Lentils And Rice Recipe (Instant Pot Recipe)

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!)

A white bowl filled with Lentils and Rice

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.

Recipe Notes

  • 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!
A side view of a white bowl filled with Lentils and Rice

#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 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 – If you don’t have curry powder, you could try using garam masala. However, the dish will be spicier, and the flavor will be different. It will still be 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

The vegetables added to the insert for sautéing.

Put the red onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms into the IP insert along with the oil. Press the sauté button.

Adding the spices to the sautéd vegetables.

Sauté the vegetables until they are wilted and the onions are translucent, then add in the spices and stir.

Sautéing the rice and lentils with the spices and vegetables in this Instant Pot Lentils And Rice Recipe.

Add the lentils and rice and stir well to coat the rice with the spices.

Vegetable broth added to the Instant Pot for cooking this Instant Pot Lentils And Rice Recipe.

Finally, add in the broth and stir well.

Press the OFF button on your IP. Put your lid on, 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.

The finished Instant Pot Lentils And Rice, just finished.

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.

More Healthy Instant Pot Recipes

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A white bowl filled with Lentils and Rice

Instant Pot Lentils And Rice

A delicious one-pot meal straight from your Instant Pot! Enjoy it as a plant-based main meal or a nutritious side dish to a different main course.
3.85 from 65 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Moroccan
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 24 minutes
Pressurizing: 20 minutes
Total Time: 39 minutes
Servings: 7 servings
Calories: 310kcal
Author: Tiffany McCauley

CLICK TO WATCH THIS RECIPE IN ACTION!

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • Put the red onion, bell pepper and mushrooms into the IP insert along with the oil and press the sauté button.
    The vegetables added to the insert for sautéing.
  • Sauté the vegetables until they are wilted and the onions are translucent, then dd in the spices and stir again.
    Adding the spices to the sautéd vegetables.
  • Add the lentils and rice and stir well to coat the rice with the spices.
    Sautéing the rice and lentils with the spices and vegetables in this Instant Pot Lentils And Rice Recipe.
  • 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.
    Vegetable broth added to the Instant Pot for cooking this Instant Pot Lentils And Rice Recipe.
  • Season with salt as needed and serve.
    The finished Instant Pot Lentils And Rice, just finished.

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data below is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 310kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 6g | Sodium: 479mg | Potassium: 472mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 610IU | Vitamin C: 15.8mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 4mg

Recipe from the GraciousPantry® archives, originally posted 12/2/18.

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91 Comments

  1. Bonnie F. says:

    5 stars
    Made this recipe this morning and was not disappointed! VERY good! Will make it again and again! Made it just like the recipe except I used the tiny French/Italian (not sure which!) lentils as I didn’t have the kind you called for! Excellent! Thank you so much for an excellent and healthy recipe!

  2. 5 stars
    Ok…firstly thank you. Secondly…Just made this up and served with acorn squash with maple syrup…..uber yummy….definitely on my saved list….again..thanks so much.

  3. 5 stars
    This tasted great and was super easy! Hubby and toddler gobbled it up. I used brown jasmine rice and left out the mushrooms. The only thing I will say for anyone trying this is to check your curry ingredients. Mine had cumin in it, so with the additional cumin, it was a little strong.
    I’m glad I found this site though. I try to make most of my meals plant-based, but sometimes I get frustrated because recipes call for ingredients that you might think every supermarket will have, but they don’t. Hoping to find more simple ones like this here 🙂

    1. Dee – Welcome! I try to keep all my recipes simple with easy-to-find ingredients. I’m so happy you liked the lentils and rice! 😀

  4. Tatjana Roode says:

    Ok.
    I wanna make this!!
    Question: i don’t have bell peppers butI have tomatos and broccoli onion and cream of mushroom soup….
    Sigh.
    Could I put cream of mushroom instead of muushroom would I need to minimize liquid?

    1. Tatjana – Honestly, I don’t really know because I’ve never made it that way. The veggies are fine, but mushrooms do add a little extra liquid and using a canned soup could change things completely. So this would be a big experiment. Also, if you use a canned soup, you might want to change the spices on this in addition to reducing the other liquids. I’ve never used cream of mushroom soup from a can (I’m assuming it’s canned), so I don’t really know it’s effects in cooking something like this. I’m sorry. I wish I could be more help.

  5. Do you think wild rice would work for this recipe?

    1. Kelsey – I haven’t tried it, but it could. I believe wild rice has roughly the same cooking time as brown rice, so in theory, it should work. Please let me know if you try it. I’m curious!

  6. 5 stars
    This was delicious. I made it on the stove top as I don’t have an IP and it was perfect. I used a smidgen over 3 1/2 cups of broth and cooked it for 20 minutes.

