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This lentils and rice recipe is delicious as a plant-based meal or even a wonderful side dish!
I’ve been going kind of crazy with my Instant Pot recipes lately. I’ve taken a part-time job recently so my time in the kitchen is at a premium! That being said, this single mama is TIRED!! So spending a bunch of time in the kitchen isn’t something I have a lot of energy for anyway right now. A new job takes a little getting used to, so until I do get into the routine of things, I’m relying heavily on my Instant Pot. (No, I was not paid to promote Instant Pot. I just love mine!)
As many of you know, I went 100% plant-based for about 2 years and I loved it! I felt so much better on the inside. So much “cleaner”. (It’s hard to put it into words, actually). But most of the recipes out there for the Instant Pot are anything but plant-based. So I had to get a little creative. But you won’t catch me complaining! I’m no longer vegan, but I still enjoy many plant-based meals, just like this one.
Why Use An Instant Pot?
- Much like a slow cooker, it’s a “set-it-and-forget-it” type of appliance.
- It’s faster than a slow cooker.
- It cooks to perfection every single time.
- While you do have to get to know your IP pressure cooker in the beginning, once you do, it’s a breeze to use!
- You can sauté in it before you do any pressure cooking. Can’t do that in a slow cooker! Makes for easy, one-pot meals!
- Very little cleanup! (see the previous bullet)
- If you absolutely WANT to use a slow cooker, the IP does that too!! (and a few other things like making yogurt!)
- There are very few things you CAN’T cook in an IP.
- It saves time in the kitchen.
- This recipe has sort of an “Indian” or “Moroccan” flare to it. The curry is mild, so there is almost no noticeable heat to the spice.
- A little salt goes a long way with this dish.
- It travels well for lunches.
- It’s a complete-protein meal all by itself thanks to the combo of rice and legumes.
- It’s a wonderful side dish if you aren’t plant-based.
- Do NOT use “quick cook” or “minute” brown rice. Your rice will end up very mushy. This must be regular, brown rice. I’ve tried this with both brown Basmati rice, and brown short-grain rice. Both work well.
- This is a fantastic recipe for meal prep!
#1 Tip For Perfect Lentils And Rice
Above all else, make sure your lentils are not old lentils. Sometimes, this can be a little tough at the store because you don’t know how long they’ve been sitting on the shelf. But it’s better to use just-bought lentils than to use lentils that have been sitting on your pantry shelf for a long time. Old lentils take much longer to cook, so your rice will turn to mush before the lentils are done. NEVER USE OLD LENTILS FOR THIS DISH!
What You’ll Need
Red onion – You can use any color onion you have on hand. Yellow onions work well. But red/purple onions tend to have the better flavor.
Red bell pepper – Again, use any color pepper you have handy. But red is the sweetest and will give this dish the best flavor.
White mushrooms – Brown mushrooms will work as well.
Oil – Use any light flavored oil you prefer. I used coconut oil.
Garlic powder – I used garlic granules, but powder works just as well and is sometimes more readily available. If you prefer to use fresh garlic cloves, mince at least 6 cloves. And if you can sauté them for one minute before adding them to the pot, all the better for flavor.
Ground cumin – Make sure it’s just plain cumin with nothing else mixed in. Don’t use a spice mix.
Curry powder – You could also try using garam masala if you don’t have curry powder. But the dish will be spicier and the flavor will obviously be different. Still yummy though!
Dry brown lentils – You can use other types of lentils such as green lentils or french lentils (puy lentils), but avoid red lentils as they will not stand up to the cooking time for the rice and you’ll end up with mush.
Brown basmati rice – I’ve also used short-grain brown rice and it works well here. AVOID quick-cooking or “minute” rice. You’ll get mush if you use them here.
Vegetable broth – Use broth with no sugar added, low sodium is best.
Salt and black pepper – at serving, to taste.
How To Make Instant Pot Lentils And Rice
Put the red onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms into the IP insert along with the oil. Press the sauté button.
Sauté the vegetables until they are wilted and the onions are translucent, then add in the spices and stir.
Add the lentils and rice and stir well to coat the rice with the spices.
Finally, add in the broth and stir well.
Press the OFF button on your IP. Put your lid on and close the vent to the sealing position, and then press the manual button. Adjust time to 24 minutes on high pressure.
When done, allow a 15-minute natural release (leave the steam valve closed for 15 minutes for a slow, natural, pressure release), then open the vent to release any remaining steam.
Season with salt and pepper to taste, stir and serve.
How To Store
Keep this in the refrigerator for up to 4 days in an airtight container.
How To Reheat
You can easily warm this in the microwave or in a pot by adding a bit of water or broth and stirring constantly as it warms.
Can You Freeze This?
You can store this in an airtight, freezer-safe container for up to 4 months.
How To Thaw
Thaw this in the fridge overnight or thaw in a microwave.
Need Supplies For This Instant Pot Lentils And Rice Recipe?
Here’s some of what I used to make this recipe. You can click any image to be taken to that product on Amazon. (Affiliate links)
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Instant Pot Lentils And Rice
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- ½ cup finely chopped red onion
- ½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
- ½ cup finely chopped white mushrooms
- 2 tbsp. oil
- 1 tbsp. garlic powder
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. curry powder
- 1 cup brown lentils (dry)
- 1 ½ cups brown basmati rice
- 3 ½ cups vegetable broth
- Put the red onion, bell pepper and mushrooms into the IP insert along with the oil and press the sauté button.
- Sauté the vegetables until they are wilted and the onions are translucent, then dd in the spices and stir again.
- Add the lentils and rice and stir well to coat the rice with the spices.
- Finally, add in the broth and stir well.Press the OFF or CANCEL button on your IP. Put your lid on and close the vent, and then press the manual button. Adjust time to 24 minutes on high pressure. When done, allow a 15 minute natural release, then open the vent to release any remaining steam.
- Season with salt as needed and serve.
Recipe from the GraciousPantry® archives, originally posted 12/2/18.