One-Pot Lentils with Brown Rice, Squash, Chard, and Caramelized Onions

One-Pot Lentils with Brown Rice, Squash, Chard, and Caramelized Onions

It was one of those nights where I had no clue what to make for dinner. But it was getting late and we were getting hungry.

Ok, well let me start by thinly slicing and caramelizing an onion. And while that was going, I kept alternating with sticking my head in the refrigerator and pantry. I knew it had to be a one-pot meal. Let’s see, here are open bags of green lentils and brown rice. Ok, that could work. Oh, maybe I can make mujadara!

(Side note: Mujadara is an amazing Middle Eastern dish with lentils, rice, and lots of crispy onions. I highly recommend trying it!)

Naw, I want to make sure I get some veggies in, and I don’t want to dirty another dish. Ok, so let me kinda build on the lentils and rice dish and toss in what veggies I had in the fridge. Half a kabocha squash and a bunch of chard, perfect! Oh, and here is some of that Middle Eastern-inspired spice blend I had leftover from that cauliflower I had roasted.

And this time, I remembered to document my process and to keep track of my ingredients! And I’m so glad I did because it was delicious! Jelani had 3 full servings of it (and then ate the little that was left the next day before I managed to get my hands on it). So here is a condensed version of my random thought process as I cooked this heart, vegan, one-pot meal!

Halve and thinly slice an onion as a heavy-bottomed pot warmed up over medium heat with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Toss in the onion and turn down the heat to medium-low to let the onion slowly cook until golden brown over the next 15 or so minutes.

When the onions were good and caramelized, I stirred in the last two slightly heaping teaspoons of a spice mix I had made (that contained turmeric, allspice, black pepper, paprika, cinnamon, cumin, cloves, and cardamom) and 4 minced garlic cloves.

Cook for about a minute before adding the brown rice. Stir to coat the rice in the spices and then add 2.5 cups of water and about half a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover, and cook for about 10 minutes.

Stir in the lentils and cubed kabocha (or butternut) squash. Cover and cook for about 25 minutes.

While that is cooking away, tear the leaves of a bunch of chard into small pieces. Save the stems for another use. Have you ever done a quick pickle to thinly sliced chard stems? Yummy!!

Anyway, after 25 minutes, stir in the chard.

Cover and let cook for about 5 more minutes. Remove the lid, check to make sure the lentils and rice are fully cooked.

Yup, looks good to me! Taste again, does it have enough seasoning? It needs just a tiny pinch more salt. Stir that in.

Ok, now we are really hungry, so let’s just get that into bowls and dig in! I didn’t think about this until afterward, but a dollop of plain yogurt or, one of my favorites, yogurt with some garlic and lemon would have been a fantastic addition.


One-Pot Lentils with Brown Rice, Squash, Chard, and Caramelized Onions

A hearty, comforting, one-pot meal full of lentils, brown rice, and vegetables.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Author: Rachel at Fridge Two Table


  • 1 onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 3 cups cubed kabocha or butternut squash
  • ¾ cup brown rice
  • ¾ cup green or brown lentils (picked through for debris)
  • cup water
  • 1 bunch chard
  • spice mixture
  • olive oil
  • salt

Spice Mixture

  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp all spice
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • tsp cinnamon
  • tsp paprika
  • tsp cardamom
  • tsp cloves


  • Combine the ingredients for the spice blend in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Halve and thinly slice the onion. Mince the garlic. Cut the squash into about ½ inch cubes. Tear the chard leaves into small pieces.
  • Heat about 1 – 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook on medium to medium-low for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until they are golden brown and very soft.
  • Stir in the spice mixture and garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the rice and then add the water and about ½ teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Add the lentils and squash, stir, cover, and cook for about 25 more minutes. The lentils, rice, and squash should be just about done at that point.
  • Stir in the chard, cover, and cook for about 5 more minutes, or until the rice, lentils, and squash are cooked through. Taste and adjust seasoning to your taste. Enjoy!


This would be fantastic with plain yogurt or garlic-yogurt sauce dolloped on top.
My go-to garlic yogurt sauce is 1 cup plain Greek yogurt with 1 large minced garlic clove mixed in. Then add salt and lemon juice to taste.

Did you try this recipe? Did you make some tweaks? Do you have a question? Just want to say hi? Please leave a comment!