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!
You can enjoy the cheesy lentils in bowls, or serve them taco-style in tortillas with your favorite toppings like sour cream or greek yogurt, pico de gallo, and guacamole.
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.
For more great Platings and Pairings recipes, be sure to follow me on Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest and Facebook.
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!
186 thoughts on “EASY Southwest Cheesy Instant Pot Lentils & Rice”
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!
Thanks Marlynn – I’m pretty obsessed with this recipe. Just looking at the pictures makes me want to make it again tonight!
This was wonderful, and of course I did a few substitutions. I grow much of my food up here in Prince Edward Island, Canada, so what I do is flash freeze green peppers, since our growing season is so short. Then instead of a can of diced chilies, I used a 250ml jar of my pickled Jalapenos. My growing zone is 5b in Canada, which is different than your 5b, BUT!!, I still had Cilantro in the Greenhouse. And for Red Onions, I grew “Country Wide” this year. So this was a recipe ready for today. I’ve saved it since 2018 but decided to try it today. Also, my can of Tomatoes was 398 ml, slightly larger, but it was fine, given the rice and lentils, I figured it would be fine.
Oh so good!! Thank you for the inspiration! I used no salt Rotel 2 cans (20 oz tomato & green chili). Def will make again.
I’m so glad you liked it Kelly!
I love the recipe, but the pop-ups and ads are waaaay too much!
Made this dish tonight. Doubled the recipe and served with fried corn. It was fantastic. I did increase spices and mixed in cheese and fresh baby spinach at end and the transfered to dish topped with cheese and broiled for a quick minute. A million stars!!
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
That sounds like a great vegan swap Caitlin!
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.
Of course! I hope you enjoy Catherine!
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?
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!
So delicious! I browned turkey meat in instant pot then added remaining ingredients. I cooked for same amount of time. I used 3tbs of taco seasoning to make sure flavor stood out and added red pepper flakes.
I could go for a big bowl of this right now! Looks so yummy!!
Drain the Chili’s and tomatoes. Too much liquid otherwise
This was fabulous! Just so very delicious! Thank you for the recipe.
I’m so glad you liked it Phillys – This is definitely one of my favorite recipes on the blog.
Just made this and it was excellent! I added a little siracha on top for a kick:) thanks for a great recipe
So glad you liked it Becky! It’s one of my favorite recipes!!!!
If I wanted half this recipe, would the cooking times remain the same? Thatnks! Can’t wait to try it!
Hi Renae – Yes, the cooking time will remain the same. Cheers!
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.
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!
I threw some sliced avocado and a dollop of sour cream on top. SO GOOD.
Love those additions Peter!
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!
Thanks for letting me know Mercedes! I’m so happy you liked the recipe!
The whole house loved this!! My husband told me to not lose this recipe 🙂
That makes me so happy to hear Maryann! I love it too!
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.
– 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
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!
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?
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!
Can you use white rice instead of brown?
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!
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.
Thanks so much for these modifications!
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!
So glad that you and your family enjoyed this dish Claire! It’s definitely one of my favorite Instant Pot recipes!
Made this last night and it was a hit with the whole family – but next time I will try adding lime juice, that sounds like it would put this recipe over the top.
That sounds like a delicious add-in Charliee!
All I have on hand is long grain white rice. Would I need to adjust the cooking time down a little for that?
Hi Michelle – I would keep the cooking time the same to be sure that the lentils cook fully. Hope this helps!
Just got an Instant Pot and this is the VERY first recipe I tried in it – thank you! 🙂
Congrats Jamie – I LOVE my Instant Pot. I hope you enjoyed the recipe!
I’m going to have to try this recipe. Yum!
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 ~
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.
This recipe is amazing – seriously. Thank you so much!
So glad to hear that you liked it Erin!
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+
I just made this tonight* and quick weeknight rotation* I hit submit veggie checking my typos. I was excited to review.
I’m so glad to hear that you loved this recipe – It’s definitely one of my favorite Instant Pot recipes as well!
Not sure how yours looks so soupy….. but mine was like chili….. and soo awesome….. Adding this to my rotation for sure
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!
Are Pardina lentils and the bob’s lentils the same thing?
Hi Sara – Yes, you will be able to use those no problem. Both are brown/green lentils.
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!
So glad you like it!!! This is one of my favorite recipes for sure – Love all your toppings too!
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.
So glad to hear that you liked it Peg!
Do you know if this recipe would work as is in a 3 quart Instant Pot mini?
Hi Lynne – You would need to halve the recipe for it to fit in the 3 quart.
