One Pot Cheesy Rice & Lentils

Hearty and flavored with herbs, cheesy rice & lentils can work as a simple main dish or tasty side.  Keep both vegetarians & carnivores happy!  Hearty and flavored with herbs, cheesy rice & lentils can work as a simple main dish or tasty side.  Keep both vegetarians & carnivores happy! 

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. 

The original recipe called for reserving half of the cheese, in slices, to bake on top of the casserole. It’s a cute option—but tossing on a little parsley is cute too and easier. Hearty and flavored with herbs, cheesy rice & lentils can work as a simple main dish or tasty side.  Keep both vegetarians & carnivores happy! 

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!Hearty and flavored with herbs, cheesy rice & lentils can work as a simple main dish or tasty side.  Keep both vegetarians & carnivores happy! 
  • 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

Cheesy Rice and Lentils is very easy to make.  You start by chopping onionsprep ingredients

Combine all the ingredients

mix in casserole

Bake then serve Hearty and flavored with herbs, cheesy rice & lentils can work as a simple main dish or tasty side.  Keep both vegetarians & carnivores happy! 

Ingredient Selection

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.  grated cheese

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. Hearty and flavored with herbs, cheesy rice & lentils can work as a simple main dish or tasty side.  Keep both vegetarians & carnivores happy! 

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! 

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Cheesy Rice & Lentils

Cheesy Rice & Lentils

Yield: 6 as a side, 3-4 as an entree
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Hearty and flavored with herbs, cheesy rice & lentils can work as a simple main dish or tasty side.  Keep both vegetarians & carnivores happy! 

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

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.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 329Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 477mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 5gSugar: 4gProtein: 16g

Nutrition data accuracy may vary with product selection, calculator accuracy, etc. Consult a professional for the best information.

14 thoughts on “One Pot Cheesy Rice & Lentils

  1. Raymund

    Mmmm, this is something new to me. I only used lentils on soups and stews. I will give it a shot specially knowing its cheesy

  2. John / Kitchen Riffs

    We like lentils, and serve them a lot. Sometimes as a side, more often as a main dish. Which is how I’d probably serve this for a weeknight dinner for the two of us. Really nice recipe — thanks.

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