Cheesy Rice & Lentils and I go way back. Like decades (shhh). The original was called Herbed Lentils and Rice and I don’t even remember when or where I got the recipe. I have it on paper if that’s any clue!
Yes this was the dish that regularly accompanied me to my early CSA parties–before my repertoire expanded. Then it slipped on to the back burner.
I decided to bring this back this year calling it Cheesy Rice and Lentils–and my youngest (my “picky “daughter) was ecstatic. She is nearly vegetarian and as she dipped in a spoon, she declared it worthy of Christmas Eve.
I had to admit her idea was good. With a fair amount of protein is suitable as an entrée for the couple of vegetarians in her generation. And as a side for the rest of us, it’s got a bigger flavor punch than many rice sides. Guess I need to pencil it in!
Why This is a Winner
This simple rice dish has a lot going for it such as:
- Little working time. While this cooks for awhile, there is almost no working time. So put it in the oven, then get something else done
- No special ingredients. Even though this is all natural, there are no “fresh” ingredients except the cheese. Since I always have cheese around, I can make this on a whim!
- Tasty vegetarian dish. Perfect for meatless Monday or a healthy potluck
- Versatile as side dish or main dish. As per the discussion above, the herbs make this more flavorful than many sides. Or go ahead and serve as an entrée since there is plenty of protein.
Step by Step Directions
Combine all the ingredients
Types of cheese
While I think the original cheese may have been Swiss, I’ll use anything mild to medium as long as it melts well. This time I used a Goat Milk Monterey Jack which was delicious. Swiss and Gouda are other favorite choices. I’d avoid anything overly distinctive like a sharp cheddar which would dominate the dish.
Types of lentils
This recipe is designed for the standard brown lentils but other varieties can be used with adjustments in cooking times. I have personally tried red lentils which were good, but softer, even when cooked just 45 minutes. I’d use them again if that was what I had or other varieties too. For more information on lentil varieties, check out Oh My Veggies.
Types of rice
Your choice of rice can also have an impact on your cooking time. I use a natural short grain brown rice but you can go with white (shorter cooking) or even wild rice if you’d like. As with the lentils, be prepared to adjust your cooking time if you go with a different type.
In the end, if you’ve changed up the ingredients and the dish is done earlier than the rest of your meal, know that it’s a forgiving dish. Just turn down the heat to 200F, add a little water and keep the lid on.
Tips & FAQs
If the need arises you can lengthen the cooking time by reducing the heat. My daughter wanted to go shopping when I was making this so I dropped the heat by 25 degrees which gave me the extra time I needed. (My husband was home to make sure the house didn’t start on fire.)
This doesn’t make a lot but if you do have leftovers, it is good rewarmed or cold!
Raveable Rice Recipes
- Cheesy Broccoli Chicken and Rice from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Cheesy Rice and Lentils from Art of Natural Living
- Chicken and Leek Risotto from That Recipe
- Chicken Teriyaki Fried Rice from The Freshman Cook
- Creamy Wild Rice and Sausage Soup from Cheese Curd In Paradise
- Easy Stuffed Pepper Casserole from Blogghetti
- Taco Zucchini Boats from Fresh April Flours
- Vaangi Bath / Eggplant Rice from Magical Ingredients
Cheesy Rice & Lentils
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- ¾ cup dried brown lentils
- ¾ cup chopped onion
- ½ cup brown rice
- ¼ cup dry white wine or sherry
- ½ teaspoon basil
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teasponn salt
- 1 cup shredded cheese like Swiss Gouda or Monterey Jack
- 1 3/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
- Preheat oven to 350 F
- In a 1 1/2 quart lidded casserole, add ingredients other than the broth and mix well. Top with the broth.
- Cover the casserole and bake until everything is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Remove from oven and stir to mix. Enjoy.
- Apple Turnover with Puff Pastry
- Tuscan Kale Salad