Lentils and Brown Rice – A Healthy and Comforting One-Pot Dish

One of my favorite staples I have in the kitchen is lentils and I usually rely on a lentil dish if I’m not sure what to cook for dinner. Besides being very healthy, lentils are really versatile and can be served at any temperature, whether it’s a hot soup or a cold salad. This time I made a simple, hearty stew-like dish to ring in the fall season.

I used French green lentils which hold their shape, cook a little longer and are more delicate than the common brown lentils. I seasoned the lentils and rice with homemade garam masala – an Indian mixed spice – and for a little kick, I added some chili powder but feel free to omit. Adding to the heartiness is healthy brown rice, but note that a little goes a long way so don’t use too much. Pair with an earthy red wine.

Lentils and Brown Rice Recipe

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 1/2 cups french green lentils, rinsed
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1-2 tablespoons garam masala (or a mix of curry and cumin)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4-5 cups vegetable stock, or water
  • 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

    Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, tomato paste and garam masala and sauté for about 3-4 minutes. Stir in lentils and rice.

    Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for about 45-60 minutes, or until lentils and rice are tender. Add salt to taste. When done, let lentils and rice sit in pot for a few minutes until soup is somewhat thick. Garnish with chopped parsley.

    Total Time: 60-70 minutes
    Yield: 6-8 servings
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    24 Responses to “Lentils and Brown Rice – A Healthy and Comforting One-Pot Dish”

    1. Mao Mao Kitty September 22, 2011 at 11:43 am #

      This is right up my alley but my man is always skeptical of meatless dishes. Any suggestions for meat/fish pairing?

      • Barb September 22, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

        Try adding in some bacon or ham in the beginning before you sauté the onions, then top with some crispy bacon. Throwing in some shrimp or beef/ground beef could also work. If you use the lentils as a side, pairing it with some grilled fish would make a nice meal!

    2. Peggy September 22, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

      I wouldn’t even miss the meat with this one – sounds like a delicious dish =)

      • Barb September 22, 2011 at 6:27 pm #

        Thanks! It’s definitely a great vegetarian dish packed with a lot of flavor.

    3. Hurst Beans September 23, 2011 at 9:08 am #

      Great recipe! Love the pic of the French Green lentils.

    4. My Fudo September 23, 2011 at 11:56 am #

      This rice will definitely invigorate me. Perfect for my diet program.

    5. Sandy September 25, 2011 at 9:44 am #

      Tomatoe paste is listed as an ingredient but directions don’t include. Also, do you have nutritional information for this recipe? Thanks!

      • Barb September 25, 2011 at 11:51 am #

        Thanks for pointing that out, Sandy. I just updated the recipe.

        Also, here’s a link to the approximate nutritional info (note this is for 6 small servings):

    6. Beth October 20, 2011 at 9:42 am #

      I love your blog. Your photos are amazing. I made this last night but substituted quinoa for the brown rice. It was delicious. I plan on putting pics of it on my blog with the link to your recipe. Thanks.

      • Barb October 20, 2011 at 10:30 am #

        Thanks so much, Beth! This recipe is a go-to for me. It’s really versatile…sometimes I add in some diced sweet potatoes or carrots. I love the substitution of quinoa and that you added peppers and tomatoes. Your blog is great. I could use some running motivation. 🙂 And I’ll have to try out your recipes, they sound delicious!

    7. Beth October 20, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

      Thank you Barb! I bought my first camera and still have a long way to go with taking pics. Your photos inspire me to improve! Anytime you want any running advice, please do ask! I’ve been coaching runners for many years-adults and high school cross country girls team.

      Yum carrots and sweet potatoes do sound yummy in it as well!

    8. Sara March 25, 2012 at 10:18 am #

      Thanks for the recipe! I made it the other day, and it was great. I only had brown lentils and used tomato sauce instead of paste, but it was still great. It will definitely become a staple in my diet. Cheers.

      • Barb March 25, 2012 at 10:27 am #

        Great to hear that you liked it even with the substitutions. Thanks for stopping by Sara 🙂

    9. Adam April 10, 2012 at 6:57 am #

      Made this for dinner tonight, with roast veggies. Lentils and rice have no business being this delicious. Just amazing.

      • Barb April 10, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

        Thank you, Adam! I really love this dish…it’s so easy with minimal ingredients and effort.

    10. Andrea September 6, 2012 at 2:24 am #

      We had 90 million bags of lentils in our cabinet, and I finally decided we needed to get rid of them. I found this recipe, then added bacon and carrots. My family enjoyed it! But we all agreed lentils need hamburger or turkey with it. Thanks for the recipe!

      • Barb September 12, 2012 at 12:12 am #

        Bacon and carrots sound like a great addition. I never tried hamburger or turkey with lentils but I’m sure it’s tasty. Thanks for the comment, Andrea!

    11. Donna November 6, 2012 at 10:39 am #

      Does this freeze well?? Looks yummy but I’m only cooking for two and I don’t want any to go to waste!!

      • Barb November 6, 2012 at 11:34 am #

        Hi Donna – I have put leftovers in the freezer before and it was fine. Just try not to leave it frozen for too long though!

    12. Devon October 7, 2013 at 9:17 pm #

      Does it matter when you add the salt. I know it does with beans, not sure about the lentils and that is missing from your process description. Thanks!

      • Barb October 7, 2013 at 10:15 pm #

        Hi Devon – Sorry I left it out of the description! I’ll update it…but I like to add salt at the end to taste.

    13. Neo July 11, 2014 at 4:30 pm #

      May I please ask what’s the size of one serving? and how many calories per serving?,this looks like the perfect meal to fill me up on my health programme

      • Barb July 12, 2014 at 4:50 pm #

        Hi Neo – Thanks for your comment! Each serving size is different per person. For me, about a cup or less fills me up. And as I stated in one of the above comments, here’s a link to the approximate nutritional info (note this is for 6 small servings): http://bit.ly/oPVAxJ
        Hope that helps!


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