Rice and Lentils
This vegan Mediterranean rice and lentils recipe is made with cooked rice, canned lentils and za’atar seasoning for a quick, easy and flavourful dish that’s perfect for a healthy, flavourful main or side.
- Dietary Features: Vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, sugar-free, can be oil-free.
- Nutrition Features: High in protein, high in fiber, low in fat.
- Great way to use up leftover rice.
- Quick and easy recipe that’s ready in under 30 minutes with minimal ingredients.
- Perfect dish for meal prep and pairs will with a protein of choice or can be enjoyed as a main dish or added to salads or wraps.
Ingredient & Substitution Notes
Complete list of ingredients with amounts and instructions is located in the recipe card below.
- Olive Oil: Can be substituted with avocado oil or for an oil-free recipe, water or broth.
- Bell Pepper: Any colour of bell pepper is suitable.
- Onion: White or yellow onion works.
- Spinach: Use fresh spinach or substitute it with kale.
- Cooked Rice: Any cooked white or brown rice works. I like to use rice that’s been stored in the fridge overnight for the best “fried” rice texture.
- Lentils: You can use 1 15 oz can of lentils or about 1.5 cups of cooked green or brown lentils.
- Za’atar Seasoning: Za’atar is a Middle Easter spice mix that includes thyme, oregano, sesame, marjoram, cumin and coriander. It’s readily available online or in well-stoked grocery stores.
- Sumac: Optional additional seasoning (za’atar already contains sumac so feel free to skip the additional flavouring).
- Olives: I love kalamata olives here but black olives would also work. If you don’t like olives, you can leave them out.s
Step-by-Step with Photos
Step 1: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and bell peppers and cook until fragrant and softened, about 2-3 minutes.
Step 2: Add the chopped spinach, stir and cook for another 2 minutes.
Step 3: Add the cooked rice, lentils and spices, stir well and cook for a few minutes until the rice is heated through.
Quick Tip: After stirring in the rice, spread the mixture evenly in the pan and let it sit for a few minutes without stirring to allow to brown slightly on the bottom.
Step 4: Stir in the kalamata olives. If you don’t like olives, go ahead and skip this step! I like kalamata here but you can also use black olives.
Season with salt, pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and enjoy!
You can but I green or brown lentils work a lot better here. Red lentils are mushier when cooked so the final dish with have a different texture. Green and brown lentils hold their shape better so are better suited to a recipe like this.
If you’re looking for red lentil recipes, try my Red Lentil Pasta Sauce, Coconut Red Lentil Dahl or Red Lentil Cauliflower Curry.
Any cooked brown or white long-grain rice works. For best results, use cooked rice that’s been stored in the fridge overnight.
Za’atar is a super yummy, versatile seasoning you can use so many ways, so definitely take a look for it if you can!
If you can’t find any or don’t have any on hand, you can replace the 2 tsp of za’atar with 1 tsp each dried oregano, thyme, sesame seeds and salt. You could also use 2 tsp of dried mixed herbs and a pinch of salt and lemon.
Making Ahead & Storage
- Can be made up to 5 days in advance so works well for meal prep.
- Let cool completely before storing
- Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Not suitable for freezing.
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- 1 tbsp olive oil (15 mL, use water or broth for oil-free)
- 1 white onion, finely chopped (approx. 1 cup, 150 g)
- 1 bell pepper, finely chopped
- 2 cups fresh spinach, finely chopped (60 g)
- 2 ½ cups of cooked long-grain white or brown rice (575 g)
- 1 15 oz can lentils, rinsed and drained (or 1.5 cups cooked green or brown lentils)
- 2 tsp za’atar seasoning
- 1 tsp sumac, optional
- ¼ cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced (45 g)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- squeeze of fresh lemon juice, optional
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add the onion and bell pepper cook until fragrant and beginning to brown, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in the chopped spinach and cook for another 2 minutes,
- Add the cooked rice, lentils and za’atar, stir to combine and cook until rice is hot, allowing to sit for 2-3 minutes at a time to allow it to brown and crisp.
- Stir in the kalamata olives and remove from heat.
- Season with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice, if desired.
The fried rice can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge up to 5 days. Not suitable for freezing.
- Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
- Calories: 286
- Sodium: 273 mg
- Fat: 5 g
- Carbohydrates: 49 g
- Fiber: 9 g
- Protein: 11 g
Keywords: rice and lentils, mediterranean rice and lentils