These incredibly easy Slow Cooker Lentil and Brown Rice Tacos will completely change your weekly taco night. Simply add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker, stir and walk away. Dinner will be waiting for you, not the other way around.
Keep in touch! Subscribe to receive Melanie Makes recipes direct to your inbox.
Original content posted January 2014. Updated January 2019.
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 and vegan 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 weeknight meals. I love being able to add everything to the slow cooker around lunch time and have dinner waiting for us just a few hour slater. Low maintenance meals are the best!
But this isn’t my first time using my slow cooker to up my taco game, my friends. My Slow Cooker Hoison Chili Chicken Tacos have a bit of an Asian flare, while my Slow Cooker Honey Mustard Pork Tacos with Candied Bacon are a pork lover’s dream come true.
TIP: I like to make this recipe in this slow cooker – it comes in 4, 6 or 8 quart options – or using the slow cooker function of my Instant Pot. If using your Instant Pot, you’ll want to use the tempered glass lid instead of the top that comes with it and is used for pressure cooking.
Lentils, brown rice and the usual taco seasoning suspects make up these incredibly easy Slow Cooker Lentil and Brown Rice Tacos. Simply add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker, stir and walk away. Dinner will be waiting for you, not the other way around.
This versatile and budget friendly taco filling is also great as a topping for nachos, on a bed of lettuce for a taco salad and as a filling for quesadillas or burritos.
How to Make Slow Cooker Lentil and Brown Rice Tacos
 Add lentils, brown rice, onion and garlic to insert of slow cooker.
TIP: You want to use green lentils in this recipe, NOT red. Red lentils tend to fall apart while they are cooking which makes them the best choice for a soup, rather than this taco filling.
 Add chili powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper.
 Pour water into slow cooker mixture.
TIP: Want to add even more flavor? Feel free to substitute vegetable broth – or chicken or beef or mushroom! – in place of the water called for in the recipe.
 Stir to combine. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours.
TIP: For lentils that will retain their shape and still have some “bite” to them, cook for three hours, for softer lentils, cook four hours.
 Stir taco filling once during the last hour of cooking.
TIP: A quick stir during the final hour of cooking helps to redistribute any remaining liquid and also gives you a sense of how much cooking time you’d like to give the lentils and rice to obtain the texture you prefer.
If you’ve tried these Slow Cooker Lentil and Brown Rice Tacos or any other recipe on Melanie Makes, please let me know your thoughts in the comments below. I love hearing from you and respond to each and every comment!
Slow Cooker Lentil and Brown Rice Tacos
- 1 cup green lentils
- 1/2 cup brown rice
- 1 onion diced
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 4-1/2 cups water
- Add all ingredients to slow cooker and stir to combine.
- Cover and cook on HIGH 3-4 hours, stirring once during the last hour of cooking.
Have extra lentils hanging out in the pantry after Taco Tuesday? These Cauliflower Lentil Sloppy Joes, Lentil Enchilada Casserole and Spaghetti with Vegetarian Lentil Bolognese would all be a delicious way to put them to use.