Easy and one-pot are two attributes that I really like in a meal, especially when I’m tired or short on time.
One of my very favorite one-pot meals is a very loose recipe that I make depending on what veggies we happen to have in the fridge. With rice and lentils as the staples, it’s very filling and frugal, too!
The recipe I’m sharing today isn’t something set in stone. Take a look at it, then when you want to make it, take a look at what is in your fridge. Chances are, you can make something really tasty without having these exact ingredients.
Certain ingredients you want to be sure to have. Lentils, rice, and broth for sure. The canned or boxed tomatoes are pretty important, but if you didn’t have them, you would just need to add extra water or broth.
But when it comes to veggies? The possibilities are endless! Use your imagination and think of the vegetable combinations you like in other dishes. You could make this Tex-Mex style, Asian style, or Italian style depending on the veggie combinations you create.
To get you started, this is a version that we recently enjoyed. It’s very filling, so healthy, and really easy on the budget.
Easy One-Pot Rice, Lentils, & Veggies
- 2 tablespoons butter, coconut oil, or other heat-stable fat
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 cups chopped carrot
- 3-5 cloves garlic, minced (we do 5 cloves)
- 2 cups whole grain rice (brown, black, red, or other)
- 2 cups brown lentils, rinsed and sorted
- 1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 large 26 oz. can or box of diced tomatoes (I love the Pomi brand from Vitacost! No BPA lining in the boxes. PS! Use my Vitacost referral link and get $10 off your first purchase of $30 or more. I’m a frequent Vitacost shopper and love the prices and selection!)
- 1-2 cups water
- 1 large bunch of kale, sliced
- 2 cups chopped mushrooms
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 1-3 teaspoons salt, to taste
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- Cracked pepper, to taste
- In a large pot, sauté onion in butter over medium heat until lightly browned. Add the carrot and sauté an addition few minutes.
- Add the garlic and rice and sauté while stirring often for a couple of minutes. Add the lentils, broth, tomatoes, and 1 cup water. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 20 minutes.
- Add the vegetables and seasonings, cover, and cook for an additional 20 minutes or until the rice is tender. Check the dish to see if additional water is needed.
- Season with additional salt or pepper to taste, and enjoy!
Even with this big array of veggies, my children gobble up meals like this. If your children are a bit pickier when it comes to veggies, try sprinkling some cheese over the top.
If you want a more stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal, you can certainly add some cooked meat, too!
Lots of meals like this are featured in The Frugal Secrets of Real Foodies, an ebook I co-wrote with four other frugal foodie friends. If you’re looking for whole food, family friendly, and easy-on-the-budget tips and recipes, this ebook is for you!