As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Want to make rice and lentils into something truly special? Here’s how to do it in style. This is one of those easy, flexible, yet totally memorable recipes that you’ll return to again and again.
Why we love this recipe
Simple, savory meals don’t get better than this. This recipe is:
- Healthy, hearty, and savory: It hits all the right notes to keep you happy
- Flexible: Serve it warm or cold, and toss in whatever veggies and herbs you’ve got on hand
- Make-ahead friendly: Make it in advance, and serve it all week
- Vegan if you like — just omit the butter
Having a bowl of lentils and rice in the fridge makes me feel like the week is under control (give or take!). It’s equally at home at the family dinner table, in a packed lunch, and on a buffet.
What you’ll need
Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe.
- Basmati brown rice is just as easy to cook as any other brown rice, but it’s aromatic and flavorful in a borderline magical way.
- Puy lentils are special, too. They’re creamy while holding their shape and have a delicate, complex, earthy flavor. They’re sometimes called French lentils.
- I’m a huge fan of shallots, but you can substitute half a small red onion if that’s what you’ve got.
- Don’t be shy with the veggies. Tomatoes (and red bell pepper) are wonderful, but feel free to substitute or add any diced raw veggies or cooked ones that you like. Broccoli, green beans, asparagus, snap peas, and cucumber spring to mind immediately.
- Same goes for the herbs. Try scallions, chervil, chives, cilantro, or sorrel.
How to make it
The keys to making this recipe next level are: (1) cooking each ingredient to perfection and (2) tossing it all with a savory vinaigrette while still warm, so the dressing infuses every bite. You can see all the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post.
- You’ll simmer the rice with a bit of soy sauce and butter to make it extra-fabulous. (Omit the butter to make this recipe vegan, no biggie.)
- The lentils get cooked with herbes de Provence for the easiest trick in the book.
- While the two pots simmer, you’ll mix up the super-simple dressing in a big serving bowl and chop the vegetables.
- Toss it all together gently whilst warm. That’s it!
Expert tips and FAQs
Lentils are a dream come true. They’re quick and easy to cook from dried (no soaking needed), and there are so many great varieties that you could practically live off of lentils alone as a source of protein and complex carbs.
Puy lentils, sometimes called French lentils or lentilles du Puy, are one of my favorite varieties, especially for salads and dishes like this one. They hold their shape brilliantly when cooked and offer a perfect mix of creamy, tender insides and well-behaved outsides.
Here’s what they look like.
Sure can. It’s flexible, but I’d say make it up to 24 hours in advance and consider stirring in any tender veggies and herbs right before serving. You can store leftovers tightly sealed in the fridge for up to a week.
How to serve it
This is one of those super-flexible recipes where it might be quicker to list the ways you shouldn’t serve it. This dish makes a great:
- Dinner or its own, or paired with a simple green salad
- Week of not-sad desk lunches or school lunches
- Side dish for pork, beef, or chicken
- Picnic, buffet, or potluck contribution
More dreamy brown rice recipes
Here are two more of my absolute favorites:
- 1 cup brown basmati rice
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
- 1 tablespoon butter (optional)
- 3/4 cup French green lentils (lentilles du Puy), rinsed and picked over for stones
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 red bell pepper, diced (optional)
- 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
- To cook the rice, combine it in a medium pot with 2 cups water, 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, and the butter.
- Bring to a boil, then cover, lower the heat so that you see just a bit of steam escaping, and cook for 40 minutes (or according to the time on the package) without lifting the lid.
- Meanwhile, to cook the lentils, place them in a smallish pot with the bay leaf, Herbes de Provence, and the salt. Cover with about two inches of water, bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes, or until tender.
- Drain the lentils and remove the bay leaf.
- While the rice and lentils cook, whisk together the olive oil, the vinegar, the remaining tablespoon of soy sauce, and a few generous twists of black pepper in a large bowl.
- Add the cooked rice and lentils, shallot, tomatoes, bell pepper, and parsley to the bowl and stir gently to let the dressing infuse it all with savory goodness.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
- You can get creative with the vegetables and herbs if you like. Swap in red onion for the shallot, add any diced raw or cooked vegetables that you like, and go nuts with chives, cilantro, or other soft herbs. You won't need to change anything else.
- This recipe is equally great served warm, at room temperature, or even straight out of the fridge.
- You can make this dish in advance if you like. Consider tossing in the herbs and any delicate veggies right before serving.
- Store leftovers tightly sealed in the fridge for up to a week.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 343Total Fat: 9.9gCarbohydrates: 52.7gFiber: 5.7gProtein: 12.2g