This Trini-style slow cooker lentil rice bowl is filled with Caribbean inspired plant-based flavours and is a great healthy gluten-free, vegan lunch or dinner.
I wasn’t always a big fan of rice and avoided it as often as my mother would allow. However, rice was a staple in my house, so I ate much more of it than I cared to.
But as I got older and my tastes evolved, rice was one of the many things I reintroduced into my diet. I don’t eat it everyday but when I do, I actually enjoy it now. I mean what’s not to love about burrito bowls, buddha bowls and now this Trini-style slow cooker lentil rice bowl? Oh, and we can’t forget about rice pudding.
One of my main issues with rice what how bland it is so I’m always looking for ways to add flavour to rice based dishes. Usually, I rely on other part of my meal to provide that flavour. But this time I decided to get a little fancy and jazz up the rice itself.
One of the few rice meals I actually enjoyed when I was younger was black eyed peas and rice. My mother made it every new year for luck and would force us to eat it. Luckily, it tasted so good that it wasn’t really a hardship.
Since I spent the new year in Canada, I made my own vegan version back in December and fell in love all over again. So I decided to base this lentil rice bowl off of that.
The lentils and rice part of this recipe is pretty simple and calls for just 10 ingredients and 1 – 2 hours in the slow cooker. You can also prep this part of the rice bowl on the stove top or even in the oven in just 25 – 35 minutes.
The slow cooker version is my favourite since the rice and lentils mixture doesn’t turn out too moist (stovetop) or too dry (oven). It does take longer though, so the other methods are ideal if you’re pressed for time.
I also included some boiled plantains and broccoli when I was assembling the lentil rice bowl but that’s optional. You can totally eat the lentils and rice on its own or with a side salad.
The avocado however, is non-negotiable. Because what self-respecting rice bowl doesn’t come with ‘cado?
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- ⅓ cup chopped sweet peppers
- ⅓ cup finely chopped carrots
- 1 tsp chopped cilantro
- 1 sprig thyme
- ¼ cup chopped tomato
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 cup brown rice
- 2½ cups vegetable stock
- 1 18oz can lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1 plantain, boiled or steamed and sliced
- 1 head of broccoli, boiled or steamed
- pepper sauce and cilantro
- Grease crockpot with olive oil to avoid sticking
- Add remaining ingredients to the crockpot and cook on high for 1½ - 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked
- Heat oil in a large pot and saute onions, sweet peppers and carrots until softened, about 3 - 4 minutes. Add the garlic, cilantro, thyme, tomatoes and rice and saute for another 2 - 3 minutes, until fragrant
- Add the lentils and stock and stir to combine
- Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and allow to simmer for 20 - 30 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked. Add more stock or water as necessary
- Taste and add salt or pepper sauce, if desired
- If you haven't already cooked your plantain and broccoli, you can do so while the lentil and rice mixture is simmering
- Preheat the oven to 350F
- Follow steps 1 - 3, ensuring that you use an oven safe pot, preferably cast iron
- Bring the mixture to a boil after adding stock, then cover with foil and transfer to the oven
- Bake for 25 - 35 minutes until the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked
- Divide rice into 4 bowls, add plantains, broccoli and avocado
- Drizzle with pepper sauce and top with more cilantro, if desired
Want more rice? Try this wild rice burrito bowl: