A healthy, vegetarian, gluten free dinner the whole family will love! You won’t miss the meat in this easy to make, One Pot Cheesy Mexican Lentils, Black Beans and Rice!
Is it really already Monday again? I never feel like I have enough time on the weekends during the holiday season to get everything done that I need to. Between shopping, decorating, baking and get togethers it doesn’t leave much time for relaxing or meal planning.
Luckily I have slew of easy recipes, many of which can be made in a single skillet or pot, like this One Pot Cheese Mexican Lentil, Black Beans and Rice. Along with being a one pot meal it’s also vegetarian and perfect for meatless Monday!
I’ll be honest, we don’t follow meatless Monday very often in our house. My husband almost always wants meat with his dinner, unless he’s having a big plate of pasta. Pasta is fine every once in a while, but I don’t eat it often because I usually feel super bloated afterwards.
When I eat meatless I prefer to not just do straight carbs, but rather a mix of protein and carbs. Pulses just happen to be the perfect solution!
Many people have no idea what pulses are and up until a year ago I wasn’t familiar with the term either. Pulses are delicious, protein-packed, sustainable foods known as dry peas, chickpeas, lentils and beans.
They are a great source of protein and fiber as well as being lower in fat than many types of meat. I chose to use lentils and black beans in this one pot meal for a couple reasons.
Both are full of iron. One serving of black beans actually has more iron that a 3 ounce serving of flank steak! Iron is important, especially for women and even more so for female athletes. Not having enough iron in your diet can leave you feeling tired and low on energy.
Along with the nutritional aspects of using pulses in this recipe I also love the flavor and texture they add. Black beans have a nice creaminess to them and paired with the chewy and heartier lentils it makes for a great meat substitute.
When I served this One Pot Cheese Mexican Lentils, Black Beans and Rice to my husband I was skeptical if he would like it. Turns out he loved it! I can’t tell you how glad I am that I now have a few meatless, pulse filled meals that we can both enjoy.
2016 has been declared by the United Nations as the International Year of Pulses (“IYP”). The goal has been to increase awareness of the many benefits of pulses, including their nutritional profile, environmental and sustainability benefits, affordability and potential to address global food security.
I encourage you all to take the Pulse Pledge if you haven’t already. It’s simple! Just commit to eating pulses once a week for 10 weeks. Check back next week for another awesome pulse recipe and learn about how versatile and sustainable they are as well!
One Pot Cheesy Mexican Lentils, Black Beans and Rice
A healthy, vegetarian, gluten free dinner the whole family will love! You won't miss the meat in this easy to make, One Pot Cheesy Mexican Lentils, Black Beans and Rice!
- 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
- 1 clove of garlic, grated or minced
- 1/2 cup uncooked long grain brown rice
- 1/2 cup uncooked green lentils, rinsed (brown or red lentils may also be used)
- 2-3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle powder (optional)
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup fire roasted tomatoes, drained
- 4 ounce can diced green chiles
- 1 small zucchini, shredded
- 1/2 cup frozen corn, defrosted
- 1 cup red enchilada sauce
- 3/4 cup shredded cheese, I used sharp cheddar and part skim mozzarella
- Cilantro for garnish (optional)
- Heat a large pot or saucepan over medium high heat. When the pot is heated spray with cooking oil and add in the onion and garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes then add in the brown rice and lentils.
- Add in the vegetable stock, stir and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 35-45 minutes, or until the lentils and rice are tender. If there's any excess liquid drain it.
- Season the rice and lentils with salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin and chipotle powder. Add in the remaining ingredients except 1/4 cup of the cheese and stir together.
- Heat the mixture until the cheese is melted. Top with the remaining cheese and cover with a lid. Heat on low until the cheese is melted and the mixture is bubbly.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 356Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 1214mgCarbohydrates: 61gFiber: 15gSugar: 12gProtein: 21g
Thanks to USA Pulses & Pulse Canada for sponsoring this post. As always all opinions are my own.
Stephanie Morris says
This looks delicious, but I do not have much time after work for cooking. Could this be done in a crockpot and left for a few hours? Any edits that could make this work? Thanks!