Hi, I’ve made it twice now in the 3qt, and the recipe does not need to be halved 🙂 It fits and is below the max fill line.
Great to know – Thanks Amber!
First recipe I tried in my new instant pot-delicious!
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!
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.
So happy to hear that you liked it Brian!
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!
I hope it works out for you Tracey – It’s a relatively short amount of cooking time, so I think you’ll be ok!
Hi Tracey, how did it turn out with the TruRoots sprouted lentils? I also have the same bag of lentils and would love to know if you made any adjustments or followed the cooking times as is? Thanks!
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!
Hi Lisa! You should be able to add the chicken breasts right to the Instant Pot and keep the cooking time the same. Enjoy!
I made this tonight! So very delicious! Thank you for the recipe! ❤️
I’m so glad you liked it Julie! Cheers!
I used black rice and it was a hit! My 18 month old ate 2 bowls😊
So happy to hear that Sarita – I’ll definitely need to give this a try with black rice too!
When it says 530 calories per serving, what size is the serving? Is that a cup, or more?
Hi Colleen – I would say that it’s about a 2-cup serving size. Hope this helps!
Can I make this over the stove if so how long ? And can I make it similar to the way the Instant pot would do it?
Hi Sarah – Check out my friend Carol’s blog for the original version that’s made in the oven. Hope this helps!
Does this come out soupy? I don’t want soupy. Does the liquid get absorbed? If not, should I reduce liqud? Looking forward to making it tomorrow so would welcome feedback from those who have already made it.
Hi Mary – This definitely does not come out soupy. It’s more like a very thick chili. Hope this helps!
I made this for a potluck for my local food co-op, and it was a hit! I left the cheese on the side so that vegans could enjoy it as well, and then people could add as much or little as they liked. We also topped it with sour cream as well. I enjoyed it so much that I made it for myself again later in the week! Mine did not turn out liquid-y at all as it appears in your recipe photos. I brought bowls for the potluck but it could have easily been dished out on plates. I enjoy using it as a dip for tortilla chips as well with some green onions on top. I have a 3qt and made the entire recipe. It fits perfectly and is below the max fill line, in case anyone else has the mini 🙂
I love this topped with sour cream too Amber! I’m glad that this recipe was a hit for you, and it’s nice to know that this does fit in a 3-quart Instant Pot. Thanks for that information!
Wow this was awesome! I’m a total meat eater but this didn’t at all make me miss meat. I had it with some avocado cubes, sour cream and some spicy jalapeños – did not disappoint! Was like a meaty filling chili but didn’t miss the meat! Will absolutely make again!
So happy to hear that you liked it Julie – This is definitely one of my all time favorite Instant Pot recipes!
Would any brown rice work for this recipe or does it have to be long grain? I’m making this in an hour and I don’t want the end result to be too overcooked or undercooked. Thanks!!!
Hi Harini – I’m sorry that I am just now able to respond to your message. Any brown rice should work, as long as it’s not instant.
Delicious..I added a little diced avocado along with the cilantro.
You’re welcome – Glad you liked it Jefri!
I had everything I needed to make this in my pantry and fridge already. My non-veg husband went back for seconds. He rarely ever does that. I also used a can of mild Ro-tel, a half of yellow bell pepper in addition to the red. Since there are only two of us, we’re going to have the leftovers in wraps.
So happy to hear that you liked it Diane! This is one of my favorite recipes!
This recipe is absolutely outstanding. I am new to the instant pot and to eating lentils. I regret that I didn’t try lentils sooner. This was one of my fist recipes to try in my Instant Pot Mini. My whole family loved it. My daughter was shocked to rralize there was no chicken in it until she was halfway through with her bowl. A true masterpiece of a recipe. I’ve made it 4 times now. Thanks so much for making me a fan of lentils!
It makes me so happy to hear this Celeste! I’m glad that you guys liked it!
This looks so good. If I substituted quinoa for the brown rice, how would that change the cooking time?
Hi Sarah – That may be a little tough, because quinoa cooks really quickly in the Instant Pot (just 1 minute). I’m thinking that it will be way overdone, and mushy if you use the full 15 minutes, but you need the 15 minutes to ensure that the lentils are done… I would maybe make the lentils in the Instant Pot (without the rice) and then stir in some cooked quinoa. I hope that helps!
Thanks for this great recipe, we really enjoyed it and look forward to having it again.
