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Rice and Lentil Nourish Bowls

brown rice lentils sweet potatoes walnuts kale cashew butter sauce

A vegan rice and lentil bowl with roasted sweet potatoes, steamed kale and a creamy cashew butter sauce. I’m telling you, this is a meal I could eat for dinner every night of the week and be a very happy girl.

savory rice and lentils with roasted sweet potatoes and kale recipe nourish bowl

In addition to being well balanced and highly nutritious, this Nourish Bowl recipe is easy to make and really tasty. I love the roasted sweet potatoes seasoned cumin, oregano and paprika! The sweet and savory flavor combo is delicious and very easy to make. I just cut the potatoes into cubes, toss with seasoning, and bake until the potatoes are tender in the center and golden all over.

Meanwhile I steam some rice along side a pot of lentils that I flavor with a hunk of red onion and a bay leaf. Then I cover both pots and let them simmer while the potatoes bake. The stove really does most of the work in this recipe. It’s just a few minutes of prep and then you can let it do its thing. There’s no need to stand by stirring or monitoring, so feel free to enjoy a glass of wine for about twenty minutes while the main components of this dish come together.

In the meantime you could make a batch of The One Minute Sauce (which, you guessed it, comes together in less than a minute) This creamy cashew sauce is great on everything from grain bowls, to salads to tacos.

After that it’s just matter of steaming some kale which will take 3-5 minutes and that’s it! Dinner is ready and your kitchen will be smelling delicious.

To serve these nourish bowls I start with a layer of warm rice, spoon a generous helping of the seasoned lentils on top, then I add the sweet potatoes and then add lots of brightly colored kale. Sprinkle on some walnuts for crunch, add chopped cilantro for freshness and then drizzle…drizzle is the wrong word… then smother it all with cashew butter sauce.

vegan protein rice and lentil nourish bowl recipe

Lentils

I use dried, sprouted brown lentils here but any kind will do. Just make sure you’re not using a split lentils, like the split red lentils that are often used to make Dal. They will cook down too much and become too soft for this recipe. Instead opt for brown lentils, French Green Lentils, or black lentils. Canned lentils are also great but I like making them from dried because it’s even cheaper and it gives me an opportunity to flavor the lentils while they cook. Which means this dish has layers upon layers of flavor.

Not into kale?

No problem! Sub spinach or chard instead. You could also swap out the leafy greens for another green vegetable like broccoli, green beans, or bok choy if you prefer. It’s all delicious.

Can I make this ahead?

100% yes! That’s what I love about this recipe. I often meal prep the rice, lentils, sweet potatoes and the sauce in big batches. Then I change up the veggies – and sometimes the sauce too, depending on my mood – to keep it interesting throughout the week. Sometimes I’ll use kale, others I’ll roast some Brussel sprouts instead. If I making this for a quick WFH lunch, I’ll just grab a handful of arugula and call it a day I also like to change the sauce when meal prepping, so sometimes I’ll swap it for hummus or Bitchin sauce or Trader Joe’s Zoug Sauce.

high protein rice and lentil nourish bowl recipe with cashew butter sauce
vegan protein rice and lentil nourish bowl recipe

Rice and Lentil Nourish Bowls

Nicole Vranjican
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Vegan
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients
  

Rice

  • 1 cup white or brown rice dry
  • 1.75 cups water or low sodium veggie broth
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt I use Morton's

Lentils

  • 1 cup brown lentils dry
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 large red onion
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt I used Morton's

Sweet Potatoes

  • 5.5 cups diced sweet potatoes about 2 potatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 tsp paprika
  • 1.5 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt I used Morton's
  • 1/4 tsp balck pepper

Greens

  • 1 bunch kale

For Serving

  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 batch The One Minute Sauce recipe card below
  • lime wedges

Instructions
 

Prep

  • Preheat the oven to 375 and line a large cookie sheet with a non-stick mat for easy cleanup.
    Rinse the rice and put it in a large pot with a lid that fits on top. Add the water and salt or broth (omit the salt if using broth) Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and let steam for 20 minutes or until all of the water is absorbed and the rice is soft and fluffy.
    Rinse the lentils and add them to a pot with a lid. Add the water, onion, bay leaves and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce to low, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Note: all lentils cook a little differently so follow the cooking instructions for the time and the amount of liquid on the package instructions.
    Then peel and dice the sweet potatoes and transfer to the baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and spices. Toss to coat the potatoes evenly and then bake for 15-20 minutes or until fork tender.
    In the meantime, chop the walnuts and cilnatro and set aside. Then de-stem the kale and roughly chop the leaves. Steam the kale for 3-5 minutes until bright green and softened. Sprinkle with salt and set aside. Tip: Feel free to sauté the kale with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper for additional flavor if desired.

Serve

  • Fluff the rice with a fork and then divide between four bowls. Drain the lentils and discard the onions and bay leaves. Then spoon the lentils over the rice and top with the sweet potatoes, kale, walnuts and cilantro.
    Drizzle the sauce generously on top (recipe below) and serve with a lime wedge on the side.
    Enjoy!

