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Lentil and Rice Casserole

Lentils and Rice Casserole in white bowl and garnished with sour cream, sliced cherry tomatoes and minced parsley

Lentil and Rice Casse­role is a hearty, deli­cious and sat­is­fy­ing meat-free cen­ter­piece for any fam­i­ly meal. It’s sim­ple to pre­pare, gluten free and has only 7 ingre­di­ents. Five min­utes of prep work will have your casse­role ready for the oven.

Lentils and Rice is one of my favorite mon­ey-sav­ing fam­i­ly meals. It’s not only afford­able, it’s packed with pro­tein and nutri­ents, too. I’ve been mak­ing it for my own fam­i­ly for more than 30 years.

I have tweaked the recipe sev­er­al times, over the years, and this ver­sion is my favorite for fla­vor, tex­ture and hearty, inex­pen­sive nutrition.

Economical and Nutritious

Ingre­di­ents for this recipe cost around $6.18 per recipe/batch when I buy in bulk. It’s a great way to save mon­ey and stock up on pantry sta­ples. (If you must sub in plain green or brown lentils, the cost is reduced to $5.34. But, I am cal­cu­lat­ing with French Green Lentils, because I believe they are supe­ri­or for fla­vor and for tex­ture, in this recipe. )

So, using French Green Lentils and qual­i­ty chick­en bone broth, that means the cost per batch/recipe is only about $.77 per serv­ing (for 8 serv­ings) and $1.03 per serv­ing (for 6 serv­ings). How many serv­ings will depend on the appetites you’re feed­ing. 🙂 For a pow­er­house of nutri­tion like Lentils and Rice Casse­role that is a crazy eco­nom­i­cal main dish! Add a green sal­ad or steamed broc­coli for around $.25 per serv­ing and you’ll have a full, healthy meal for a frac­tion of the cost of takeout. 

The Ingredients

French Green Lentils *[affil­i­ate link]: (cost is $1.30/per recipe) [If you have to sub­sti­tute plain brown or green lentils it will be only $.45, but the tex­ture will be extreme­ly dif­fer­ent. Red lentils are absolute­ly not suit­ed to the long cook­ing times of this dish.] After using French Green Lentils for a few years, now, they are my go-to, espe­cial­ly in this casse­role recipe. 

Brown Rice: (cost $.28/per recipe) I use long grain brown rice that I pur­chase at our local Wal­mart gro­cery. (White rice is not suit­able for the long cook­ing time of this recipe.)

Red Onion: You only need one small one or half a large one. (cost $.39/per recipe)

Sea­son­ings: Choose Spike Sea­son­ing ($.27/per recipe) OR choose Ital­ian Sea­son­ing ($.30 per recipe) PLUS Home­made All Pur­pose Sea­son­ing ($.17/per recipe). You’ll also add salt for a frac­tion of a penny.($.0033/ per recipe).

My favorite in Lentil and Rice Casse­role is Spike Sea­son­ing. It’s a com­bi­na­tion of more than 40 dif­fer­ent herbs and dehy­drat­ed veg­eta­bles and adds extra­or­di­nary fla­vor to this dish. It’s not always sim­ple to find local­ly, how­ev­er. So, I have to order it online. I get it through Wal­mart or Ama­zon and both usu­al­ly get it to me with­in 2 days.

If you don’t want to order Spike, com­bin­ing my home­made all pur­pose sea­son­ing with Ital­ian sea­son­ing is a good alter­na­tive in this dish. The fla­vor will not be quite as com­plex, but it will still be delicious.

Chick­en Bone Broth: ($2.82) I use Sam’s brand and I pur­chase it at our local Wal­mart gro­cery store. If you have a pre­ferred brand def­i­nite­ly use that.

Sharp Ched­dar Cheese: ($.92) Def­i­nite­ly buy cheese in block form and grate it your­self. Melt-abil­i­ty is very impor­tant in this dish. Pre-grat­ed cheese sim­ply does not melt as well because of the anti-clump­ing ingre­di­ents added to it.

What Are French Green Lentils?

Lentils come in brown, green and red vari­eties. But there is one lentil in the green vari­ety that is very dif­fer­ent from those we com­mon­ly see on store shelves. 

French Green Lentils are much small­er than oth­er vari­eties. They have a nut­ty, earthy and pep­pery fla­vor and a tex­ture that is hearty and meaty. This vari­ety of green lentils holds its shape bet­ter, even in long-cook­ing recipes.

Lentil and Rice Casserole Dry Ingredients in a Baking Dish

The French type of green lentils are much dark­er in col­or than the plain vari­ety com­mon­ly found in local U.S. gro­cery stores. French green lentils are very low in sat­u­rat­ed fat, cho­les­terol, and sodi­um. Plus they’re loaded with nutri­ents like man­ganese, thi­amine, iron, phos­pho­rus, folate and dietary fiber. French Green Lentils are very high in pro­tein (36%). When mixed with brown rice, the com­bi­na­tion cre­ates a com­plete pro­tein. When plants com­bine to cre­ate a com­plete pro­tein, you get all the ben­e­fits of eat­ing meat with­out the sat­u­rat­ed fats.

Most French Green Lentils are grown in Cana­da, the U.S., France or Italy. But if your French Green Lentils are labeled as Puy Lentils, they are even more spe­cial. Puy Lentils are only grown in the moun­tain­ous vol­canic soil of the Puy region of cen­tral France. The soil gives Puy lentils an even deep­er earthy and pep­pery taste. 