However, as written the recipe is loaded with salt, almost half of the daily recommended amount in one meal! This is a problem for people with high blood pressure and others who need or want to control their salt intake. The solution is simple. I reduced the amount of salt called for in the recipe by about half and made my own taco seasoning because the brand you recommended and all commercial seasonings are usually loaded with salt, msg and other ingredients whose names are hard to pronounce.
The fat content of the meal is also pretty high, perhaps because of all that yummy cheese. For those who love cheese, as I do, but would like to cut their fat intake a bit, this can be accomplished by using reduced-fat cheese. I know, some people claim they can taste a difference between regular and low-fat cheese, but this dish is so spicy, and so much of the cheese is mixed in with the other ingredients that few people would notice any difference. Indeed, my wife volunteered that the 75%-reduced-fat cheddar I used in this dish tasted as good as the full-fat cheddar (same brand) she uses on her tuna melts.
Has anyone tried this with short grain brown rice? When I cook on its own I usually do 22 minute cook and 5 min natural release. Seems like this might work with the longer natural release time even though the cook time is shorter? Thanks! Can’t wait to try this!
Just tried this last night with my husband. It was so so good! The only thing I noticed was the brown rice was a little hard, wasn’t cooked very well. It still tasted great but do you think adding a couple minutes under pressure would solve that problem? Thanks for the great recipe!!
Hi Veronica – you could definitely add a couple minutes to the cook time – that should do the trick and the lentils should still be done properly.
This is amazing, thank you for it.
After enjoying this a few times, I took your broth/lentil/brown rice/tomato base and mixed up a thai curry variation. I’m pretty happy with it.
4 oz green chilis -> 4 oz maesri yellow curry paste
red onion -> yellow onion
add: 3/4 cup copped fresh pineapple (to the cooked ingredients.)
leave out: taco spice, oregano, salt, pepper.
After pressure cooking, in stead of adding cheese, throw in a can of coconut milk and 3 handfuls of spinach. Replace the cilantro with chopped limes and basil leaves.
It’s quite spicy. Cut the curry paste in half if you need to tone it down.
My wife’s a medical student, she’s super busy. Thanks for helping me feed her healthy, filling food.
Thank you so much for this Mitchell! This sounds absolutely amazing! I love spicy foods so I’m definitely giving this a try ASAP! Love that you made it dairy free too.
This is the first thing I tried in my IP. Loved it. Thank you. It was so easy, but mine was not as thick as yours looked. I dont know why. It was more like a hearty soup.
This is AMAZING! I found it early this morning and made it tonight and I think it’s really going to become a regular weekly request from the family. Thank you so much for sharing!
So happy to hear that you liked it Diana! It’s definitely a recipe that’s in regular rotation at our house!
Anyone with any experience freezing this recipe?
This is the 2nd dish I made in my IP. Loved it. I can see using this as a chip and dip also. Yummy! Thank you!
You don’t have to make any modifications, but after making this at least a hundred times, I’ve found that the following works really well: 1) Go ahead and just a whole red onion and a whole red pepper. 2) Use a full carton of vegetable broth (it’s just a tad more than what the recipe calls for). 3) You don’t have to use Bob’s brand lentils and rice. I just buy the store brand. They’re cheaper. 4) I make my own taco seasoning instead of using store bought. Just Google or use the following : 2 tablespoons chili powder, 1 tablespoon of cumin, some garlic powder, paprika, and onion powder.. You really can’t screw it up!
And I don’t add cheese to the InstaPot–it just makes it hard to clean. Just sprinkle the cheese on top! Don’t forget the cilantro and chips. This will be your favorite chili. Happy InstaPotting!
Thanks for these tips Kristie!
Made this for dinner tonight and my whole family loved it, including my meat-loving husband. Even my toddler gobbled it up! I added some frozen corn at the end to brighten it up (and make it look more toddler-friendly) and topped with avocado. Huge, huge hit!!
I’m so happy to hear that you all liked it Alexandra! I love your addition of corn too!
I will make this again, but NO salt! The canned toms, taco seasoning, cheese provided plenty of salt. Thanks for the recipe.
Oh my gosh! This is my second instant pot meal and it was SO simple to make and turned out perfectly. I had already began the natural release when I read the comments and got nervous about the people who said the brown rice could’ve been cooked more because I really really dislike undercooked brown rice but that wasn’t my experience at all. I made zero changes to this recipe and will definitely make it again!
So happy you liked it Emily!
I’ve made this several times. I only use half the cheese (I cut out the cheese topping part) and since I’m vegan, I use a bag of Daiya shreds. It works and it is so good. It is perfect for these winter months.
So happy you like it Melissa – Thanks for sharing your vegan swap!
