Lentil and Brown Rice Casserole

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on September 15, 2009


If you are ever in need of an UBER frugal meal, here you go!

Not only was this quite tasty, dinner really doesn’t get much cheaper than this. 

And we had leftovers.  Which will probably end up in a tortilla with some salsa!

Again, thanks to Gayle at the Grocery Cart Challenge for leading me to this great recipe!

Note: When I pulled this from the oven, before adding the cheese, it occurred to me that this would be a fantastic and healthful baby food recipe.  Puree the cooked lentils and rice for younger babies, or mush with fork for older babies, or feed as is for “table food” babies!

3 cups broth (chicken or vegetable) (free if homemade)
3/4 cups green lentils, although any color will do ($.30)
1/2 cup brown rice ($.20)
1/2 yellow onion, chopped ($.15)
2 tsp Italian seasoning ($.10)
1 tsp garlic powder ($.05)
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese ($.85) Bought last week when on sale for $1.25 and had a $.45 coupon! Of course, omit if dairy-free.
2 large broccoli heads ($.40) HUGE sale this week!

Variations: This could be jazzed up with spaghetti sauce, salsa, BBQ sauce, parmesan cheese.  Whatever suits you!

1. Preheat oven to 300.
2. Add broth, lentils, brown rice, chopped onion, and spices to 9×13-inch glass baking dish. Stir together and cover tightly with foil.
3. Bake at 300 for 1 hour and 10 minutes.
4. Remove foil and sprinkle shredded cheese over the top and return to oven and bake uncovered for 20 more minutes, or until cheese is completely melted.
5. Steam broccoli in stovetop steamer or in a microwavable dish covered with plastic wrap for 4-5 mintues.
6. Serve Lentil and Brown Rice Casserole with Steamed Broccoli.

Cost $2.05

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P.S. I do believe this meal is now the CHEAPEST meal I’ve ever made!

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

momstheword September 15, 2009 at 8:30 pm

That does look yummy! If you like that maybe you’d like this recipe (http://tinyurl.com/nth5t8). It’s lentil and brown rice tacos and it is really good by itself or you could add onions and green peppers (or something else) if you wanted to.

The first time I made it my oldest asked “So, there’s really no meat in this?” My hubby loves it and so do the boys which surprised me because I thought they’d miss the meat.


Mari September 15, 2009 at 9:18 pm

I actually just made this for dinner last night and agree that it is delicious. My husband even asked to take the leftovers to work for lunch!


The Working Home Keeper September 16, 2009 at 9:10 am

Adding to our menu for next week! Our 2yo LOVES lentils and brown rice.


Deidra Floyd September 16, 2009 at 2:20 pm

Do you think this would work in a crockpot?


Fairy Dust September 16, 2009 at 6:35 pm

Making it right now – can’t wait to taste the results!!


Biz September 17, 2009 at 12:21 pm

Wow, that is a cheap meal! Not sure I could get my family to eat it – but I think I may kick this up for my lunches – thanks for the idea! (of course, I would leave out the onions!) :D


KMDuff September 18, 2009 at 6:28 pm

Too funny, this is very similar to a favorite meal at our home that I posted the other day! It is super frugal, super tasty, and a great vegetarian alternative. http://duffabcs.blogspot.com/2009/09/spanish-lentils-rice.html


Kelly September 18, 2009 at 7:06 pm

made this-was great! added in boneless skinless chick thighs!


Mary W September 19, 2009 at 5:43 pm

I made this jazzing it up by adding leftover Creamy Thai Soup. the leftover soup was made using a recipe submitted to your most recent $5 dinner challenge. I think I’ll use the leftover lentils and rice as tacos stuffing as motherstheword suggests. Then I’ll have to figure out what to do with the extra tortillas. I try to immediately recycle leftovers so they don’t become forgotten science experiments.


jane4girls September 22, 2009 at 8:23 pm

my 11 year old made this for dinner tonight. we LOVED it. The only thing I might suggest for kids making it (or grownups with no balance) is to mix everything minus the liquid. Put the pan on the oven rack THEN poor the liquid in. My poor baby spilled it all over, but she tried!


MichelleH October 14, 2009 at 9:34 am

This is fantastic! The meat eaters didn’t miss the meat and the casserole had wonderful flavor. Definitely a repeat. Thanks, Erin, for the delicious and super cheap meal.


De June 16, 2010 at 8:54 am

Have made this many times before, from Amy D.’s books.

I have used the leftovers to stuff peppers and tomatoes – baked along with roasted potatoes and carrots, served with green salad.


Wyn November 3, 2010 at 2:56 pm

I made this last night. I used parmesan instead of cheddar, and I added kielbasa. I followed the directions, but set the oven at 350 instead of 300, and my oven tends to run hot. I cooked it for 1.5 hours, and it came out really soupy, and the brown rice was crunchy. Did anyone else have this happen?


Erin November 15, 2010 at 7:31 am

I found this recipe on Recipezaar (now Food.com) a couple years ago and quickly became a big fan of Lentil and Brown Rice Casserole! It tastes even better the second day than it does the first. Instead of using the italian seasoning, I add one can of italian seasoned diced tomatoes.


amanda November 16, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Ok, HUGE QUESTION here, Are the lentils already cooked or do you have some sort of canned lentils? The only lentils I have ever seen were in a bag like dried beans. Is that what you used? Or since I have bagged lentils do I need to cook them first before I do this recipe?


Paula November 16, 2010 at 7:34 pm

Wow, this was so good, Made it in the crock pot yesterday, then was going to have leftovers today, but it was gone, so I made another batch.


Stacielynn November 17, 2010 at 10:05 am

Can white rice be used instead of brown rice? If so, how much and how would the cooking time change?


Nat January 10, 2011 at 5:48 pm

I had the same problem with the lentils and the rice being too crunchy after 1 hr 10m. So I upped the temp to 350 for about another 30m. I made sure the lentils and rice were cooked, and the broth was no longer on top of the food. The cheese didn’t need 20m now that I had made the oven warmer. But it was delicious! I made it with broccoli, so good! I have tortillas and salsa for the leftovers (quesidillas)


Tiana March 4, 2011 at 8:25 am

Sounds great! I’m always looking for new ways to cook lentils.

I do have a question, though. What is in “Italian seasoning”? I don’t own any and have never used it. I use basil and oregano in Italian dishes…is that basically what it is, or is there something more to it?



Sandy November 7, 2011 at 12:35 am

Have made this for years. Sometimes I add taco seasoning instead of Italian. and serve over red beans. Family loves this over cornbread also. have used for burritos and enchiladas. When I use Italian season ing serve with a tossed salad.

thanks for the reminder of a good dinner


judy January 7, 2012 at 5:10 pm

where do you shop broccoli is 1.49 a lb. where i live


Jahh April 14, 2013 at 6:37 pm

Why would you add Cheese to this recipe? not only does it bump the cost, calories, and fat… it doesnt add to to the dish.


Jeff April 14, 2013 at 9:29 pm

Amazing. Period.


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