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Rice and Lentils with Ham

Scott Phillips

Servings: 4

Ham brings a salty-sweet savoriness to this twist on the Arabic dish mujaddara, a mix of lentils, rice, and aromatics found throughout the Middle East. Serve with a fresh green salad.


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 saffron threads
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 cup French green lentils (lentils du Puy) or brown lentils
  • 3 cups lower-salt chicken broth
  • 1 cup white basmati rice
  • 3 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 3/4 lb. leftover ham, glaze removed and chopped (2 cups)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs. white balsamic vinegar

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 610
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 190
  • Fat (g): 21
  • Saturated Fat (g): 4
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 13
  • Cholesterol (mg): 80
  • Sodium (mg): 280
  • Carbohydrates (g): 68
  • Fiber (g): 6
  • Protein (g): 38


  • Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a 4-quart heavy-duty saucepan over medium heat. Add the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, sugar, pepper, saffron, and turmeric and cook, stirring, until a shade darker, about 1 minute.
  • Stir in the lentils, and then add the broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the rice, bring back to a simmer, and then cook, covered, over low heat until the liquid is absorbed and the rice and lentils are tender, about 22 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 Tbs. oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and ginger, cover, and cook, stirring once or twice, for 10 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook, stirring often, until very browned and caramelized, about 30 minutes.
  • When the rice and lentils are ready, sprinkle the ham on top, cover, and set aside off the heat to warm the ham through, about 10 minutes.
  • Use a fork to fluff the rice-lentil mixture, and season to taste with salt. Serve topped with the onions and sprinkled with the vinegar.


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Reviews (4 reviews)

  • MWyman | 11/06/2021

    We loved this dish, just as written. Whole cumin and coriander work out fine. It is delicious, and makes great warm up meals the next day.

  • SLattrez | 08/29/2017

    I really want to make this. I rated 5 just to maintain the average rating as I'm not sure where to get clarification, but are the cumin and coriander really left whole in this dish? I can't see how biting into them would be pleasant.
    Please advise.

  • rinowick | 02/23/2015

    I loved this dish! I didn't have the ham so I sprinkled with just a bit of warmed chopped salami instead. Was amazing!

  • hollysue | 04/08/2014

    This was really delicious. One night we heated up leftovers and topped each portion off with a fried egg. Yum! The spices were great. I thought the lentils were a little crunchy and will probably cook them longer next time before adding the rice. I will make this again.

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