Awesome recipe! I added some shredded zucchini and carrot because I try to sneak extra veggies into everything. My 2 year old asked for seconds!!
Just an FYI to anyone who might see this: I doubled the recipe in my 6qt instant pot and while it fit fine, it took 45 minutes to come up to pressure. Add 15 minutes cook time and 15 min NR, it took quite a bit longer than I was expecting.
I’m so happy you both liked it Sarah – Love your idea to sneak in some extra veggies!
This recipe was so delicious! More than the sum of its parts, for sure. I only have tomato sauce in the pantry and it was still delish!!
I just made this and it will be a new quick go-to. I used 1/2 cup rice and 1 cup lentils for some more protein and fewer carbs and it came out just perfect! These 2 ingredients are easily interchangeable without adding more liquid. I couldn’t find the specific canned ingredients so ended up using two 8oz cans of diced tomatoes with green chiles without draining. My steak-loving partner really liked this and it was easy to customize his with more cilantro and mine with extra hot sauce and fresh diced onions for some crunch. Thank you for the recipe!
I’m so happy to hear you both liked it Casey! This is definitely one of my favorite Instant Pot recipes!
Great recipe and easily veganized with the new Follow Your Heart spicy southwestern cheese blend—so good. I love it when someone else has figured out the liquid amounts to convert a recipe to the instant pot. And done it perfectly.
I am new to cooking lentils…and I only have red lentils in my pantry right now. Will those work ok? Or should I head to the store??
Hi Anissa – Red lentils tend to break down a lot more when they cook. I prefer green or brown lentils in this recipe. I prefer red or yellow for creamy or pureed soups. Hope that helps!
Hello Erin, I’m going to try this recipe tonight, just one question: you don’t add any water to the whole before setting it to cook? I’m afraid I’ll burn it. Thanks again!
Just the 2 1/2 cups of broth – That’ll do it!
I’ve made this twice in 10 days. The rice was underdone the first time so I upped the cooking time to 17 minutes, which worked well. I also made my own taco seasoning (super easy) and used a bit less cheese. Good stuff!
I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed it Susan!
This was so delicious and will be a regular for my lunches and dinners. It was almost creamy and bursting with flavor.
I made it using pardina lentils; it came out great.
Do you have any advice for freezing all the ingredients and then cooking them in the instant pot from frozen? What would the cooking time be?
Hi Michelle – I haven’t tried this yet, but I think that the cook time would remain the same. The ingredients will thaw as the pressure builds and then the countdown timer will begin. Hope that helps!
This is a very yummy dish however I add about 5 more minutes to cooking time as Brown rice takes longer. Have done it shorter and rice is still crunchy. Have used Brown and Green lentils (not french-haven’t tried those). Also, I don’t add the 1 tsp Salt as the taco seasoning, canned tomatoes, and cheese makes it salty enough in my opinion. Served with chips or tortillas and avocado or guacamole and with some salad makes a great meal!
YUM YUM YUM! This was delicious. My only substitute was a homemade vegan cheese sauce to cut out the dairy but wow, this will for sure be a staple in our home. Thanks so much for sharing!
After 5 days of the flu I am here enjoying this cheese-happy soup. I couldn’t face another pre-canned bland soup, even if it did come from my sweet husband. He worked today, I was home still recovering, and I had vowed to make something in my new instant pot! After pouring over recipes, and considering my own gimpy sick self, this was it. The. Choice. I didn’t have the chiles and only had crushed tomatoes but it is amazing none the less (and it was about as much work in the kitchen as I could handle) I’m so excited to recommend the recipe to friends. Still in recovery mode, but this delicious meal is really helping. Thanks Erin!
You are so welcome Ryan! Feel better soon!!!
Hi this was so delicious and I love that I could throw it together with mostly pantry staples! My only complaint is my lentils were mushy. Rice was perfectly done. More liquid needed? Less cooking time?
I have been making this weekly for the last few months. I increase the rice and lentils each to 1 cup and increase the broth to 3 cups. Usually add 1 tsp of cumin and 1 of smoked paprika. It’s very flexible. Husband and toddler approved! Thanks for your blog and recipes, they’re always attainable on a weeknight and very tasty!
Delicious! Made this for my family tonight and both teen girls approve! Absolutely loved it – thank you so much!
You are so welcome Sam! Thanks for stopping by!
This is absolutely our favorite go-to recipe! I usually just through in the whole bell pepper. As there are only two of us, we usually manage to get several leftover meals.
I’m so happy you enjoy it so much Pamela!
