Rice with Lentils and Caramelized Onions
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- 1 cup lentils rinsed and drained
- 3 bay leaves
- 6 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 2 large white onions coarsely chopped
- 2 cups Mahatma® Rice jasmine white rice or extra long white rice
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ancho chile or more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt or to taste
- 5 cups chicken broth vegetable broth or water
- In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups water with the bay leaves to a boil. Add the lentils, reduce the heat to medium, cover partially with a lid and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the lentils are just cooked and tender but not mushy or falling apart. Drain, remove the bay leaves and set aside.
- In a large wide casserole or heavy sauté pan that has a tight fitting lid, heat 4 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. The onions will first soften and become translucent and then they will brown, which is what you want. Stir and make room in the middle, add the remaining olive oil, and add the rice. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, gently stirring with the browned onions. The rice will quickly change from a grayish white to a bright white color and feel heavier in the spoon. Don’t let it brown. Make room in the middle once again, and add the cooked lentils, cumin, oregano, ground ancho chile, turmeric, coriander and salt, and stir well. Add the broth, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting, cover, and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until most or all of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is cooked. Remove the lid and check to see that the rice is cooked. If it is, fluff with a fork, and serve. If it is still a bit al dente, add a couple of more tablespoons of water, cook for a few more minutes, and test.
- Taste and adjust salt, and serve.
147comments inRice with Lentils and Caramelized Onions
Kay D. Weeks
We saw you cooking this dish Saturday on PBS and decided to try it the next day. It is a spectacular success—so good! Thank you for a great recipe.
Thanks to you for tuning in and trying the recipes Kay 😉
Gracias, las lentejas estan muy buenas.
Que bueno que te gustaron, gracias a ti!
I grew up in the southern states and love me some rice, great recipe!
What kind of lentils would work best in this dish?
For this one I use brown lentils, but I am sure either red or yellow would work as well 🙂
Majadera + Ancho chili. Good idea, wonder how it would taste with chipotle instead. Hmmm. Great blend! Hearts to Pati!
Just made this recipe and the family loved it. So easy and so many different flavors. The ancho was a big hit. For next time, I’m wondering what would be a good accompaniment. Any ideas?
I would pair it with grilled fish and a fresh avocado salad!
I made this recipe using pinto beans. Turned out amazing .My picky son said best rice and beans ever and mom don’t ever change it! I will be making it with lentils at some point .Thank you,Pati
Glad you adapted it to your son’s likings Dorota, great idea!
Interesting, I have only made this dish by cooking the rice first and then adding the lentils in the same pot. Your way might be better I will try it
Let me know how it works for you 😉
Oh my goodness! This was delicious, and I am not an onion fan, eww hate them! Can’t believe I even looked at the recipe, lol. It is also affordable and versatile. This recipe will now be a staple in our home.
So happy you went pass the onions Shaw, thanks for letting me know 😉
Good afternoon Pati’
I just finished making the Lentils and rice. I like the recipe very much. My son and daughter-in-law are
coming home from there trip and I am excited for them to try it.
Thank you as always for sharing your recipes. I enjoy trying new ones even though it’s just me. But I Love to cook
Thank you, Rose
Thanks to you for reaching out Rose! This one is a favorite of mine, I hope you and your family enjoyed it 🙂
My husband and I love your show (on PBSWHYY) and recipes!! Just subscribed to your newsletter. Your wedding cookies were a hit at our daughter’s Bridal shower. This week we are making the above recipe with your beef, potato and chilis chimichanga and the avocado and radish salad. We wish you had a restaurant close to us.
Thanks so much Carol, so glad everyone enjoyed the Wedding Cookies and congratulations on your daughters wedding!
Been watching you for years on Minnesota PBS.
It was my wife’s birthday and I made your recipe for rice and lentils. Also, made your recipe for pork carnitas and put them in a chimichanga. Dinner was a big success and was told to keep the recipes for another time.
