By Fay Kazzi, PhD, MS, RD

Reprinted with permission from The Earthy Canvas Cookbook, www.TheEarthyCanvas.com

Originating in Egypt in the 1800’s, kushari is a blend of Middle Eastern, Italian, and Indian flavors.  Some believe it originated with neighborhood families bringing together their “leftovers.”  It is considered the national dish of Egypt.

Prep Time Cook Time Total Time Servings
30 minutes 1 hour 1:30 4-5





Tomato Sauce


Crispy Onion



(Note: Step 4 is recommended to prepare a day in advance, unless you have an Air Fryer)

  1. For the lentils finely chop the onion and sauté with 2 Tbsp of oil until golden. Add lentils and stir for 2 minutes. Add water and broth, then heat until boiling. Once brought to a boil reduce the heat to a simmer, rinse your rice to wash out the starch, add to your pot, stir lightly, then add salt, pepper and another tablespoon of oil, now allow it to simmer for about 25-30 minutes. Taste and check around the 25 min mark to see if lentils are still hard and adjust your cook time accordingly. Do not mix it during this period as this will break down the starches and make it sticky and pasty. Once done allow it to cool with the lid off.
  2. For the macaroni, follow the instructions on the back of your package, once done rinse with cold water and add a little olive oil to prevent sticking.
  3. For the sauce, finely chop your onion, sauté in a small pot with 1 Tbsp of oil over medium-high heat. When golden brown, add the minced garlic, reduce your heat to medium. Make sure to keep stirring otherwise garlic can burn. Stir for 1-2 minute. Then add the canned tomato chunks and the canned tomato paste, then add about 2-3 cups of water. Now pour out your contents from the pot and place in a food processor or blender, and blend until little to no chunks remain. Add back to the pa, set heat to high, once it boils, simmer for about 7 minutes. Mix in the salt, pepper and cayenne with another Tbsp of oil and let it sit with lid on the pan.
  4. For the crispy onion, if you don’t have an air fryer you may want to prepare this a day in advance so that it’s ready for your Kushari. Slice your onion in half, then take each half, slice off the ends, and slice in one direction, making very thin moons, separate them from each other and spread on to a baking sheet and leave it out in direct sunlight for 3-4 hours (from noon till about 4 pm), this will help to dehydrate them. Once dehydrated, lightly fry until golden brown, set aside to cool. If dehydrated well enough they will be crunchy. You can store extra in a mason jar or airtight container. If you have an Air Fryer, simply mix in the sliced onion with a Tbsp of olive oil and set to 275 degrees for 30 minutes, tossing them every 10 minutes. Using the Air Fryer is my newfound secret!
  5. To assemble, start with a generous portion of the lentil and rice preparation, then top that with the macaroni, now pour your tomato sauce, and finally top with your sundried onions. You can add a little drizzle of white wine vinegar if you’re like me and enjoy sharp flavors.