Excellent lunch recipe for family working and schooling from home. So easy to throw this together, and people could grab a hot bowl when they got a break. Served with tortilla chips and sour cream. Just a lifesaving recipe- Thank you!!
You are so welcome May! I’m glad it was helpful!
Would I be able to add a boneless & skinless chicken thigh to cook with the rest? (Then I’d shred it afterwards.) Would the time & liquid amount be the same in that case?
Hi Nora! I think that will work well. You shouldn’t have to adjust the time or liquid amount.
I’ve made this before as written, but this time I turned to this recipe because I had made a not too great oniony salsa concoction. I used my salsa for the onion, pepper, garlic and green chilis in the recipe (~2 cups salsa). I still added the diced tomatoes. I used french lentils and brown basmati. IT TURNED OUT SO GOOD!
Made this tonight. It was a hit with the family! Thanks.
I love this recipe and have made it multiple times, the only thing I do different is that instead of 1 can of chilis and 1 can of diced tomatoes, I use 2 small cans of spicy tomatoes like Rotel. I usually eat this with sour cream. One of my favorite easy recipe for sure!
So happy to hear that Claire! Thanks for your recipe swap ideas!
Has anyone tried adding some drained & rinsed canned beans to this recipe? Thinking of adding black beans for even more heft..
I went ahead and added a can of drained & rinsed black beans & would highly recommend it. Made the dish more of a main than a side, & looked great too!
This is definitely our go-to recipe when we want something easy but delicious! The only substitution I make is to use onion powder instead of onions, if I don’t have any on hand.
I’m so glad you enjoy it Pamela! Thanks for that swap idea!
Hello! I have made this before and it turned out delicious! For some reason the last couple times I’ve made it, the rice and lentils still have a bone. Any idea why this might be?
Hi Katherine. My thought is that maybe the lid isn’t sealed properly?
Love this recipe! Very convenient and tasty. I was curious – can leftovers be frozen and reheated later without any issues? Thanks!
Hi Anna – Yes, you can freeze the leftovers!
This is SO GOOD! I don’t normally like lentils, and I love that this dish gets me eating them and brown rice and enjoying every bite. Plus, so easy, and you can do most of the prep ahead. Love it!
Easily my favorite new recipe of 2022! This is delicious! My only substitution was doubling the chiles because I had the bigger can. I could not stop thinking about it and used it for meal prep. Making a double batch today for this week. I actually used less cheese because it was so good after one cup. Why gild the lily that is already amazing?
I’m so happy to hear you liked it Colleen!
My husband and I loved it! It’s so quick in the instapot! I just chopped, measured anddumped all the ingredients, except the cheese, into the pot and dinner was done in very little time! I did use slightly less liquid, and used a finely diced jalapeno in place of canned green chilis, subbed vegetable broth & vegan cheese to veganize the recipe. It makes a lot!! We each had two generously filled tortillas. That used only about a third of the cheesy lentilsfor the two of us! Today for lunch we used another 1/3 to stuff a Roasted Honey Nut Squash. We still have another third of the recipe left to eat tomorrow, maybe as filling for enchiladas or on tostadas. Definitely adding this to our list of favorites to make again.
Love this recipe and we have it at least once a month. The only changes I make (don’t you hate it when no one leaves the recipe as is???!) I usually saute the garlic, onion and red peppers in the instant pot before adding the rest. I always at least double it (big family) and we love to top it with sour cream, pickled onions, jalapeños, and fritos on top (I know, not healthy but it gets the kids to eat an otherwise very healthy meal without complaining and adds a nice crunch!) Thanks for a go-to meal!
You’re welcome Sarah!
Love this recipe, it’s budget friendly, healthy, and very good! I make it pretty much as is, though leave out the onion because I’m not a fan. I use slightly less garlic (2 large cloves), 1 tsp oregano. Then I can season it more after if I want to. I freeze a few portions to take to work for lunch. Love to top with cheese, sour cream, and a few crunched up tortilla chips.
A winner! Thank you! Doubled the recipe (except for the garlic), because I wanted lunch leftovers for three. Used only 4 cups broth based on others’ comments, and it worked perfectly. I’m not crazy about quick release, so I just left things alone for a full natural pressure release, which also worked perfectly. I was looking for “healthy,” and for me that means limiting saturated fats. So I didn’t add cheese to the dish itself, just sprinkled it on afterward. That way my husband can add his own “cup” of cheese, while I use less. I like a little more heat, so I’ll probably add some chipotle chili powder next time, or a little adobo sauce from chipotles in adobo.
I love the idea of adding in chipotles Jane! That sounds amazing.