To do this quickly you will need something like an Instant Pot (fancy pressure cooker, I have a Crockpot version) – although you can do this on the hob as well – it will just take longer and you will have to add ½ cup of extra liquid and be careful that it does not burn.
🍽️ Cook the rice – I cheat, add it to my Japanese rice cooker, and push.
🍽️ If you are using rice pudding or sushi rice, remember to rinse it before cooking. Also, don’t forget to rinse your lenses before use.
🍽️ Bung anything else that isn’t rice or toppings into your pressure cooker, stir and close, moving the valve to seal.
🍽️ Cook in manual mode for 6-7 minutes.
🍽️ Gently release the pressure, and when it’s safe, open the lid and stir.
🍽️ It should be thick enough, with the lenses keeping their shape but being soft when you bite them.
🍽️ You can add more seasonings to taste at this point if you feel the need, or a little water or broth if it is too thick.
🍽️ You can also put it back in place for 1 to 2 minutes if it is still a bit runny – it will depend on what you used to cook them as all cookers are slightly different.
This should make four smaller portions, or if you have a bigger appetite you can call it two large portions. You can either put everything in a bowl and eat it that way, or lay it with the rice underneath, a mound of lentils on top, and salad, avocado or other toppings on the side (it becomes then the Japanese dish ‘taco rice’).
If you keep it in four servings, that whole dinner comes down to around 16p per serving, so you might think you can afford to add some of those optional extra toppings.
One cup of dried lentils makes about 2 ½ cups of cooked lentils, or about 500 g. The equivalent amount of raw ground beef is £ 1.59 at Asda, so you’re considering around 43 pence per serving for the meat-based version, making the vegan recipe 67% cheaper to prepare.