Thank you for what you do!
Happy Birthday to your wife! So glad she enjoyed the meal you cooked for her, yay!
This recipe is amazing and definitely foolproof. I have made it several times and can’t get enough of it. Super tasty!
Glad you like it so much Cris, yay!
Ms.Patti this was my first time watching your show. Sent one of recipes to my sister
So glad you found me Olivia, hugs to you and to your sister 🙂
I can’t wait to try this. I don’t cook lentils often, but I like them. I’ll let you know how my husband and I like it. Thank you for sharing delicious and often simple recipes for everyday cooks as myself.
Hope you guys enjoyed this recipe Sandra 🙂
This recipe has become a staple in our house! This was the very first cooking show I came across on PBS and the episode had this recipe in it. I think it was a favorite of your son and my boys love it as well. Tonight it is a side to a lamb shoulder roast. Thank you Pati!
My pleasure Hilary, so glad you found me. Keep tuning in and enjoying the show please!
Anne and Tony
My husband and I love your PBS show and came across this recipe. Since we’re vegan, we knew we needed to try it and I’m so glad we did. It was absolutely delicious! It makes a lot for 2 people, but that just means lots of leftovers. Thank you, Pati!
So glad you liked the rice Anne, yay! Un abrazo to you and Tony 🙂
This was delicious!! My husband loved it! I will make this forever! Gracias Pati esta super bueno!!!
Que alegria que les haya gustado Aydee, abrazos!
Oh my this was so delicious!!! Our whole family loved it (5 & 2 year old included). Definitely on our regular rotation now!! Thanks Pati!!
My pleasure Debby, so happy the littles approved 🙂
Absolutely fantastic! Have not been able to find a really good lentil recipe.. I have now. The caramelized onions make this dish. Thanks Patti!
Happy you liked it, yay!
Kathleen N. Carey
Knew I had a stockpile (not sure how/why) of lentils in my pantry and came across the show with this recipe on it on PBS (of course) this week. I’m not a fan of lentils but my husband is always happy when I make anything with them in it so I gave it a try. I didn’t have jasmine rice but I had some half basmati and half regular mahatma in the pantry and it worked out just fine. Husband LOVED IT though he added hot sauce, as usual, to it.
So glad you decided to give this recipe a try and that your husband approved Kathleen, thank you!
This was absolutely delicious – I cut the rice & spice measures in half, but left the lentils and onions alone.
It smelled so good while cooking – did not disappoint.
This is a keeper – thanks for sharing with us.
(Secret – I served it with Trader Joe’s Kung Pao Chicken – wow! I rarely serve prepared foods, but….It was perfect together – but don’t tell anyone!)
So glad you liked the rice Marylee, and I am not surprised about the Trader Joe’s Chicken, I love that store!
This is all kinds of excellent and I will make it again. You called for the onions to have a coarse chop. I made mine a bit finer, but this turned out to be an error. I found that there is much better caramelized flavor from the onions when they are cut in a more coarse manner as you suggest. Thanks for every bit of effort you put in your recipes, I have been enjoying them often.
Thanks so much Dr. Warren for the feedback and your super kind words, so glad you liked this recipe 😉
Haven’t grocery shopped so low on food…and can’t go out due to sudden COVID lockdown. Only ingredients I have on hand: a large onion, rice and lentils. Not very exciting.
Then I come across THIS recipe(!!)…in to the style I grew up with (made by italian parents)…AND it’s from THE fabulous Pati! (sending you love & hugs from Australia 🙋🏻♀️🇦🇺). THIS is what I’ll be making tonight…and tomorrow, by the sound of it! (having just read other’s comments 🤭).
Thanks Pati! 😁🧅🍚🍪
PS they really need to add a lentils emoji. I think the choc chip cookie kind of resembles a bowl of rice and lentils though 😬
Yay! So glad you found this recipe when you needed it Carmela! Hope you liked the rice, un abrazo to Australia!