Michelle McElduff says
I made this tonight and the whole family had seconds! I didn’t have zucchini, but wanted another veggie, so added cubed sweet potatoes. What’s funny is hubby and the kids don’t like sweet potato, but didn’t even know it was in there. Haha!! This was delicious and so easy to make. Thank you!!
This recipe sounds great but I’m appalled at how much salt it includes! As I Googled the ingredients it seems like the red enchilada sauce may be the worst culprit. Not finding any low sodium versions online but I did find a few recipes for low sodium red enchilada sauce, but I barely cook. So as delicious as it sounds I think I’ll have to pass unless you have any great ideas to cut the sodium at least in half. Thanks!
Sue Howes says
YUM!!I made this last night. A few tweaks: in the UK I can’t seem to get chipotle powder so bought paste, I omitted courgettes as no-one likes them unless fried to a crisp. For enchillada sauce, I used a large jar of bolognese sauce. It went down very well. There was enough for three portions last night and three for lunch today. Delicious served with tortilla chips. We said it would be good layered with tortillas and cheese, a sort of lasagne.
Jan Myhre says
Where, oh where, has your recipe for One Pot Cheesy Mexican lentils, black beans and Rice gone??? Every link takes me to the reviews and not the actual recipe. It sounds so delicious and I would love to try it.
Hi Jan. I’m sorry you’re having an issue seeing the recipe. An adjustment was just made to hopefully fix the issue. Would you mind looking again and letting me know if you still can see it. Thanks!
Anna P says
I’m having the same issue as Jan. Would love to check it out – it sounds delicious!
Hi Anna, I’m sorry you’re having an issue seeing the recipe. I’ve checked with different browsers and it’s showing up fine on my end. Are you using Chrome? If you’re still having issues getting the recipe please email me and I will send it to you directly.
Fabulous recipe as is or you can use as a base with other additions like colorful chopped bell peppers, jalapeño, salsa or whatever along that vein. I like the hominy suggestion but I had fresh corn from last summer I wanted to use out of my freezer. You can amp up the spices if you want more kick. Really such a versatile recipe! And healthy! Love it! Thanks so much for posting it!
Healthy, delicious and easy to make. Thanks for sharing this recipe!
Happy to hear you liked it Anna!
Elaine Tsai says
Wow, was this delicious and there is enough for leftovers. Easy to make with clear concise directions. I made it exactly as written but with one small change. I added less chili powder and I put a dollop of sour cream on top. Just the right amount of heat for me and my daughter. This is a keeper. Thank you for the recipe.
Thanks for the kind comment Elaine and I’m glad you enjoyed the lentils!
Does this recipe freeze? I’m working on stocking the freezer. Looks terrific and I’ll be making it either way!
Yes you can definitely freeze this one!
I made this yesterday and at the point where you are to drain off excess liquid I placed the whole mixture in a sieve and shook out everything I could but it was still a very gluggy mixture. at the end it definitely looked ‘wetter’ than yours and reheated the next day there is noticeable liquid at the bottom. The taste is good though and good for the budget too, but I had hoped it would come out looking a bit more like yours! I used a mixture of red and brown lentils but forgot to rinse them beforehand – could this have made that much of a difference? I may try again.
Christopher Mullins says
So I finally got around to trying out this recipe… and oh my dear sweet heavens is it GREAT! So easy, so healthy, and so TASTY!
To give it some more “meaty-ness” for the carnivores in the family (I’m the only vegetarian lol), I re-hydrated some TVP (textured vegetable protein) and put it in after the rice and lentils were cooked. It was an absolute hit before I did that, but with the extra TVP in there, we ended up grabbing some gluten-free tortillas and making burritos!
Thank you so much for this recipe. Its definitely a winner and a keeper!
Glad to hear you and the family enjoyed the recipe! Thanks for trying it out!
This is stupid delicious. I want to make it for everyone I know.
So glad you liked it Jessie!
Just made it tonight!
Healthy, delicious and easy to make, thank you!
I couldn’t find all the ingredients here in the UK so I swapped a couple (e.g. a fresh green pepper instead of canned chiles), it worked well :)
Thanks for trying the recipe Marion! Glad to hear you liked it!
I’m a Bariatrics girl. I’m always looking for other options for protein. Thanks for this one. Where can I find other pulse recipes. That are this delicious. Meat doesn’t always agree with my little tummy. I eat it. Just having other recipes would be great. Thank you in advance.
