Instant Pot Cheesy Southwestern Lentils & Brown Rice

This Instant Pot recipe for Cheesy Southwestern Lentils & Brown Rice is the perfect quick vegetarian weeknight dinner recipe that's perfect for Meatless Monday! Hearty lentils and brown rice combine with southwestern spices, tomatoes, peppers & plenty of melty cheese! | platingsandpairings.com

This Instant Pot recipe for Cheesy Southwestern Lentils & Brown Rice is the perfect quick vegetarian weeknight dinner that’s perfect for Meatless Monday!

This Instant Pot recipe for Cheesy Southwestern Lentils & Brown Rice is the perfect quick vegetarian weeknight dinner recipe that's perfect for Meatless Monday! Hearty lentils and brown rice combine with southwestern spices, tomatoes, peppers & plenty of melty cheese! | platingsandpairings.com

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!

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.

This Instant Pot recipe for Cheesy Southwestern Lentils & Brown Rice is the perfect quick vegetarian weeknight dinner recipe that's perfect for Meatless Monday! Hearty lentils and brown rice combine with southwestern spices, tomatoes, peppers & plenty of melty cheese! | platingsandpairings.com

Of course, I’m using lentils and brown rice from my favorite company, Bob’s Red Mill. I love that their products are produced right here in Oregon. When I was younger, my dad would always drive us from Eugene to Portland (2 hours for a kid = ugh) just to stock up on Bob’s Red Mill products – Cornmeal, flour, beans. Nowadays, you can just buy their products right in your local grocery store and there’s such a huge selection!!!

This Instant Pot recipe for Cheesy Southwestern Lentils & Brown Rice is the perfect quick vegetarian weeknight dinner recipe that's perfect for Meatless Monday! Hearty lentils and brown rice combine with southwestern spices, tomatoes, peppers & plenty of melty cheese! | platingsandpairings.comThis Instant Pot recipe for Cheesy Southwestern Lentils & Brown Rice is the perfect quick vegetarian weeknight dinner recipe that's perfect for Meatless Monday! Hearty lentils and brown rice combine with southwestern spices, tomatoes, peppers & plenty of melty cheese! | platingsandpairings.com

Those lentils and brown rice cook up perfectly with just 15 minutes of high pressure and, 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! 

After the cooking time is up, let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes and then, if there’s any remaining pressure left in the Instant Pot, do a quick release. Take off the lid, sprinkle on all that yummy cheese, and cover it back up for about 5 minutes to let it get nice and melty. Then, spoon the cheesy southwestern lentils and brown rice into bowls, or serve them taco-style in tortillas with your favorite toppings. Enjoy with aforementioned glass of wine… 

This Instant Pot recipe for Cheesy Southwestern Lentils & Brown Rice is the perfect quick vegetarian weeknight dinner recipe that's perfect for Meatless Monday! Hearty lentils and brown rice combine with southwestern spices, tomatoes, peppers & plenty of melty cheese! | platingsandpairings.com

This Instant Pot recipe for Cheesy Southwestern Lentils & Brown Rice is the perfect quick vegetarian weeknight dinner recipe that's perfect for Meatless Monday! Hearty lentils and brown rice combine with southwestern spices, tomatoes, peppers & plenty of melty cheese! | platingsandpairings.com

Instant Pot Cheesy Southwestern Lentils & Brown Rice

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Southwest
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 530 kcal
Author: Adapted from From a Chef's Kitchen

This Instant Pot recipe for Cheesy Southwestern Lentils & Brown Rice is the perfect quick vegetarian weeknight dinner recipe that's perfect for Meatless Monday! Hearty lentils and brown rice combine with southwestern spices, tomatoes, peppers & plenty of melty cheese!

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 red onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 3/4 cup Bob's Red Mill brown rice
  • 3/4 cup Bob's Red Mill brown lentils
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes 15 oz.
  • 1 can diced green chiles 4 oz.
  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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. 

  2. 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.

  3. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve. Enjoy! 

Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Cheesy Southwestern Lentils & Brown Rice
Amount Per Serving
Calories 530 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 29%
Saturated Fat 10g 50%
Cholesterol 58mg 19%
Sodium 1125mg 47%
Total Carbohydrates 61g 20%
Dietary Fiber 9g 36%
Sugars 6g
Protein 29g 58%
Vitamin A 22%
Vitamin C 78%
Calcium 48%
Iron 27%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Instant Pot Cheesy Southwestern Lentils & Brown Rice from Erin Lynch on Vimeo.

Wine Pairings for Instant Pot Cheesy Southwestern Lentils & Brown Rice:

  • Medium-bodied, rustic wines like Chianti, Cotes du Rhone, and Sangiovese have earthy, spicy flavors that echo those in this dish.

This Instant Pot recipe for Cheesy Southwestern Lentils & Brown Rice is the perfect quick vegetarian weeknight dinner recipe that's perfect for Meatless Monday! Hearty lentils and brown rice combine with southwestern spices, tomatoes, peppers & plenty of melty cheese! | platingsandpairings.com

Looking for more Instant Pot recipes? Be sure to try these: 

Instant Pot Chicken Pho

This Instant Pot Chicken Pho makes the traditional Vietnamese chicken noodle soup easy to make at home in around 30 minutes with the help of your pressure cooker. | platingsandpairings.com

Instant Pot Red Beans & Rice

Instant Pot Red Beans & Rice is a traditional New Orleans recipe made with smoked sausage, red beans and cajun seasoning. Plus, with the help of your pressure cooker there's no soaking the beans, meaning that this delicious dinner can be on your table in under an hour! | platingsandpairings.com

How to Cook Perfect Rice in the Instant Pot

With these easy tips, you’ll see it's simple to learn how to cook perfect rice in the Instant Pot with minimal measuring. The result is fluffy and flavorful rice that’s easy to prepare. | platingsandpairings.com

67 comments

  1. Marlynn | UrbanBlissLife

    Seriously drooling over this recipe, Erin! I don’t have an Instant Pot but I’d love to make this dish. Looks so hearty and delicious!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Thanks Marlynn – I’m pretty obsessed with this recipe. Just looking at the pictures makes me want to make it again tonight!

      Reply

  2. Caitlin | Beauty & Colour

    Awesome vegetarian recipe! I personally would swap in some Daiya vegan cheese shreds and make this for myself and my bf!

    Beauty & Colour | Vegan Lifestyle Blog

    Reply

    1. Erin

      That sounds like a great vegan swap Caitlin!

      Reply

  3. Catherine @ Ten Thousand Hour Mama

    Yes! I’m such a big fan of lentils but for some reason they’ve fallen off my regular rotation of recipes. I’ll get ’em back on – thanks for the reminder.

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Of course! I hope you enjoy Catherine!

      Reply

  4. Jodi

    No instant pot over here. How long would you recommend for the slow cooker? And should anything be cooked before putting it in slow cooker?

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Hi Jodi – I haven’t tried this recipe in the slow cooker personally, but I searched the web for some similar lentil & brown rice dishes and it looks like this should turn out perfectly in a slow cooker if you cook it for 4 hours on HIGH or 7-8 hours on LOW. I’d love to hear back from you if you test it out!

      Reply

  5. Bethany

    I could go for a big bowl of this right now! Looks so yummy!!

    Reply

  6. Phillys

    This was fabulous! Just so very delicious! Thank you for the recipe.

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I’m so glad you liked it Phillys – This is definitely one of my favorite recipes on the blog.

      Reply

  7. Becky

    Just made this and it was excellent! I added a little siracha on top for a kick:) thanks for a great recipe

    Reply

    1. Erin

      So glad you liked it Becky! It’s one of my favorite recipes!!!!

      Reply

  8. Renae

    If I wanted half this recipe, would the cooking times remain the same? Thatnks! Can’t wait to try it!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Hi Renae – Yes, the cooking time will remain the same. Cheers!

      Reply

  9. Michelle

    If you double the recipe — will it be too much volume for the instant pot? would you also recommend changing cooking time for doubling the recipe?
    I am hoping to make this for eight people. Would appreciate thoughts.

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Hi Michelle – It should not be a problem to double the recipe, and it should not affect the cooking time either. If you find it needs a bit more time, you can always reseal the pot and high pressure for a couple more minutes. Hope this helps!