In larg­er towns and cities, it may be easy for you to find French Green lentils at your local mar­ket. They are not avail­able in our small town. Typ­i­cal­ly, I *pur­chase French Green Lentils on Ama­zon [affil­i­ate link]. They can also be added to my Wal­mart pick-up order and shipped to me in 2 days, and if you have a Whole Foods near you, you may also find them in-store there. 

Why BROWN Rice?

Lentils and Rice Casserole in round baking dish

As men­tioned pre­vi­ous­ly, brown rice in com­bi­na­tion with lentils cre­ates a com­plete pro­tein with­out the addi­tion of meat in your meal. That healthy com­bi­na­tion makes Lentil and Rice Casse­role an easy choice when I’m choos­ing easy and eco­nom­i­cal recipes for the week’s menu. But, there are oth­er rea­sons for using brown rice over white, too.

White and brown rice are exact­ly the same grain. The dif­fer­ence is in the way they are processed. 

Brown rice is a whole grain and a source of Cal­ci­um, Iron, Man­ganese, Mag­ne­sium, Phos­pho­rus, Sele­ni­um, Vit­a­min B1 and Vit­a­min B6. It con­tains fibrous bran, the nutri­tious germ, as well as the car­bo­hy­drate rich endosperm. 

Brown rice has more fiber and antiox­i­dants than white. It’s high in mag­ne­sium and that along with the fiber is help­ful in con­trol­ling blood sug­ar levels.

White rice is the same grain as brown, but has the fiber-rich bran and nutri­ent-filled germ removed. This allows for a quick­er cook­ing time, lighter col­or and soft­er tex­ture. How­ev­er, many of the health ben­e­fits of rice are com­plete­ly gone. White rice has also been shown to quick­ly ele­vate blood sug­ar. You will need to add many more veg­eta­bles and fiber rich foods to help bal­ance meals uti­liz­ing white rice.

How to Make Lentil and Rice Casserole

The beau­ty of this recipe is the sim­ple prep that leaves you free to accom­plish oth­er tasks while it cooks in the oven. Five min­utes of prep will net you a hearty, fla­vor­ful and nutri­tious supper.

Pre­heat your oven to 300°.

Mix all the ingre­di­ents except the cheese in a 3 quart bak­ing dish that has an oven-proof lid.

Adding chicken stock to lentils and rice

Cov­er the dish and place in the oven to bake for 2 hours.

Remove the lid, sprin­kle with fresh­ly grat­ed cheese and place back in the oven for 5 min­utes to melt the cheese.

If desired, serve gar­nished with chopped pars­ley, sour cream and chopped fresh tomatoes.

The Recipe

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Lentils and Rice Casserole in round baking dish

Lentils and Rice Casserole


  • Author: Glen­da Embree

Description

Lentils and Rice Casse­role is an inex­pen­sive, meat­less meal that is a pow­er­house of pro­tein and oth­er nutri­ents.  5 min­utes of prep time and your oven does all the rest.

We serve it with sour cream and chopped toma­toes as top­pings, but it is deli­cious plain, too.   Mix up your fam­i­ly’s favorite top­pings or gar­nish and cus­tomize your own.

Lentils and Rice Casse­role also makes an excel­lent bur­ri­to filling.

Serve this with steamed broc­coli or creamy coleslaw and a won­der­ful, warm piece of crusty bread and it is a sat­is­fy­ing, com­fort food meal. Yum!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 ¼ cups French Green Lentils (Can sub­sti­tute brown or green lentils, but tex­ture will be dif­fer­ent. Red lentils are not suit­able for this recipe.)
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 1 Table­spoon Spike Sea­son­ing (or 1 Table­spoon Home­made All Pur­pose Sea­son­ing + 1 Table­spoon Ital­ian Seasoning)
  • 1 tea­spoon salt
  • 4 cups chick­en stock or bone broth
  • 1 cup sharp ched­dar cheese, grated
  • sour cream, optional
  • quar­tered cher­ry toma­toes, optional

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingre­di­ents, except the cheese, in a 3 qt. bak­ing dish that has an oven proof lid.  If your dish doesn’t have a lid, you will need foil to seal it tight­ly, when baking.
  2. Stir to mix and allow sea­son­ings to dis­trib­ute through the broth.
  3. Put the lid (or foil tight­ly sealed) on the bak­ing dish.
  4. Bake in 300° oven for 2 hours or until lentils and rice are ten­der and chick­en stock is ful­ly absorbed.
  5. Uncov­er and sprin­kle with ched­dar cheese.  Place back in the oven for 5 min­utes to allow cheese to melt.
  6. Remove from oven and serve.

Notes

We serve this with sour cream and chopped toma­toes as top­pings, but it is deli­cious plain, too.  It also makes an excel­lent bur­ri­to fill­ing. Serve this with steamed broc­coli or creamy coleslaw and a won­der­ful, warm piece of crusty bread and it is a sat­is­fy­ing, com­fort food meal. Yum!

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6 thoughts on “Lentil and Rice Casserole”

  1. This tast­ed so amaz­ing! Thanks a lot for shar­ing this super easy to make lentil and rice casse­role recipe! Fam real­ly loves it! Will sure­ly have this again! High­ly recommended!

    Reply
    • Allyssa, thank you! I could­n’t be more pleased. I hope the recipe serves you and your fam­i­ly long into the fututre.

      Reply

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