Notes

ONE MINUTE CASHEW BUTTER SAUCE 
  • 1/4 cup raw cashew butter or light tahini no sugar or oil added
  • 1/2 of a large lime about 1 tbsp of juice
  • 4-5 tbsp warm water
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp garlic granules or powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion granules
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt I use Morton’s
  • 5 dashes cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup optional if using tahini, not necessary for cashew butter
  • Make the Base
  • Add the cashew butter or tahini, lime juice and 1 tbsp of water to a small bowl and stir. It will start to thicken and become lumpy…dont worry, that’s normal. Just stir until the water is absorbed.
     
    Then add another 2 tbsp of water. Stir again until completely smooth and slightly lighter in color. Continue adding water one tablespoon at a time and stirring in between until it reaches the desired consistency.
     
    Important: For cashew butter (depending on the brand you use) you may need less water. It depends on how thick you want the sauce to be. So just add it gradually until it looks good to you!
     
    Tip: Warm water works best, cold water makes it harder to mix.

Spice It Up!

  • Next add the remaining ingredients and mix until smooth. Taste and add more salt or seasoning as desired.

Serve

  • Serve drizzled on top of tacos, potato wedges or serve as a spread on sandwiches or veggie burgers. I love this spooned on top of nourish bowls with rice, lentils, roasted veggies and avocado. It’s all good! Hope you enjoy 😊

Tip:

  • Some brands of tahini are salted (the options I recommended above are salted) so this recipe was designed with that in mind. If you’re using an unsalted tahini or cashew butter, add additional salt to taste.
Keyword cashew butter sauce, rice and lentil nourish bowls, sweet potaotes
one minute cashew butter sauce recipe whole foods plant based

The One Minute Sauce

Nicole Vranjican
A creamy vegan sauce that tastes delicious on just about everything! It's a little cheesy, a little zesty, and ever so slightly smokey and best of all, there's no oil, no dairy, no sugar, no whisking and no blending! Just add a few simple ingredeints to a container and mix it up!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 1 minute
Total Time 1 minute
Course Sauces
Cuisine Vegan
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1/4 cup raw cashew butter or light tahini no sugar or oil added
  • 1/2 of a large lime about 1 tbsp of juice
  • 4-5 tbsp warm water
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp garlic granules or powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion granules
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt I use Morton's
  • 5 dashes cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup optional if using tahini, not neccessary for cashew butter

Instructions
 

Make the Base

  • Add the cashew butter or tahini, lime juice and 1 tbsp of water to a small bowl and stir. It will start to thicken and become lumpy…dont worry, that's normal. Just stir until the water is absorbed.
    Then add another 2 tbsp of water. Stir again until completely smooth and slightly lighter in color. Continue adding water one tablespoon at a time and stirring in between until it reaches the desired consistency.
    Important: For cashew butter (depending on the brand you use) you may need less water. It depends on how thick you want the sauce to be. So just add it gradually until it looks good to you!
    Tip: Warm water works best, cold water makes it harder to mix.

Spice It Up!

  • Next add the remaining ingredients and mix until smooth. Taste and add more salt or seasoning as desired.

Serve

  • Serve drizzled on top of tacos, potato wedges or serve as a spread on sandwiches or veggie burgers. I love this spooned on top of nourish bowls with rice, lentils, roasted veggies and avocado. It's all good! Hope you enjoy 😊

Tip:

  • Some brands of tahini are salted (the options I recommended above are salted) so this recipe was designed with that in mind. If you're using an unsalted tahini or cashew butter, add additional salt to taste.

Notes

This sauce keeps in the fridge for about 2 weeks. Keep in mind it will thicken up as it rests so add an extra splash of water as needed to thin it back out. 
Keyword cashew sauce, tahini sauce, vegan salad dressing

If you like this recipe please leave a comment and rate this post below! And if you’re on Instagram, tag me in a pic so I can see your recreation! @nikkivegan  

For more free vegan recipes, don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel here.

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Nicole Vranjican

Hey! I’m Nicole and I make practical vegan recipes for REAL life. I cook with simple, easy to find ingredients and I’m passionate about creating delicious plant-based meals that everyone will love!

I hope you enjoy my recipes and videos :) Happy Cooking!

Find me on: Instagram

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4 Comments

  1. Kathleen
    July 18, 2021 / 1:28 am

    5 stars
    So good I can eat this by the spoonful on its own!

    • Nicole
      Author
      August 24, 2021 / 9:12 pm

      Aw thank you so much Kathleen! That’s so nice! I’m so happy you liked it!

  2. Dina
    July 18, 2021 / 8:21 pm

    5 stars
    Made these today, used my instant pot. Sautéed onions first in the pot. Lentils took 10 mins. cook,10 min to release pressure. ( I like them really soft) For the rice I sautéed onions & a handful of chopped baby carrots. Rice took 5 mins. cook time ,then 10 mins release. Used veg. broth for both rice & lentils. Roasted sweet potatoes & brussels since I didn’t have any kale 🙁 & made the sauce. OMG ! Can’t wait to eat everything. I’m set for the week now, just add salad & maybe a steamed or roasted veggie everyday after brussels are gone. Thank you Nikki for your recipes which make my week easier & delicious 😘

    • Nicole
      Author
      August 24, 2021 / 9:11 pm

      Thank you so much Dina! I’m thrilled that you made this recipe, it’s one of my favorites. And I’m so happy that my recipes can help make your week a little easier and more delicious, that really is my goal so thank you! I hope you’re having a good day!

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