If you type “lentils” in the search bar there are several vegetarian recipes using them that I love. You can also type in “vegetarian” for a whole bunch more!
This was delicious! Took me far longer to make then it should have, but I’m not much of a chef, even for a super-easy recipe like this. I added some red bell pepper to the onions and garlic (cause I like red pepper), but otherwise, followed the recipe exactly. This will become a Meatless Monday staple!
Thanks for trying out the recipe Mark and I’m happy to hear you enjoyed it! Trust me, even with plenty of cooking experience I can’t always get my act together and simple recipes take forever. ;-)
sue della says
Shame no nutritional contents displayed
Hi Sue, the nutritional info has been added.
Is this spicy if you omit the chipotle powder?
If you’re using a mild enchilada sauce and mild green chiles it shouldn’t be spicy.
Maggie Unzueta says
It looks incredibly delicious. I wish this were in front of me.
Oh my goodness! This was delicious. I have a vegetarian daughter and a husband who, like yours, wants meat with every meal. Everyone loved this! I added corn chips (because I need a crunch) and a dollup of sour cream. ????????
This was an awesome dish. Will probably have enough for several days of leftovers haha! How is it you are measuring serving sizes?
Hillary Millsap says
How would the broth amount change if I’m using the precooked lentils from Trader Joes? (And make the rice ahead of time?)
Could I use the same amount of broth for just cooking rice and then add the lentils after?
This was so good and so easy. I didn’t use any enchilada sauce and I didn’t miss it. I added some sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo. I used an instant rice packet – a yellow, spanish rice blend instead of the long grain rice. Since that rice is seasoned I didn’t need to add as much additional seasoning to the dish. The instant rice only takes 10 minutes to quick, so I started with the lentils first and cooked those Until they were almost done. Then I added the rice with about ten minutes left, and instead of frozen corn, I added fresh corn cut off the cob at the end. It worked really well and was super tasty.
I only used about 1/4 cup of cheese and that was perfect for me. I ate some as is, then I ate the leftovers on top of tortilla chips with additional cheese for some quick nachos.
This is easy and forgiving to change it up with different spices that you have on hand, or to use a pre-seasoned rice mix, as long as you pay attention to the cooking time of the lentils and rice.
Big Daddy says
Will definitely strain the rice and beans before adding other ingredients. Mine turned into soup. A extremely delicious soup!
We LOVE this meal. It’s so quick and easy and super delicious. It’s in our meal rotation. I’ve shared it with many others that have loved it as well.
Thanks for sharing, will be making it this week! A few things though:
If the lentils are uncooked, shouldn’t you leave them in a bowl of water over night?
Also, this is very similar to the way we cook rice in my country (Spain. We normally use a ratio of 1 part of rice to 1.5 parts of water, maybe it helps somebody!
Lentils don’t need to be soaked unlike other legumes. They cook in approximately 30 minutes or so and should be tender when the rice is. Thanks for sharing the rice cooking method you use too! :-)
This was phenomenal! So good. I’ve been trying to make more meatless meals and this one made me realize why. Thank you!
I’m happy to hear you liked it Heather!
Great dish!!????thanks Danae
I made this for my brother, who is a vegetarian. It was fantastic, super easy to throw together, and a great thing to make to feed a large family of people. I bought tortillas for everyone to make their own taco out of this and served it with a side of plantains cooked in coconut oil. Thank you for this great dish! It was yummy.
I’m happy to hear you and the family enjoyed it Erin! It does make a great taco filling doesn’t it? :-)
I love this recipe. This is one of those clean-out-the-fridge recipes because I almost always have the ingredients and it’s still delicious. It’s also really adaptable. Thanks!
Just tried this tonight- INCREDIBLE. I couldn’t find enchilada sauce at the grocery store and didn’t want to make any, so I used half a cup of tomatillo sauce instead. I also diced the zucchini, and added diced green peppers. I’ll do the same next time, as this turned out absolutely perfect. Thank you so much for this recipe, I’ll be making it again soon!
Thanks for trying the recipe Kirsten and I’m so happy you liked it!
