This Southwest Lentil and Brown Rice Casserole is a cozy, hearty, vegetarian dinner that’s perfect for a cold night! Easy to make and great for meal prep.
Thanks to my friends at Pacific Foods for sponsoring this post. As always all opinions are my own.
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I can’t believe it’s December, I know it’s going to fly by. Before everything gets too crazy with recipes for Christmas cookies, brunch casseroles and more ham recipes than you’ll ever need, I wanted to share the recipe for this Southwest Lentil and Brown Rice Casserole.
After all the rich Thanksgiving food and leftovers we had over the last few days, I thought this vegetarian protein and fiber filled dinner would do us all some good. Time to get the body back in check before we eat no less than 100 Christmas cookies.
Aside from how delicious this casserole tastes, the next best thing is how easy it is to make. Except for sautéing onions and garlic, everything else goes into the casserole dish uncooked. Minimal effort on your end with maximum flavor results.
What Do I Need to Make the Casserole?
- Yellow onion
- Green chiles or poblano peppers
- Brown or green lentils
- Brown rice (long grain or basmati)
- Fire roasted tomatoes
- Chili powder, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika
- Red enchilada sauce
- Pacific Foods Organic Low Sodium Vegetable Broth
- Colby Jack, Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
- Avocado, tomatoes and cilantro for toppings (optional)
You probably noticed there’s no meat in this casserole and honestly, I need a little break from it after all the turkey. Even without the meat there’s still plenty of protein. A half cup of cooked lentils has 12 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. Combine that with a little more protein and fiber from the brown rice and you have yourself a hearty meatless meal.
For this recipe I used Pacific Foods Organic Low Sodium Vegetable Broth. I love Pacific’s broths because they actually have flavor unlike other brands and I appreciate the simple, real, organic ingredients that are used to make them. No fillers, gums, yeasts, GMOs or MSG. It’s basically what you would use if you were making your own homemade broth.
I used it in this Baked Pumpkin Goat Cheese Risotto that I made last month and it was delicious. If you aren’t tired of pumpkin, I highly recommend adding it as a side dish to your Christmas dinner menu.
Can I Make the Casserole Vegan?
Absolutely! The only change you will make to the recipe will be to omit the cheese on top. If you’d like feel free to add your favorite shredded vegan cheese instead.
Is This Casserole Spicy?
I often get questions about how spicy my Southwest and Mexican recipes are. It can be a difficult question to answer because the amount of spice we can tolerate is different for everybody. Personally I like my food on the spicy, but not so spicy that I can’t taste any of the other ingredients or flavors.
If you like spicy I recommend using a medium heat red enchilada sauce and mild or hot green chiles. You can also add spice or remove spice by using a hot or mild chili powder. If you want the casserole to have mild heat, use mild enchilada sauce and either mild green chiles or a bell pepper.
If you do meal prepping for the week this casserole will easily make enough to last you the entire week, or you can freeze it for a later date. Before serving, top the Lentil and Brown Rice Casserole with diced tomatoes, avocado and cilantro. A squeeze of fresh lime juice is also a nice finishing touch.
Southwest Lentil and Brown Rice Casserole
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 3/4 cup diced onion
- 3 cloves of garlic, grated or minced
- 4 ounces canned diced green chiles or 3 roasted and diced poblano peppers
- 3/4 cup dry brown or green lentils
- 3/4 cup uncooked long grain brown rice
- 1 1/2 cups red enchilada sauce
- 2 1/2 cups Pacific Foods Organic Low Sodium Vegetable Broth
- 14.5 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes, undrained
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste (I used approximately 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt)
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar or Colby Jack cheese
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray the bottom of a 9x13 ceramic or glass baking dish with cooking spray.
- Sauté the onion and poblanos (if not using poblanos just the onion) in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes in a medium sized skillet. When the onions are soft stir in the garlic and sauté another 30 seconds. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
- Add in the remaining ingredients, except the cheese, and stir together until well combined. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 100-110 minutes, stirring everything once during the baking time.
- Remove the foil and sprinkle on the cheese. Bake another 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Remove the casserole from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.
- Garnish with chopped tomatoes, avocado and cilantro.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 271Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 818mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 7gSugar: 9gProtein: 14g
We made this for the first time tonight and really enjoyed it as we’re trying to eat more meatless meals. I added frozen corn and black beans and my 10 year old even asked for seconds!
Hi Charlotte! Thanks for trying the casserole and I’m happy to hear it was a hit with the whole family!
Kat Carpeaux says
Can you make this without cheese?
I was extremely worried about an hour into cooking this because there was still sooo much liquid! So I uncovered it at that point. I used Daiya Cheddar shreds to make this recipe vegan. It’s delicious, what can I say? I also added one adobo pepper in sauce. I used canned green chilies. It’s a little spicy and very hearty and exactly what I was hoping for! I think to make it even more delicious, next time I might add just a bit of veggie ground round so it has that meaty texture. Though the lentils and brown rice are a nice change, not things I normally cook with. Thanks!
Glad to hear you enjoyed the casserole Tara and thanks for trying the recipe!
Linda McCracken says
I made this last night and it was delicious! My husband asked if there was any meat in it! Since I didn’t have any poblanos or other fresh peppers, I added a few drops of habanero sauce to warm it up. It worked like a charm. I also didn’t have cheddar, so I substituted mixed jarlsberg and toscano cheese, and it tasted just fine. I have to say, though, that with the cheese, the dish ends up having plenty of sodium, so I didn’t add any salt to taste, and it was perfect. I don’t think this dish needs any added salt. I have a history of hypertension, so try to eat a max of around 1500 mg sodium daily. I have been successful controlling my high blood pressure only through diet, exercise and low sodium. Keep these recipes coming, and I hope to get inspired to return to jogging soon.
Hi Linda, I’m so happy to hear that you and your husband enjoyed the casserole! Thanks for trying it out.