  7. Hi, since I don’t have an Instant pot, can this be prepared in a crockpot rather? Thanks!

    1. Shawn – I don’t think it will stand up to the longer cooking time, but you could try it. It might work better on the stove top.

  8. DeborahNicole says:

    4 stars
    Thanks for posting. Good base recipe to adjust to your liking.

    For reference; I have a 10QT Power Pressure XL. I doubled the recipe (6 kids) used 1/4 less water as written, set cook time to 25 minutes, turn pot off (unplug) quick release steam, brown rice fully cooked, lentils were a just a bit more to the tooth than desired, replaced lid with closed valve and let it set for 10 more minutes. Lentils softened up just a tiny bit more. With the rice being a bit on the soft side, nice to have a little bite from the lentils. Good flavor (I used chicken bouillon, no extra salt, just add if needed when eating)

    Next time i will try adding to the pot -1/2 the liquid and everything but the rice. pressure cook for 2 minutes, 5 minute slow release, quick release to add rice + remaining liquid and cook 20 minutes high, quick release and let stand with lid on 5 minutes

  9. 5 stars
    This is a wonderful recipe! I just made it today and it will definitely be in the rotation! Thank you

  10. 5 stars
    I made this with what we had around the house: peas and cauliflower instead of pepper and mushrooms, garam masala instead of curry. Also, my lentils were older (as the author warned against) so I added 4 cups of broth instead of 3.5 and pressure cooked for 27 min instead of 24. Turned out delicious! Mild but satifying!

  11. 5 stars
    This was yummy! And so easy! Best recipe I’ve found on the net in a good while. 🙂

  12. Betty Bennett says:

    Don’t have an instant pot….how do I adapt this recipe?

    1. Betty – The issue is the different cooking times between rice and lentils on the stove top. The rice will overcook long before the lentils are done. Your best bet would be to precook the lentils to al dente, and then combine the dry rice and everything else in a pot and cook to rice package directions. I haven’t tried it myself, but I think that’s the best option here. Let me know how it turns out!

  13. I followed your recipe to the letter and my lentils were mush when it was done, rice was perfect. It taste delicious, even with the mushy lentils. I want to try it again. Any suggestions? Should I have a shorter release time, have a shorter time it is under “High Pressure?”

    1. Rasheeda – It seems that the lentils can present an issue based on whether they are older or newer. Mine were a little on the older side, so they took a bit longer to cook.

  14. 3 stars
    Made a mushy mess for me. I’ve never cooked rice or lentils for 24 minutes. Am I missing some trick? I didn’t rinse the rice until clear, is that the problem?

    1. Julie – It could be a difference in our appliances. My suggestion is to start with half the cooking time and make sure your lentils are not totally new. Older lentils handle a pressure cooker better. Also, be sure you are not using white rice. This recipe is formulated for brown rice.

  15. 2 stars
    Wanted to love this but it’s very bland. Family agreed. We needed to add salt at the end to bring. Out any of the other flavors, which you can’t taste at all really. It smells amazing when cooking—but tastes bland. Sorry! Maybe a sauce drizzled would help?

    1. Chris – So sorry you didn’t care for it! I haven’t had that experience at all. Maybe something was mis-measured or forgotten? I do always add salt after cooking, but not because the flavors are bland. Did you change anything at all?

  16. 4 stars
    I enjoyed this recipe very much. I did add salt at the end. One thing I will say, although my lentils were “old”, they still came out mushy. This texture didn’t bother me but I’m sure others might be put off by it. Over all, I’d make it again.

    1. Stacy – Every appliance will cook a bit differently. Sounds like maybe you need to shorten the cooking time on yours just a bit. Try 5 minutes less to start, and go from there. Glad you enjoyed it!

  17. 4 stars
    I don’t own an instant pot and I was worried about the timing and consistency of cooking it on the stove. I sautéed the vegetables, then added the spices, brown lentils, and veg broth and cooked for 15 minutes. I then added the rice, cooked for another 10 minutes, and removed from heat. I didn’t eat it right away. The consistency was perfect! I may experiment with the seasoning next time and possibly add a little more garlic and possibly some cayenne pepper. Overall though, I was really pleased with how it turned out. I will definitely make this again. Thanks for sharing this easy and healthy recipe.

  18. 5 stars
    I sautéed the spices in ghee for a few minutes like they do in Indian cooking, before adding the lentils and rice, and it bought up the flavors even more!
    My gut feels greatly satisfied after eating this
    : >

  19. I was excited to try this when I saw it on Pinterest. but the fact that you turned the comments off makes it so I’ll go find someone else who has pinned it so I can read comments before trying it. As a creator, why turn off comments if you are advertising recipes on your blog there? makes no sense and is disappointing. the whole reason I go there is to find delicious recipes and to read peoples reviews and comments….