Egyptian Lentils with Rice and Pasta (Koshari)

Koshari, also spelled Kushari, is the national dish of Egypt. It is one of the best Mediterranean diet recipes for using up things in your pantry. You can find Koshari in food carts and restaurants all over Egypt (and now you can make it in your own home!). This dish requires cooking everything separately and assembling it all at the end. This Egyptian dish is great because it’s cheap to make, very filling, and equally flavorful.  The crispy, fried onion topping is optional, but traditional and gives this recipe a nice crunch!

Mediterranean Diet Recipes: Egyptian Lentils with Rice and Pasta

Photo Credit:  Christine Dutton




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Mediterranean Diet Recipes: Egyptian Lentils with Rice and Pasta

Egyptian Lentils with Rice and Pasta (Koshari)

Koula Barydakis
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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 650 kcal


  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • 1 cup dry basmati rice
  • 1 cup spaghetti, broken into small pieces
  • 2 small onions, grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 pound tomatoes, grated
  • 1/4 tsp red chili pepper flakes (optional)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For Crispy Onion Topping:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil for frying
  • 1 large onion cut into rings
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour


  • Boil lentils and a dash of salt in water for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • Cook rice in a pot with a dash of salt in 2 cups water for approximately 15 minutes. Once rice is cooked, cover the pot with a tea towel.
  • Boil spaghetti with a dash of salt according to package directions. Mix with a Tablespoon of oil and cover the pot.
  • In another pot, add olive oil, onions and garlic, saute 2 minutes, add chopped tomatoes, pepper flakes, salt and pepper and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Gently mix together lentils, rice and spaghetti. Serve with a dollop of the tomato sauce.
  • For Crispy Onion Topping:
  • Heat the olive oil to medium high heat.
  • Toss onion rings in flour and shake off excess.
  • Fry until crispy, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain on paper towels, salt lightly (if desired) and then top lentil dish with crispy onions.


Calories: 650kcalCarbohydrates: 85gProtein: 17gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 19gSodium: 14mgPotassium: 694mgFiber: 13gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 668IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 58mgIron: 4mg
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About the Author: Koula Barydakis
Koula Barydakis was born into a long tradition of eating and living Mediterranean on the Greek island of Crete. She is a chef who has worked in many of the top restaurants in Crete and in Greek Town in Toronto, Canada. Koula is the co-author of “Foods of Crete, Traditional Recipes of the Healthiest People in the World” and is currently completing her second cookbook. Koula teaches cooking classes to tourists in Crete and has been hired to teach classes in other countries as well.
Mediterranean Living

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