Taco Style Lentils & Rice

  • 3/4 cup dry lentils
  • 3/4 cup brown rice
  • 4 cups tap water
  • 4 beef bouillon cubes
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

In a 2-quart saucepan bring the water to a boil. As the water is heating, add the lentils, rice, bouillon, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, and garlic powder. Bring the whole thing to a nice fat boil. Reduce the heat to low. Place a lid on the lentils and allow the mixture to simmer for about 45 to 50 minutes. The water should be mostly absorbed. You may serve this as it, topped with a little cheddar cheese if desired. Or you can use it to fill burritos or tacos instead. Both ways are very tasty. This is one of Tommy’s favorite foods in the whole wide world.

If you have never tried lentils and are looking for a way to make them acceptable to the kids, this one is a good bet. Our favorite way to eat it is as a taco filling. If you are having a busy day and don’t have time to cook this on the stove, it can cook in the crock pot on low for about 6 to 8 hours instead. I’ve never cooked it on high, so I’m not sure how quickly it would cook that way. I suspect about 3 hours would be enough.

Looking for a yummy appetizer to make before you serve this? Try my chickpea hummus dip recipe. Of course there are plenty more bean and lentil recipes here.

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  1. Catherine says

    I tried to make lentils for my family one night and it was a bust. I had an awaful recipe. Tonight I tried giving it one more try and I made the taco style lentils and rice. BIG HIT!!!!!! My husband a big meat eatter said that it tasted just like meat. I have to agree with him. We just loved this and can not wait to have it again.
    Thank you so much for your web site.
    The Scott family.

  2. Dana S. says

    I cannot wait to try this recipe because my husband is also a major meat eater. I have tried some of the other lentil recipes on this site and he liked those. So far, his fav is the vegetable, lentil & dumpling recipe. We had never had lentils before and now I don’t know how I did without them! Thank you for all the wonderful recipes!!!

  3. Laura says

    This one is a real winner! It’s so easy in the crockpot and very, very tasty. It’s so healthy and quite filling–makes wonderful tacos and a great tamale pie when topped with cornbread batter and baked. I’ll often add meat or veggies I need to use up–it all blends in.

  4. Barbara says

    I used to take chili to work often; there were folks who claimed they hated chili with beans. I always put the beans through the blender; you never could tell there were beans in it, but it thickened the chili wonderfully and it was delicious. All those folks who didn’t like beans in their chili ate it up like crazy! Now I always blend most of the beans, I’ll put one can of beans, but most are blended in. It really extends the amount of meat in the chili, tastes great, and best of all, the family doesn’t know they are getting much needed fiber. Now I thicken soups and stews with beans, too. I use blended white beans to thicken cream soups.

  5. Stephanie says

    *****This is a wonderful recipe. Excellent flavor. Didn’t even miss the meat. When the lentils were soft I removed the lid and let simmer maybe 5 or 10 minutes to thicken so I could use it as a filling for burritos. I was able to make 8 burritos using big flour tortillas. Next time I will try whole wheat tortillas. Making a double batch today to put in the freezer for busy game days. Thank you for another wonderful recipe I will be make often.

  6. Dottie says

    We love this recipe! We’ve made it several times,sometimes as burritos, other times just as is. My son is super picky and he enjoys it!

  7. Cindi says

    Great recipe! I made a double batch and wrapped it in soft flour tortilla shells with a little bit of cheese (generic velvetta). I covered them in enchilada sauce and baked them to melt the cheese. Served them with a side of coleslaw. Yummy!

    I made 20 of them. 10 for tonight’s dinner and 10 for the freezer for a no cook night. My son and his friend loved them! Both are 12 years old and usually picky eaters.

  8. Julia says

    I made this for the first time tonight, and we loved it! I had a few minor substitutions based on what I had on hand. I used fresh onions and garlic since I didn’t have the powdered, and threw in some carrots I needed to use up. I cooked those in olive oil, and added the cumin and chili powder near the end. Since I used more veggies, I also used a little more water and broth mix. Besides that part, I just followed the recipe and did a double batch of the stovetop version. I’ll try the crockpot next time.

    We just ate it in bowls, but I can see it would make wonderful burritos and such, or change the seasonings for many other dishes. I’m so excited to have a new recipe that’s so simple, healthy, and inexpensive! I can’t wait to try more from the site! Thanks, Hillbilly Housewife!

  9. Bethany says

    I made this yesterday, it was pretty good although not stellar. I will try it again with more seasonings, fresh onions, and cook it for a longer time more slowly. The stuff on the bottom burned in my pot so I think a longer time at lower heat would help. I think it really has a lot of potential, and this is the first time I’ve ever made lentils (hated them as a kid, of course). A good vegetarian meal – we ate it as soft tacos with lots of guacamole to add fats.

  10. Carol says

    My husband and teenage son really like this. I try to eat more meat-free meals and this does the trick. They actually prefer it to ground meat tacos. I also use fresh garlic and onions and add a bit more cumin and chili powder. I always make double batches and freeze the extra for quick and easy don’t-feel-like-cooking days. We make tacos with my homemade whole wheat tortillas and I feel really good about serving a tasty nutritious meal and it makes my wallet really happy, too.

  11. anna says

    What did I do wrong? I am a very competent cook and was excited to try this but its not working!!!! My lentils have dissolved completely while the rice stil hasn’t cooked. I used red lentils because I prefer their flavor what did everyone else use and why is my brown rice not cooking? I hate brown rice for this reason and am wondering about splitting the recipe in half and cooking the lentils and rice seperately because this just didn’t work. I envisioned the lentils being whole mixed in witht the rice but instead I have lentil paste and undercooked rice. It smells wonderful though and tastes good.

    • says

      Red lentils always dissolve into mush, it’s just the way they are. You need brown or green lentils for this recipe. Brown rice takes about 30 minutes, or more, to cook.

  12. lisa m says

    this is my daughter’s favorite bean and rice recipe. i always make this for her vegetarian friends using vegetable broth.. cheap, healthy and delicious. i will be putting this on my regular rotation in my meal plan. i have also done this in the crock pot. so easy!! thank you for such a delicious recipe.

  13. Michelle H says

    YUM! This was delicious tonight! I only used 1 teaspoon of chili powder as I am a wuss when it comes to spice, but it was delicious! I had planned to eat it on some homemade tortilla (recipe from HBHW too) but I didn’t get any further than shredding some cheese and a dollop of sour cream on it before I was shoveling it into my mouth. Going to use the left overs to make enchiladas tomorrow!

  14. Lucy says

    Thank you so much for the recipe. I was hestitant at first but since I had all the ingredients at home, I gave it a try and I am glad I did. I did increase the amount of lentils and brown rice to 1 cup each since I buy them in 1 pound bags and they are 2 cups for each bag. I used half of each bag and placed them in a rice cooker along with the rest of the ingredients. I did add a 8 ounce can of tomato sauce too.

    The rice cooker made this easy peasy, lemon squeazy!! My rice cooker has a brown rice setting so after 1 hour or so, it was done. I served it with heated corn tortillas and sliced, peeled cucumbers as a garnish since I was out of lettuce. I will definitely add this to my rotation. It is frugal, whole grained, vegan ( I used vegetable bouillon cubes), delicious, and easy to make. I cannot thank you enough for this recipe!!

  15. Holly says

    I made these Friday night and here it is Tuesday and I am making these wonderful lentils again. Oh there were no leftovers from Friday my family polished them off!

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