I can not wait to try this!
I love your show and your love for life and good food!
You have such a beautiful family!
Thank you for sharing all things wonderful!
Love from Colorado!
Thanks so much for your kindness Terry, hugs all the way to Colorado 🙂
Pati, estoy fascinada contigo programa en PBS!! I made the arroz con lentejas last night and it was a huge hit!! Super easy but so much flavor. Miles gracias y bendiciones para Sami con sus estudios!
Que amable Sandra, mil gracias! Un abrazo grande 😉
John S. Manley
I made this for a family gathering, and all my family fell in love with it. I had to pass on the recipe. Thank you very much.
p.s. I love watching your program on my local PBS Station here in Arkansas.
So glad the rice was a success John, yay!!! Thanks so much for tuning in, greetings to Arkansas 🙂
Really liked the rice! For leftovers the next day, I added dried cranberries. I’m a fan of sweet/savory so this really fit the bill. Granted, definitely gives off more of a Mediterranean vibe. Loved it even more.
Mediterranean sounds good to me Pam! So glad you liked this recipe 😉
Hi I just can’t wait to taste that delicious recipe.
I would like to buy your book with all the recipes that are shown on PBS what can I get that book? Thank you
Hi Thelma, thanks so much for your interest in getting the cookbooks, yay! You can read more about them, buy Pati’s Mexican Table or Mexican Today or pre order the new one coming out on October 26 in this link: http://patijinich.com/cookbook/
I really enjoy your recipes. Thank you teaching this abuelita that there is so much more variety to our dishes. I’m making this (but making half recipe)along with carne con chile right now. Gracias por compartir con nosotros
Thanks to your Frances! Hope you liked the rice and the carne con chile. Un abrazo grande 😉
What color lentils did you use?
For this recipe I used brown lentils Paul, enjoy!
Could I use green lentils? That’s all I have
Sure Margie, go for it and enjoy!
Hola Pati !! I made this for my husband along side oven roasted Cornish hens stuffed with herbs !! Delicious 😋.
Muchas Gracias 🙏🏻
Oh! It sounds yummy Cindy, thanks for sharing your delicious menu 😉
Hi Pati, I’d like to know what other rice could I use? I have not made it yet but would like to tonight. I have alboreo rice and white rice, could I use one of those? I love your show, thanks for your kindness.
White rice will be OK Kathy, good luck 🙂
What. Huge pot of deliciousness this dish is. Earthy and rich. Very satisfying. I served in with the Chicken in Ancho Salsa and they were great together. The weather is going to be not so great fir a couple of days. My family is really going to enjoy the leftovers.
Thanks for your show and recipes.
Awesome pairing Stewart, so glad the family enjoyed these recipes. Thanks to you for giving them a try 😉
Miss Paty te acabo de ver en kcet canal y me encanto felicidades en los tacos de cabeza de el señor Johnny quiero aprender a cosinar los tacos y el arroz con lentejas gracias !!!!😃😃
Que bueno que estas disfrutando la nueva temporada del programa Lorena, un abrazo grande!
Hi Pati! I made this Rice with Lentils and it was so wonderful! My Sweetie and I enjoyed the leftovers – they tasted even better the next day! I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume – it almost did not fit in my cast iron skillet! Will you tell me what kind of large skillet you are using – I love the color and size!
Hey Terry, this particular one is a Le Creuset and I believe it is 6 3/4 Qt.
Thank you Pati – I’ve been searching for that pot – but good to know it is the 6 3/4 size!! You made my day!
Yummy! I just made this. I was out of brown lentils and had to use black but it turned out great. This was my first time tasting Jasmine rice and I’ve been missing out. Thanks for sharing this.
Yay Carla, so glad you enjoyed this recipe 😉
Son las 10 pm aquí en Los Angeles y no pude resistir hacer esta receta! Deliciosa y muy fácil! Gracias!!!!!