Laurie Kaye says
Was all set to make my usual humongous pot of Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili, then stumbled on this recipe and happened to have everything on hand, so gave it a try instead, optimistically doubling it for plenty of leftovers. Added chopped tomatillos and extra spices including ground coriander (cilantro), spicier canned diced tomatoes for added heat, and less (half) cheese…outcome was really a nice surprise – delicious! Thanks for the recipe!
Thanks for trying it out Laurie and I’m glad you liked it!
Laurie-Anne Ranger says
We really enjoyed this vegetarian meal. I doubled the black beans and omitted the corn. I used half salsa and half taco sauce that I blended together instead of the red enchilada sauce. I will make again.
Thanks for the nice dinner recipe. Those lentils and black-beans are looking so good. I love spicy recipes. Can’t wait to try it :)
This looks very interesting, but where I live I won’t find all ingredients in cans or under the same name. The chili powder I have is about as hot as ground chipotles, so 1 (US) teaspoon would probably make this dish hotter than you intended (and my wife will support). Could I use ground red bell peppers (paprika) instead? Idem for the green chiles; should those be green jalapeños or similar, or green bell pepers?
As a general guideline, is native (New) Mexican cuisine about as hot and spicy as Szechuan or South-East Asian cuisine (which is the impression I get from recipes and the few ingredients I do manage to get locally)?
If your chili powder is similar to chipotles, I would probably start with a 1/4 teaspoon and if you want it spicier add more. Paprika won’t really add any heat unless it’s Hungarian hot paprika, but a combination of the chili powder you have and paprika might be good. If you don’t have green chiles available I would again maybe use a combination of jalapeños and green bell pepper. Unless you are using canned jalapeños it’s hard to say how spicy the fresh ones will be until you taste it and I would hate for you to find yourself with a bunch of spicy ones and have the dish be too hot. New Mexican cuisine can be spicy depending on how hot the chiles are. They vary from mild to hot. I wouldn’t say this dish as I made it is particularly spicy, maybe a 3 or 4 on a scale of 1-10. If heat is a concern I would recommend the substitutions I suggested above. Hope it works out for you!
When do you add the black beans?
Hello! This recipe looks delicious! I’m more so a green enchilada sauce fan, do you think sub-ing the red sauce for the green would totally throw off the flavor profile?
Thanks in advance!
Green enchilada sauce would definitely work. I’m usually more partial to green enchilada sauce as well. Enjoy!
Looks great. I was looking for more meatless but still high protein ideas. Just pinned it to try later. thanks,Anna
Thanks Anna, enjoy!
Brittany - The Anchored Kitchen says
This looks awesome. I had no idea lentils etc were referred to as pulses. Good to know. I agree with Meatless Mondays, it’s hard to get my husband on board. Can’t wait to try this one out. I would never have thought of using the lentils in there. Great idea!
Thanks Brittany! I love having the lentils in there for some added protein and iron.
Perfect recipe. It tasted very good, not very dificult to make. I didn’t have enchilada souce so just used canned tomatos with spices. Worked pretty good. I’m not vegeterian but make few days per week meat free. This dish is perfect replacement.
Thanks for trying out the recipe Ligita and I’m glad you liked it!
I am a veggie and was looking for protein rich veggie recipe. Thanks for sharing.
Made this tonight. We loved it! Nice to have some more easy vegetarian options. I love lentils but don’t have enough ideas of what to do with them. Thanks for a great recipe!
I’m wondering how it would turn out to substitute quinoa in instead of rice for a few less carbs and more protein?Anyone try that?
Havent tried it yet, but am planning on subbing quinoa. My thought was to cook it seperately, then add it, already cooked, during step 9 with remaining ingredients. Im concerned the quinoa could be mushy if it sits to cook for 40min with the lentils – this is my solution. We’ll see!
You’ve got the right idea Dianna. I would definitely cook the quinoa separately, 40 minutes is a bit too long for quinoa to be cooking.
I’m feeling the same way with the french lentil…In my experience they only take 12 minutes to cook! I made them often at least twice a week! So Im scare that it will get muchy if I cook it with the rice! So should I cook it seperatly ??
If you’re concerned about the cooking time feel free to substitute brown or red lentils.
We just started Meatless Mondays and this was a hit! I do think, however, that everything could simmer together rather than mixing the other half of the ingredients in the end (besides the cheese.) Which leads me to this question- have you tried this in a slow cooker or an Instant Pot?
