I like to do most of my cooking on the weekend so I can put meals together during the week without too much effort. This recipe is perfect for that since it really cooks itself and I can be preparing other things while it simmers away filling the house with it’s delicious aroma. Another plus is that it’s one of the most versatile recipes I have. With a change in seasoning and vegetables it can become a whole different dish. It’s also budget friendly because what’s more economical than lentils and rice? By combining legumes and grains you get a complete protein so this can be a main dish or as a side dish with another protein if you prefer.
- 1 cup uncooked brown long grain rice
- 1 cup dried lentils (see notes)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) low sodium diced tomatoes
- 5 ounces fresh spinach, chopped or frozen, but thaw and drain first
- 5 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp sea salt or to taste
- 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper or to taste
- 1 package (8 ounces) non dairy cheese (optional)
- Place the rice and lentils in a large bowl, cover with water and soak overnight or at least 6 hours.
- Drain and place in the slow cooker along with the rest of the ingredients except the cheese if using.
- Cover and cook on high 5-6 hours or low 8 hours depending on your specific slow cooker. It’s done when the rice is tender and most of the liquid has been cooked down.
- If using the cheese add it individually to each serving.
Makes 8 cups.
Serving size 1 cup.
Nutrients per serving (without cheese): Calories: 180, Cal. from Fat: 6, Total Fat: 1g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Carbs: 38g, Fiber: 4g, Sugars: 4.5g, Protein: 9.5g, Sodium: 343mg, Chol: 0mg
It’s best to use a firmer variety of lentil like black, french green or brown. They hold their shape better without becoming mushy.
To change the flavor of this dish substitute the oregano and basil for cumin and chili powder and add some frozen corn (thaw and drain first). To make an Indian inspired dish substitute the oregano and basil for curry powder, cumin and garam masala and add carrots and cauliflower.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You may want to add a little broth when warming up.
When I cook brown lentils on the stove it takes only about 15-20 minutes. I’m concerned 5-6 hours in the crock pot will make them complete mush. Is the cooking time dependent on how much liquid is used?