Que alegria que se te haya antojado tanto Kelly, haha, un abrazo!
What type of lentils do you use for this?
I used brown lentils for this recipe Kim 😉
how much broth did you add at the end
5 cups Tania 😉
Could we use brown rice?
Of course Michele, just maybe add an additional 1/3 cup of liquid as brown rice takes longer to cook 😉 Enjoy.
I’m going to make this tomorrow for our Sunday evening meal with the Chimichangas. I love your show, your passion about the food, your respect for it and the respect for the people you visit. Your food takes Mexican to the next level and then some. I actually had tears when I watched your relationship your son. Thank you!
Aw, you are so sweet Liz, thanks so much. Un abrazo!
Elena Vega....EL PASO,TX.
I’ve watched you chef since first episode and still to this day…your favorite words,i’m in AWE when I watch you cook and Mmm Mmm MMMmm. Stay safe CHEF and Oh you have a beautiful family,you’re BOY’S are AWE’SOME….
Muchas gracias Elena for sticking with me for such a long time, un abrazo!
Would it be OK to sub in canned lentils?
I am not sure Morgan, canned lentils tend to be super soft and probably they will disappear by the time the rice is cooked 😉
I followed the recipe except for the chile because I have a fierce allergy to anything in the pepper/tomato family. It is just delicious my way, although I think it tastes kind of Middle Eastern instead of Mexican. The whole house smells wonderful. I will definitely make it again.
About the lentils, I’m glad you don’t cook them, Pati. I followed the recipe, cooked red lentils until just tender, added as directed. By the time the rice was done, the lentils had disappeared entirely although their taste was there. I will put them in uncooked the next time.
Great feedback, thanks so much Faith, so glad you liked this rice 😉
Beryl B from Brooklyn
I watched your Sonora special this weekend. I made this dish. Of course, I had to add a few things to make it my own. I added a couple of cloves, substituted oregano with herbs du provence. It was delicious. Love your show.
Sounds yummy Beryl, so glad you liked this rice recipe!
Great idea for a full meal Patricia 😉 Thanks for the kind words!
Heavenly and Simple!
Thanks Pati, my family loves me more because of you! 🙂
Yay Angie! So glad they love this rice 😉
Made this a second time. The “Crazy Torta” is one of my favorite Pati recipes. So what I did was marinate the chicken, and adding it after I browned the onion, then the rice, then the spices lentils. I also fried plantains and bananas on the side. Wow!! We all loved it.
Yummy, what a great idea! You made a full meal out of this recipe, bravo 😉
So good! I halved the recipe and it still made a TON! This would even be good all on it’s own for a meal. Really, really good. We also think it would go good with almost anything as a side dish.
Thanks for the feedback Dana, delighted you enjoyed this recipe 🙂
Pati, I made this last week. I often eat vegan and am always looking for great recipes with whole foods (not weird processed things made to look or taste like meat). I made exactly as written, and it was amazing. Such awesome flavor. This recipe is such a keeper. Thank you for sharing it.
Delighted that you liked it Tanya, thanks to you for giving it a chance 🙂
Our rice is almost done. Just waiting for liquid to get absorbed. Had a sneak taste and it is delicious. Just telling my husband how I don’t understand a few simple ingredients could produce a great flavorful dish. This was so simple that I watched the episode yesterday. Didn’t write anything down and was able to remember the recipe. Patti, love your show, the foods you produce and your great family. Thank you.
You are way too kind Lori, thanks so much. Love that you loved this recipe 🙂
If we don’t have ground ancho chili, what can we use as a substitute? Also, if I do find the ancho chili will it make this dish spicy or is it more for color? Thanks Patti!
You could use some Cayenne or Paprika Jazz, but if your find the Ancho chili go for it, it will not be spicy because Anchos tend to be more sweet than hot. Enjoy!
This is a fabulous recipe. I just made it, following it exactly, except for using Lundberg Basmati rice. The result is simply killer! We’re going to mix some chicken (cooked) when we serve it. Thanks! Love your show also.