Happy to hear the Mexican lentils were a hit! I haven’t tried making this in my slow cooker (still need to get myself an IP), but if you try it I’d love to hear how it turns out.
Enjoli Adams says
I made it lastnight. It was very good. Great source of protein and that’s what my vegetarian diet was lacking. Thanks. I did season way more than directed. I’m impressed
Lentils are a great source of protein, glad you enjoyed the recipe!
I hope you see this comment- just saw this recipe on Buzzfeed! Do you think it would keep in the fudge for a few days as a meal-prep option? :)
Yes, you can definitely make this a few days in advance. I had leftovers for a couple days and they were great!
Deepa Khetan says
I dotn have enchilada sauce. Any substitue? or can we make it at home?
You could try using salsa instead of enchilada sauce. It should work, although I haven’t tried it this way. Homemade is always good to if you have the time, there are lots of great recipes out there. I currently don’t have one posted on the blog.
We didn’t have enchilada sauce. I made the easiest sauce ever. 1 3/4 cups hot water, an envelope of Taco flavouring and one can of tomato paste (the small one). Mix with a whisk. I only used a cup for this recipe so I’m freezing the rest to make this recipe again.
Question – How is the zucchini shredded? Use a cheese grater?
Hi Jeff, a cheese grater is what I used to shred the zucchini.
We had this for dinner tonight and it was so good! Thanks!
Glad to hear you and your family enjoyed it Ashley!
Diana Fitts says
I made this recently and absolutely love it! Not only is it delicious, it’s easily customizable and I had fun throwing in other vegetables and beans.
I’m so glad you liked it Diana, thank you for trying it out!
Do you have full nutritional info for this recipe? It looks fabulous and I want to try it! Thanks so much!
Based on 5 servings there are approximately 318 calories, 5.7 grams of fat, 51 carbs, 11 grams of fiber and 17 grams of protein.
Can’t wait to make at home! I do have one question. is the sodium really 1,274mg?
Sodium can greatly vary in recipes depending on the brand of products you are using. If sodium is something you are concerned about I recommend calculating it based on the products you are using.
It has become one of my favourite meals, as it is so tasty and substantial, healthy too. The best ever comment I had was from my daughter who cooks healthy nutritional meals for herself and her husband was. ‘Mum could you give me that recipe’..so thank you.
Made this tonight and served with chips to eat like a mexican dip. The whole family liked it! We will definitely make this agan.
Thanks for trying the recipe Sarah and I’m glad you and your family enjoyed it! Serving with chips is always a good idea when Mexican food is involved. ;-)
Is this meal freezer friendly
Yes, you can definitely freeze any leftovers.
Looks so delicious. It is so cold, and this would be perfect to come home to. Thank you!
Misty Mathews says
This looks delicious! I’m just curious if you knew what the fiber content is for nutrition info?
There is approximately 10.5 grams of fiber in each serving (based on 5 servings). Enjoy!
Great meatless Mon. Dish. I made half a recipe and only had a little left. DH said 3-4 times last night how good it was. Definitely a make again meal. Your picture looks like it has corn but not in the ingredient list.
Hi! I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the Mexican lentils! There is corn in the recipe, thanks so much for catching that for me. I’ve fixed the recipe and it’s now listed in the ingredients.
This looks so good for an easy tasty comfort dinner. Love Mexican :) Can’t wait to try this!
Jessica @ A Kitchen Addiction says
I love meatless meals like this! I need more options like this for this crazy time of year!
Taylor Kiser says
Love this one pot dinner idea! It’s perfect for Meatless Monday or any night I’m needing a quick option for dinner. Looks so delicious!
Julianne @ Beyond Frosting says
I love this healthier option to enjoy Mexican food!
Rachel @ Baked by Rachel says
I wish I could dive in immediately!
Elizabeth B. says
This was delicious!!!! I had my husband make it and it came out exactly the way it looks in the picture! Plenty of leftover for lunch for tomorrow :)
I’m so glad you guys enjoyed it Elizabeth! Thanks for trying it out.
Cindy H says
Only 1/2 cup of the tomatoes?
Can I make this the day before and reheat?
Yes! It makes great leftovers.