Southwestern Lentil and Brown Rice Bake is cheesy, delicious meatless comfort food even a carnivore will love and is super easy to prepare! Simply combine everything in a baking dish, pop it in the oven and let it bake away while you do other things.
The inspiration behind this dish:
Oh, the lentil joy! It seems like forever that my hubby and I have been making this dish! My husband and I began making this casserole back in my vegetarian days. We’ll just say those days were a long time ago so as not to date me.
The recipe we originally followed is “Lively Lentil Bake” from Hot, Spicy and Meatless, Over 150 Delicious, Fiery and Healthful Recipes by Dave DeWitt, et. al., the folks behind Chile Pepper Magazine. This collection of spicy vegetarian fare was published in 1994 and we’ve used that cookbook a lot.
This Southwestern Lentil and Brown Rice Bake is one of our favorites when we’re both busy and don’t have a lot of time to prep and cook. Quite often, we already have the ingredients on hand in the pantry.
The only fresh things you need is an onion, green bell pepper and cilantro for garnish if you like. It’s very easy to make minor substitutions as this is a versatile and forgiving recipe.
How to inspect lentils for debris:
One thing you always want to do when working with lentils is to look them over well for stones, twigs and odd-looking shriveled ones because those can be stone-like.
What I do is:
- Place a small amount–about 1/4 cup–on a plain white paper plate. A white surface makes debris easier to find.
- Look them over for any odd things and discard.
- Then, gently fold the plate to guide them into your pot or into a bowl.
- Repeat with the remaining lentils.
How to make Southwestern Lentil and Brown Rice Bake:
My recipe is significantly different from the original in the cookbook, however, the procedure remains the same:
- Combine all the ingredients in the baking dish!
- Cover and let it bake away while you do other things! About all you make dirty in the process is your knife and a measuring cup.
- Stir once during the baking process.
- Add cheese near the end and top with cheese at the end.
Southwestern Lentil and Brown Rice Bake for the win! Little to no effort and you have a cheesy, vegetarian dish even a carnivore would love!
For more great vegetarian casseroles, be sure to try my:
- Southwestern Squash, Corn and Poblano Casserole
- Italian Summer Vegetable Casserole
- Brown Rice Cheddar Kale Casserole
- Healthier Turkish Eggplant Casserole (Imam Bayildi)
- Layered Zucchini Corn Casserole
- Grains and Greens Casserole
- Brown Rice and Summer Vegetable Casserole with Feta and Black Olives
- Southwestern Summer Squash Casserole
- Late Summer Vegetable Tian
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- 1/2 large (or 1 medium) onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3/4 cup brown lentils
- 3/4 cup long-grain brown rice
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 can (15-ounce) petite diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 can (4-ounce) diced green chilies
- 1 tablespoon taco or other Southwestern seasoning blend
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 cups shredded cheese (Monterey Jack, Pepperjack or white Cheddar), divided
- Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Combine all ingredients, except the cheese, in a deep 2-3 quart glass or ceramic baking dish and mix well. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 1 1/2 hours, stirring once while the mixture is baking.
- Remove the foil, stir in half the cheese and place the remaining cheese over the top.
- Return to oven (uncovered) and bake until cheese has melted, approximately 20 minutes.
- Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving.
- Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.
Amount Per Serving Calories 239Total Fat 13gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 38mgSodium 1047mgCarbohydrates 18gFiber 4gSugar 3gProtein 13g