the title, where this one doesn’t. Just curious :)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re working on a new “key” system that will be launching soon – great question and we’re definitely making a more concerted effort to label things as clearly as possible. Stay tuned!

  18. Christa says

    I’m not a huge fan of Indian cuisine, but that may in part be due to the fact that I never really liked the aromas of the spices they use. I decided to bite the bullet and try this recipe, my first attempt at Indian cooking. I was pleasantly surprised. I followed it except that I didn’t add the dates. Not sure if I would have liked that better or not. And while I did use riced cauliflower, I also made a side of basmati rice, because, well, I’m a rice-a-holic. Lastly, I followed the tip of a few of the commenters and decided to keep the shallots totally separate during the cooking process, so that the wouldn’t be drowned out by the strong spices. I actually liked that idea, and the shallots maintained their subtle flavor.

    Overall, very pleased with my first attempt!

  19. Justyna says

    DELICIOUS! I mixed lentils, cauliflower rice and cooked basmati rice ( keeps me full for longer ;) and used sultanas instead of dates. absolutely wonderfull . Thank you for this recipe! :)

  20. Candice says

    Great recipe will definitely make again. Love the use of cauliflower rice and lentils for a filling recipe. It’s also very easy to make and I got cauliflower rice on sale! My only comments are I wonder why the curry powder isn’t added at the time as the other spices to cook it. Mine was a bit bitter but could be the quality too. Also I love the crispy shallots but so much of it is lost when added in to the mixture?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks for sharing, Candice! The curry powder is added later to better coat the cauliflower rice! But you could add it earlier, too.

  21. Nicol Paresi says

    Amazing flavor. I used brown rice instead of cauliflower (since I had none), and added a few more dates.
    This is probably my favorite recipe i’ve made on here!

  22. Chessie says

    As a big fan of All Things Cauliflower (and most anything curry related), I knew I had to try this. Scrumptious! Wow! Will definitely fix this again.

  23. Bailey C. says

    This was SO delicious !! The Pomegranate seeds really elevate it (I used one and a half poms) and lots of fresh parsley. We ate the whole lot as a main for two. Even thought it’s warm here in Australia this combination of spices is so comforting! About to make your marinara sauce for tonight now.
    (It’s on weekly rotation)
    Love all your recipes and the accompanying videos!

  24. stewart roberts says

    Made this dish last night…my partner and I both loved it, will definitely be added to our fave list
    Cheers Stewart

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Perhaps but we haven’t tried it! The next best option is white or brown rice flour (although this makes the recipe not grain-free).

  25. Ava says

    I love mujadra so making this was a must! So easy (I used the prepackaged lentils from Trader Joe’s because I’m lazy) and delicious! The curry on the cauliflower is my new favorite thing! So yummy! Will be making again!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Ah, thanks for sharing, Ava! Would you mind adding a rating to your review next time? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. xoxo!

    • Jennifer Cohen says

      I made this for lunch today! This recipe is a good starting-off point. I do love the texture. It does not taste like cauliflower at all. While it is good, it is on the bland side. It tastes like it’s missing something. Perhaps garlic? I’m going to add a few cloves of lightly sautéed minced garlic next time to sauté the cauliflower. Then, I’m going to add the shallots last only on the top to serve (like Thanksgiving Green Bean casserole) because all the crunchy goodness disappears when mixed with the lentils and then riced cauliflower. When added to the lentils and cauliflower, the crispy shallots are nearly flavorless. I want to bite into all that gorgeous crunch that I created while painstakingly making them. I added 2 Tablespoons of curry powder as the flavor needed more than one to come through.

      • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

        Thanks for the feedback, Jennifer! We’ll give it another look to see if we can boost the flavor somewhere :D

    • Nancy Simoneau says

      I made this last night with frozen cauliflower rice. It tasted amazing however it was like mush. I think frozen cauliflower does not work for this recipe. Planning to try it again using fresh and maybe alittle rice since the flavor was so good.