Vegan Mexican Rice and Lentils

Mexican rice and lentils are a satisfying, inexpensive, and simple dinner recipe! This one-pot healthy meal is gluten free, vegan, low fat and full of flavor. With only a handful of ingredients, this simple Mexican inspired dish is ready in about 30 minutes and requires very little work. Perfect for meal prep too!

Bowl of Mexican Rice and Lentils with a wooden handled spoon
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Why this recipe works:

  • This vegan dish is healthy, filling and full of fiber and protein
  • All you need is one pot to make this entire meal
  • Great for tacos, on salads, or homemade burrito bowls, this Mexican rice and lentil dish is perfect for meal prep

How to make Mexican Rice and Lentils in one pot:

  • Start by rinsing the rice and lentils in a mesh strainer (affiliate)
  • Once the rice and lentils are rinsed, add them to a pot with water (or stock) and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn down the heat to low and cover. Cook for about 15 minutes until the rice is cooked and the lentils are tender. 
  • Turn off the heat and add the salsa, spices and spinach. Stir well and allow the spinach to wilt. 
  • Serve hot or cold. 
Collage of how to make Mexican Lentils and Rice

How to serve this simple vegan Mexican Rice and Lentil Recipe

  • As a burrito bowl – start the bowl with chopped romaine lettuce, add the Mexican rice and lentils, top the rice and lentils with  chopped roasted red pepper, avocado, and a bit more salsa for dressing.
  • In tacos/burritos/enchiladas – serve with hard or soft taco shells and use the Mexican Rice and lentils as the taco filling instead of meat for a meatless but filling dish. Top with your favorite toppings
  • As a breakfast hash – you can use the leftover Mexican Rice and Lentils as a base for breakfast the next day. Top with eggs or coconut bacon for a simple but filling breakfast.
Large stainless steel pan filled with Mexican Rice and lentils after cooking.

FAQ’s and Substitutions:

Can you make this ahead of time?

Yes, this Mexican lentil and rice recipe can be made up to 4 days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove. 

This recipe can also be frozen in individual servings and reheated from frozen or defrosted in the fridge before reheating. 

Spoonful of lentil and rice mixture being scooped from the bowl

What kind of rice do you need to use?

This recipe calls for rice that will cook along side the lentils. You will want to use a brown rice (jasmine, basmati or regular brown rice) so that the rice doesn’t’ get over cooked while the lentils are cooking.

What kind of lentils can you use? 

This recipe calls for brown or green lentils. They can be sprouted or regular. Red lentils will not work since they cook up quicker than rice and get a very sticky texture when overcooked. 

Bowl of Mexican Rice and Lentils with a wooden handled spoon

If you like this recipe for Mexican Lentils and Rice you should try:

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Overhead shot of a large bowl filled with Mexican Rice and Lentils with a spoon to the left of the bowl over a grey napkin

Mexican Rice and Lentils

This simple, healthy recipe is easy to make and packed with flavor. These Mexican rice and lentils are naturally gluten free, vegan, low fat and are perfect for dinner tonight! Only get one pot dirty making this delicious meal!
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Vegan Mexican Lentils and Rice, Vegan rice and lentils
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

Guided Recipe Video



  • In a large pot, add the lentils and rice to the pot. Cover with water and let sit 2-3 minutes to soak. Drain the water and then cover in 3 cups of water or 1 1/2 cups of water and 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth.
  • Cook over medium high heat until the pot reaches a slight boil. Turn down to low and cover. Cook 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender and the water has been absorbed.
  • Once the water has been absorbed, turn off the heat. Add the salsa, cumin, chili powder, salt, cayenne and spinach. Stir to combine
  • Serve hot or cold. Add your favorite toppings like roasted red pepper, avocado, guacamole, greek yogurt (dairy free or regular).


Tips: Choose lentils and rice that will cook together. Choose brown or green lentils and brown rice (jasmine rice, basmati rice, or just traditional brown rice). 
This recipe can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. 

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
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    1. Hi Andrea, the rice will cook as it comes up to a boil, then once boiling, turn down the heat and cook for 20 minutes. This is how I always cook my brown jasmine rice so it seems to work for me. Let me know if you try this method!

  1. 5 stars
    Yum! So healthy and satisfying! I used Rotel instead of salsa, used 3 cups of spinach and added fresh cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lemon before serving.

  2. 5 stars
    OMG! Loved this recipe! I used spinach and instead of the stock I used 1/2 a veggie stock cube and omitted the salt as that is what I had on hand. I have eaten this with eggs at breakfast, with tofu for lunch and as a side with roasted pork! This is definitely a keeper!

  3. What if I use white rice instead of brown rice? Can I use red lentils then? I think they take around the same timw to cook.

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