Thanks for tuning in Ron! Great idea to serve this rice with chicken, yum!
Pati we’ve been teaching teenagers in Chicago to cook vía zoom since the summer. This week is lentil challenge. I’m making this, of course!!! Loved the Sonora season. Cuando gustes nos visitas virtualmente.
Muchisimas gracias Getsemani, hope your students will love this recipe 😉
Hola Pati! Love your show! I watch with my hubby and kids all the time! I want to make this rice in my 7qt pot. Do you think it’s ok…or should it be a wider skillet type pot?? Gracias!
You can go ahead and use your 7 qt, good luck!
I made it Sunday. Delicious and so flavorful! It tastes so good that it is a meal in itself!!
So glad you liked this rice Shirley 😉
My mama is from Sonora and I’m very Much Enjoying the season! I love that I can relate to everything! I’m going to try this recipe but what could I use in place of the Chile ancho? I don’t have any handy. Also, when I was a kid a told people who didn’t know what coyotas were that they were Mexican pop tarts… 🙂
You can just skip it Crystal, no problem 🙂 Mexican pop tarts, haha, that’s a good one!
I made this last night and it was yummy! Since we had leftovers I decided to fry and egg and add it to a bowl this morning with some hot sauce. Que sabroso!
Wow, great idea Lauren, que rico!
That sounds good!
Good Morning Pati,
I watch your program every weekend. I just saw your “Rice with Lentils and Caramelized Onions” recipe and gave it a try. It is delicious! The aromas are wonderful! I will continue to make this. Thank you. Have a good day.
Thanks so much for the feedback Roy, so happy you approved! 🙂
I can’t wait to try this amazing rice, onion and lentils.
Let me know how the rice came out Maggie 😉
I’m excited to try this recipe! I always love flavorful vegetarian dishes and the lentils should be good protein so you don’t feel hungry. Thanks!
Thanks so much Carlita, hope you like it!
Fantastic dish. We loved it. Love your show! My husband is from Tucson. We bring dozens of the Sonoran tortillas back home to LA every year. They are the best!!!
So glad you liked the rice Christina! Lucky you have access to Sonoran Tortillas often, yum!
Was excited to make this when I saw it, husband and kids enjoyed it! Easy to make as well.
So glad the whole family liked it Laura 😉
Good Morning Pati,
On the show, weren’t the lentils cooked in water first? Or were they soaking? If so, for how long?
Love your show!!! Every time my husband and i watch, we get so hungry. Thank You Laura Mod, Whittier CA
I don’t soak or pre cook the lentils Laura, they were just washed and drained 😉
The instructions in the recipe and in the program direct us to cook the lentils 20 minutes with bay leaves for brim tender
What a great side! Perfect for any meal: chicken, meat or fish. You can serve it with so many things. The caramelized onions and spices made for such a delicious, savory and different flavor profile. I did need a tad more salt which I never say but that’s better than there being too much salt. Thanks for another amazing recipe!
So glad you liked it!
Hoy preparé tu receta y me gustó mucho. Me hacía falta tener una receta diferente para preparar lentejas y tu receta está muy buena. Muchas gracias. La siguiente será el guisado para las chimichangas y el caldito de queso. Dios te bendiga Pati.
Que alegria que te gusto Connie! Suerte con el Chile con carne y la sopa 😉
Do you have a preferred type of lentils for this recipe? I’ve seen many different kinds at the store and am never sure which one(s) to buy. Thank you!
For this particular recipe, I use brown lentils Jennifer 😉
Thank you!! I look forward to trying this.
I am anxious to try the Rice with Lentils recipe.
Which lentils should I use?
Any Sandra, just find your favorite brand, enjoy!
I don’t know why it took so long for me to make this. Both my husband and myself couldn’t stop eating it. We Love It!
So glad you like this recipe from the new season Jeanne 🙂