Slow Cooker Lentil and Brown Rice Tacos

Slow Cooker Lentil and Brown Rice Tacos | Melanie Makes

Never in a bijillion years did I think I’d ever have my meat and potatoes loving husband requesting a dish with lentils, but it’s happened!  These Slow Cooker Lentil and Brown Rice Tacos have quickly become a family favorite.  So much so that I can’t recall the last time I prepared tacos with ground beef – these are better!  They’re also an amazing economical alternative to a traditional beef taco filling.

Talk about a hands free meal!  Stir together all of the ingredients in your slow cooker and then walk away!  For that reason alone, they have become one of my favorite weekend lunch meals as I’m able to prep them before breakfast and not think about them again until my stomach starts growling for lunch.

Slow Cooker Lentil and Brown Rice Tacos
  • 1 cup lentils
  • ½ cup brown rice
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4-1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  1. Add all ingredients to slow cooker and stir to combine.
  2. Cover and cook on HIGH 4 hours, stirring once during the last hour of cooking.

Slow Cooker Lentil and Brown Rice Tacos | Melanie Makes

This lentil and brown rice filling is also great as a topping for nachos or on a bed of lettuce for a taco salad.  It’s super versatile and make a lot!  One recipe can feed our family of five for dinner, two of us for lunch the next day and me the day after.  Talk about bang for your buck!


  1. Miriam molloy says:

    Your blog is now easily viewed on my iPhone! Yay! Thank you!

    • Hi, Miriam!

      Yes, thanks for noticing! I had to actually hire a developer to fix the bug. Boo! So glad it’s all resolved!

  2. This sounds divine. All of your meatless recipes have been huge hits around here, will definitely try this one next!!

  3. I’ve been meaning to try these out in my slow cooker to make life even easier. Thanks for trying these so that I don’t have too. Now I’ll make them this way to save me even more time.

  4. I had this bag of red lentils I didn’t know what to do with and found your recipe. I made it yesterday so I could eat some for dinner today! I can’t wait to try it. I didn’t realize it would make so much though, do you think I could freeze some?

    • Hey, Kimberly!

      Let me know what you think – hope you enjoyed them!

      I definitely think you could freeze the leftovers, I would just add a bit of liquid – broth or water – to them when reheating so they aren’t too dry. The texture will likely be a bit different when reheated, but they should still taste just as good!

  5. I tried this today and it was fantastic!! So much easier than browning and draining ground beef (or other ground meat). I put together the night before and then cooked it all day on low while I was at work (added a little extra water since I would be cooking longer and since it would sit overnight in the fridge). Everyone in the family liked it, even my 10 y.o. who “isn’t a fan of tacos” (I served it on tortilla chips for him).

    Thank you so much for posting! Now meatless Mondays/taco Tuesdays are so much easier!

  6. just curious approx. how many tacos do you get out of this recipe? I was trying to figure out how many calories per serving: )

    • melanie says:

      Hi, Tulsa –

      This makes a LOT of tacos. It will feed our family of 5 for dinner with plenty leftover for lunch the next day. If I’m guessing, I’d say at least 15 tacos?

  7. Hi there! Glad to read your guest post!! Your recipes are unique and that’s what I need!! Well that and…easy. :) We’ve never tried lentils though. I put a shout out to my Twitter & FB peeps to get their take (#YumOrYuck) on the topic, but we are going to try them in the meantime. Thanks mucho!!

  8. Hi Melanie, this sounds really good. Looking forward to trying these. I am going to make them for my lunches next week. But I was wondering what size slow cooker would work best or what size did you use. I have two slow cookers, one large oval shaped and one smaller round shaped. Which do you recommend? Thanks!

  9. Your photos are great! This would be a great back to school recipe. I’m hosting a link party for back to school ideas. I would love for you to share this recipe to the link party if you have the time. link to Thank you and I really love your blog. Sincerely, Cecelia

  10. Mike Hess says:

    leaving for the day…so am trying on low and not high..will let you know the results…Mike

  11. Mike Hess says:

    7 hours on low works as well as 4 hours on high….

  12. Stephanie says:

    Finally tried this for dinner tonight. Fabulous! Thanks, Melanie! I love your blog.

  13. This was a disaster! Followed the directions to a T. It came out like mush.

    • I’m so sorry to hear that you weren’t happy with the end result! I’ve made this dish so many times and haven’t ever had any issues. I’d love to troubleshoot with you to see what might’ve went wrong.

      Feel free to send me and e-mail to see if we can figure out the problem!

    • I know this is an old post, but maybe Sherlock used canned lentils (already soft) instead of dry? I will be trying this recipe over the weekend. It is dry lentils, right?

  14. Hi Melanie – it’s another Melanie! Great name. lol I can’t remember how I found this recipe – probably on Pinterest – but I have it going in the Crockpot right now and it smells so good in here. I “cheated” and opened the Crockpot lid to look at the mixture and it looks nice and thick, just like hamburger meat. I eat mostly vegetarian – and I love tacos – so this is a great recipe for me. I’m doing a blog post right now about my kitchen and I’m going to talk about your recipe, too. (Don’t worry, I will link back..) Have a fantastic day!

  15. You never steer me wrong, Mel. Made this for dinner tonight and we loved it!

    • melanie says:

      So so glad you guys liked it – you’d be thrilled to know we haven’t used ground beef for tacos since this recipe was made!

  16. Melissa says:

    Made this for dinner tonight, and it was delicious! I substituted organic chicken stock for the water and squeezed lime juice over the beans in the taco shell. Will make again! Thank you!

    • melanie says:

      So glad you enjoyed it, Melissa – it’s definitely one of our faves! It also is awesome over lettuce as a salad the next day for lunch if you have leftovers.

  17. Thank you for this! It was soooo good. I love meat tacos, but I loved this just as much or more. Topped them with cherry tomatoes, lettuce, cilantro, cheese and chipolte cream and they were so delicious. The texture is perfect. I cooked it on low for about 7 hours. Thank you!

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know you tried it and enjoyed it, Meg! Totally made my day!


  1. […] Monday: Slow Cooker Lentil and Brown Rice Tacos.  Our absolute favorite taco filling!  Simply pour the ingredients into your slow cooker and […]

  2. […] Cooker Lentil and Brown Rice Tacos Recipe slightly adapted from Melanie Makes, which was adapted from The Complete Guide to Imperfect […]

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