      Reply

  10. Peter

    I threw some sliced avocado and a dollop of sour cream on top. SO GOOD.

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Love those additions Peter!

      Reply

  11. Mercedes

    I made this for the first time last night in my brand-new Instant Pot. Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the time, I’ll fiddle with a recipe after preparing it for the first time, but this is the rare one that I think is perfect as-is. I’m a total carnivore, and I didn’t even miss having any meat. Bravo!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Thanks for letting me know Mercedes! I’m so happy you liked the recipe!

      Reply

  12. Maryann

    The whole house loved this!! My husband told me to not lose this recipe 🙂

    Reply

    1. Erin

      That makes me so happy to hear Maryann! I love it too!

      Reply

  13. BP

    I love this recipe.. It make it every 2-3 weeks and bring it to work (cheese not stirred in). It stores well in the fridge this way and is super tasty, filling and cheap.
    Small modifications:
    – White onions and yellow/orange/more bell peppers.. are perfectly OK if that’s what you have on hand
    – I use pickled jalapenos instead of canned chiles. So 2-3 tablespoons.
    – I like to reduce the salt a bit during cooking and then use some nice flaky salt before serving

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I’m so glad to hear that you love it – This is definitely one of my favorite recipes that I make over and over again!

      Reply

  14. Chelsie

    I don’t have bob mills lentils and rice. Has anyone done it with different brands? Do you rinse the lentils and let them sit over night?

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Hi Chelsie – You can use any brand of lentils and rice that you prefer. They do not need to sit overnight and can be prepared immediately. Hope this helps!

      Reply

      1. Kris

        Can you use white rice instead of brown?

        Reply

        1. Erin

          Hi Kris – The white rice will cook faster than brown rice, and I think it will be done before the lentils, meaning that it may turn out a bit mushy… You could definitely try it though!

          Reply

        2. LBell

          I only had white rice in the house, so this is what I did: I followed the basic instructions (see substitutions) except I left the rice out. Cooked for 15 minutes manual, then did QR, added the rice (after checking to make sure I had enough liquid), and then cooked for another 5 minutes manual. NPR for 15 minutes, then finished the recipe. Delicious!
          This is a wonderful way to make lentils and rice! I used two undrained 10-oz cans of Rotel instead of the diced tomatoes and diced chiles. I also add about two handfuls of fresh spinach and stir until wilted before adding the cheese. Thanks so much for this recipe.

          Reply

          1. Erin

            Thanks so much for these modifications!

  15. C

    This was a hit with the family. I squeezed in a little lime juice at the end since I happened to have a lime, and served with sour cream and extra shredded cheese on the side. (I mixed in about a cup of shredded cheese, but didn’t put more on top.) I don’t buy taco seasoning because it’s too salty. I added 2 Tbsp chili powder and 1 1/2 tsp cumin instead and cut back on the salt. (I made 1 1/2 times the recipe for four of us including a young adult son who eats a lot. We had plenty, but might not have had any leftovers if I hadn’t increased it and I like having leftovers.) The recipe cooked perfectly! I’m always a little afraid to open the lid to see if it worked. I’m still fairly new to Instant Pot cooking. Thanks for a great recipe!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      So glad that you and your family enjoyed this dish Claire! It’s definitely one of my favorite Instant Pot recipes!

      Reply

  16. Michelle

    All I have on hand is long grain white rice. Would I need to adjust the cooking time down a little for that?

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Hi Michelle – I would keep the cooking time the same to be sure that the lentils cook fully. Hope this helps!

      Reply

  17. Jamie King

    Just got an Instant Pot and this is the VERY first recipe I tried in it – thank you! 🙂

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Congrats Jamie – I LOVE my Instant Pot. I hope you enjoyed the recipe!

      Reply

  18. Charlene

    I’m going to have to try this recipe. Yum!

    Reply

  19. Candace

    Erin – what size Instant Pot did you use? I have one that is the 3 quart size for just the hubby and me, but since I got it for Christmas I haven’t used it yet. Your recipe looks like the perfect one to start with! Thanks ~

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Hi Candace – I have the 6-quart Instant Pot. You may be able to fit this recipe in the 3 quart but I haven’t tried that yet unfortunately.

      Reply

  20. Erin

    This recipe is amazing – seriously. Thank you so much!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      So glad to hear that you liked it Erin!

      Reply

  21. R

    I absolutely loved this! Musty made it tonight. I got pietite diced tomatoes that had hatch chilies in the can with them and added the other can as dictated by the recipe. I also roasted the bell pepper before dicing it and adding it. This turned out amazing and was the second recipe I’ve made in my Instant Pot. I served it with some sour cream and corn bread like I would a chili. My boyfriend gobbled it up and went back for seconds! Thank you for this great recipe! It’s definitely going to be added to my wick weeknight rotation. Little prep and huge rewards! Total time for me was about an hour, including roasting my pepper and hand dicing the onion and mincing the garlic. A+

    Reply

    1. R

      I just made this tonight* and quick weeknight rotation* I hit submit veggie checking my typos. I was excited to review.

      Reply

    2. Erin

      I’m so glad to hear that you loved this recipe – It’s definitely one of my favorite Instant Pot recipes as well!

      Reply

  22. Michelle

    Not sure how yours looks so soupy….. but mine was like chili….. and soo awesome….. Adding this to my rotation for sure

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I’m so glad you liked it Michelle! I would agree with you, this ends up being thick, like chili. Especially after all that yummy cheese is stirred in!

      Reply

  23. Sarah

    Are Pardina lentils and the bob’s lentils the same thing?

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Hi Sara – Yes, you will be able to use those no problem. Both are brown/green lentils.

      Reply

  24. Hayley

    Why oh why didn’t I listen to my gut and double this recipe? It was soooo good! Cheap, fast and healthy too. My kind of meal! I topped with some plain yogurt, cilantro, avocado, some roasted yams and green onions too. I’ll be sure to double it next time. Thank you!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      So glad you like it!!! This is one of my favorite recipes for sure – Love all your toppings too!

      Reply

  25. Peg Campbell

    Great recipe and it was my first go in my new instant pot! I used red lentils and modified the tomatoes to use Rotel diced tomatoes with lime juice and cilantro (lable doesn’t list chili peppers but ingredients does) and they were hot so I used half a 10 oz can and added a giant raw chopped tomato. I was out of oregano so I mixed marjoram, basil and thyme as a substitute. It will go in my must use file. Thanks for posting Erin.

    Reply

    1. Erin

      So glad to hear that you liked it Peg!

      Reply

  26. Lynne

    Do you know if this recipe would work as is in a 3 quart Instant Pot mini?

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Hi Lynne – You would need to halve the recipe for it to fit in the 3 quart.

      Reply

  27. 30 Summer Instant Pot Recipes Under 30 Minutes! - Kitschen Cat

    […] Instant Pot Cheesy Southwestern Lentils & Brown Rice | Platings and Pairings […]

    Reply

  28. Anne

    First recipe I tried in my new instant pot-delicious!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I’m so happy to hear that you liked this recipe Anne! Please stop by again soon – I’ll be putting out a new Instant Pot recipe every week!

      Reply

  29. Brian

    Great recipe and among one the best things I’ve made with the pressure cooker. I’ve made it twice now and both times it turned out really delicious. I used spicy taco seasoning for a little extra kick. Really easy to throw together and you’ll have a delicious meal for days.

    Reply

    1. Erin

      So happy to hear that you liked it Brian!

      Reply

  30. Tracey

    Just put this in the instant pot. Hoping for the best as I couldn’t find Bob’s Red Mill brown lentils or any brown lentils. I ended up buying Truroots sprouted lentil trio (green brown and black)

    I’m concerned the lentils will be over cooked since they are sprouted. Will update with information!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I hope it works out for you Tracey – It’s a relatively short amount of cooking time, so I think you’ll be ok!

      Reply

  31. Lisa

    This sounds delicious. My husband is a meat guy. If I wanted to add chicken breasts to it, any idea if that would work? Thanks so much!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Hi Lisa! You should be able to add the chicken breasts right to the Instant Pot and keep the cooking time the same. Enjoy!

      Reply

  32. Julie

    I made this tonight! So very delicious! Thank you for the recipe! ❤️

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I’m so glad you liked it Julie! Cheers!

      Reply

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