This Instant Pot recipe for cheesy southwestern lentils & rice is a quick vegetarian weeknight dinner that’s perfect for Meatless Monday!
Want to make just lentils in the instant pot? Be sure to check out my recipe for Instant Pot Lentils too!
I recently discovered one of my favorite recipes ever! I was browsing around my friend Carol’s drool-worthy blog, From a Chef’s Kitchen, and discovered this recipe for her Southwestern Lentil and Brown Rice Bake.
I became instantly obsessed.
I made it once a week, every week for an entire month… I loved that it was so easy to assemble and virtually hands off as it baked away. Leaving me with about an hour to hop on the treadmill as it bubbled away in the oven.
I love it on its own, but Rick prefers to stuff the mixture into some warmed tortillas and eat it like a taco. I’ve gotta say, a dollop of sour cream on top pretty much takes it over the edge that it’s already toeing at!
Then, I tied my two obsessions together. This Southwestern Lentil and Brown Rice Bake recipe and my new Instant Pot. I figured that as great as it is that I can hop on the treadmill while dinner bakes away, sometimes I’m just feeling lazy, and I want to eat… quick!
By using the Instant Pot, you shave about an hour off the cooking time… So, unfortunately, there’s not enough time to hop on the treadmill…
But, there’s plenty of time to enjoy a glass of wine!
This recipe is quite similar to Carol’s recipe, with just a few tweaks here and there.
With the Instant Pot, there’s no evaporation, so you don’t need quite as much liquid. Also, I swapped out the green peppers for red peppers, omitted the thyme and added oregano instead, and sprinkled on some fresh cilantro at the end. As you can see, Carol gets all the credit, I just adapted her recipe to work for me in the Instant Pot.
🛒 Ingredients needed
- Lentils – I used brown lentils, but green lentils or red lentils would also work.
- Brown Rice
- Onion – I used a red onion, but you could also use yellow onions.
- Red Bell Pepper
- Vegetable Broth – Or, swap in some of this instant pot bone broth.
- Canned Tomatoes
- Canned Green Chiles
- Taco Seasoning
- Oregano, Salt + Pepper
- Cheese – I love using a blend of mozzarella and sharp cheddar, but you can use any cheese that you have on hand!
- Fresh Cilantro – To garnish. You can also use parsley.
🛒 How to make it
- This recipe is super simple! Just add all the ingredients (except the cheese and cilantro) to your Instant Pot.
- Place the lid on the pot and set the valve to the sealing position.
- Cook on manual HIGH pressure for 15 minutes.
- Allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes then release remaining any pressure by turning the valve to vent.
- Remove the lid and stir in half of the cheese. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and replace the cover.
- Allow to stand for 5 minutes to allow the cheese to melt.
- Sprinkle with cilantro and serve. Enjoy!
Enjoy with aforementioned glass of wine…
🍷 Wine pairings
- Medium-bodied, rustic wines like Chianti, Cotes du Rhone, and Sangiovese have earthy, spicy flavors that echo those in this dish.
🕕 How to make ahead and store
- This recipe is perfect for meal prep! Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. They also freeze well! Store in the freezer for up to three months. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove in a skillet over medium heat.
✔️ More Instant Pot recipes
- Instant Pot Chicken Pho
- Instant Pot Quinoa
- Instant Pot Salmon
- Instant Pot Red Beans & Rice
- How to Cook Perfect Rice in the Instant Pot
- Instant Pot Chickpeas
- Instant Pot Lentil Soup with Sausage & Kale
- Instant Pot Pot Roast
- Instant Pot Carnitas
🥘 More easy vegetarian recipes
- Vegetarian Sushi
- Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan
- Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
- Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts
- Mushroom Parmesan
More lentil recipes
- Hearty Sausage, Kale & Lentil Soup
- Southwest Lentil & Brown Rice Salad
- Lentil Bolognese
- Instant Pot Lentils
- More → 39+ TASTY Lentil Recipes
Did you try these instant pot lentils & rice?
If you loved these cheesy lentils and rice I would appreciate it so much if you would give this recipe a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.
Instant Pot Lentils and Rice Recipe
- 1/2 red onion (finely chopped)
- 1/2 red bell pepper (finely chopped)
- 4 garlic cloves (minced)
- 3/4 cup brown rice
- 3/4 cup brown lentils
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 15-ounce can petite diced tomatoes
- 1 4-ounce can diced green chiles
- 1 Tbsp taco seasoning
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp Black pepper
- 2 cups shredded cheese (I prefer mozzarella and sharp cheddar)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (for topping)
- Add all ingredients, except cheese and cilantro, to your Instant Pot. Set to manual and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Allow pressure to naturally release for 15 minutes then release remaining pressure.
- Remove cover and stir in half of the cheese. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top and replace the cover. Allow to stand for 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle with cilantro and serve. Enjoy!
This post was originally published in 2017. It was updated in 2023 to add new content. The instant pot lentils and rice recipe remains the same. Enjoy!