Makhlouta is an amazing Lebanese whole-grain stew. It is made easily and quickly thanks to the Instant Pot's help. It’s naturally vegan and can also be made gluten-free. This is pantry cooking at its finest my friends! You can use whatever grains you have on hand, and most importantly, it's crazy good!
Makhlouta - Lebanese Whole-Grain Stew
World meet… Makhlouta! The best grain-based stew I know. ♡
Seriously, this stew is just the best. It’s made with whatever grains you have in your pantry, and it's surprisingly delicious. It is so simple and savoury thanks to the fried onions and rich olive oil.
It’s also naturally vegan, and if you omit the bulgar and wheat berries, it can be made gluten-free. Makhlouta is loaded with lots of good-for-you protein, fibre, and nutrients. It's the creamiest, coziest, warmest, most comforting whole-grain soup to come out of my kitchen in possibly forever.
And the best part?
It’s one of those simple basic recipes that you can whip up when your fridge is bare. You just need beans, grains, olive oil and onions. Because this soup is sooo basic, use the BEST olive oil you can find - preferably unfiltered and cold-pressed for maximum flavour and nutritional benefit.
Every time I make it, it is always, always a hit. So if you’re looking for a healthy, simple vegan recipe that everyone can enjoy this season, stock up on some beans and grains, grab your favourite olive oil and let’s make a big batch!
Tips for Making Makhlouta
Use a food processor. There are lots of onions in this recipe; a food processor with a slicing attachment is strongly recommended.
Soak onions in water. If you're not using a food processor to slice the onions, then soak them in cold water before slicing. Also, use a very sharp knife to avoid all the tears.
It makes for the absolute best leftovers; and also freezes beautifully (actually, I prefer it the next day).
What do you need to make Makhlouta - Lebanese whole-grain stew
The ingredients are simple standard pantry grains. You can mix and match to your taste if needed; however, here are the ingredients I used in my recipe:
- Dried chickpeas, beans & brown lentils
- Short-grain rice, wheat berries & bulgar
- Extra virgin olive oil
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Makhlouta - Lebanese Whole-Grain Stew
- Instant pot, pressure cooker
- Large frying pan
- ½ cup dried chickpeas
- ½ cup dried beans
- ½ cup wheat berries
- ¼ cup dried brown lentils
- ¼ cup short-grain rice
- ¼ cup bulgar (cracked wheat)
- 1 large potato cut into bite-sized pieces
- ¼ cup olive oil (see notes) & 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 2 lbs onions,(6 onions) chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin, ground
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 lbs onion (3 onions) sliced
- Highly Recommended Step: soak chickpeas, beans & wheat berries overnight in a bowl of water. Not a necessary step, the soup works fine without pre-soaking – but the pre-soaking reduces some of the bitter aftertastes of the grains many give to the soup.
- Rinse the chickpeas, beans & wheat berries in cold water. Add to your instant pot and fill with water to cover the beans by two inches. Close the lid on the Instant Pot. Use the multi-grain setting and time it for 20 minutes. Once the time has finished, allow for a 7-10 minute slow release.
- While you wait for your beans to be done, start soaking the bulgar, rice and lentils in cold water.
- Saute the onions for stew: In a large frying pan heat the ¼ cup of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add all of the chopped onions ⏤ fry until dark brown and soft. Once the onions are finished add the cumin & salt.
- Finished beans: release the pressure from the Instant Pot. Open lid. Drain the lentils, rice, & bulgar. Then add them to the bean mixture along with the potato. Stir. Add salt. (you may need more water. The water should cover the grains by 2 inches.)
- Reset the Instant Pot back onto the multi-grain setting and cook for 10 minutes. Once cooking time is finished allow for a 7-10 minute slow release.
- Finish the soup. Once the grain base is finished, open the lid of the Instant Pot. Add all the onions and olive oil to the bean soup. Adjust water & salt. (The soup should not be runny or too dry, it should be somewhere in-between). Allow the soup to sit for 10 minutes to cool and for the flavours to set.
- While the soup is cooling. Use the frying pan you used for the chopped onions. Reheat over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and all the sliced onions ⏤fry until dark brown and crispy. Stir often.
- Serve. Ladle some soup into a bowl and top with some fried onions. Enjoy.
- Use the highest quality olive oil you can find. The oil makes or breaks this dish.
- Freezer friendly – keep 1-2 months in the freezer.
- Speedy kitchen prep tip: use a food processor to chop & slice the onions. This is a rustic dish, so there's no need for perfection.
- For the stovetop method, use the same steps just cook longer.
- You can use any kind of bean you would like. They're all great for this recipe.
Wow! Great recipe, it's one of my favorites.
These days I love anything that doubles as delicious leftovers. I love the local Lebanese place and can't wait to try making makhlouta at home.
I'd never tried anything like this but I knew my husband would love it--and me too, of course! I've also been super into my Instant Pot this winter so this is a definite winner for these cold cold nights!
A massive bowl of all the nutrients! I love this stew.
Adriana Lopez Martin
This is a nice bowl of goodness love all the ingredients and that it has lentils, I enjoy those a lot. This looks so tasty and chunky. I wish I had a bowl now.
I love bean stews and I love the idea of topping with the fried onions for some extra taste and texture.