Cooking while not in the kitchen: the rice cooker to the rescue! (Garlic Lentils & Kale Recipe)

Post image for Cooking while not in the kitchen: the rice cooker to the rescue! (Garlic Lentils & Kale Recipe)

by JL Fields on March 13, 2013

I don’t know about you but this week is super-busy – in an absolutely fabulous way! Lots of work for my consulting clients, editing recipes for the book, and I held sessions one and two of my vegan lifestyle class on Monday and Tuesday. Busy, busy!

The good news is that during jam-packed days such as these I turn to nutritious, hearty food to keep me going – not convenience foods. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want convenient ways to prepare those foods. While I adore the pressure cooker to no end, when I have a lot going on, and not a great deal of focus or time to pay attention, I turn to my rice cooker. Why?  I can put anything in it, cover it, set it to cook, and walk away.

Monday morning I had a 9:00 am conference call scheduled. Five minutes before I got on the phone I placed one cup old-fashioned rolled oats, one cup water, one cup almond milk, a pinch of salt, and two tablespoons almond slivers in the rice cooker. I set it to the porridge setting and went into my office. Thirty minutes later I was eating this a hot bowl of home-cooked oats, topped with banana.

Old fashioned rolled oats in the rice cooker

Serves 2.

Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Tuesday morning I had a Skype coaching session with a client so I did something very similar, only this time I made steel-cut oats: one and one-quarter cup steel-cut oats, one and one-quarter cup water, one cup almond milk, and one medjool date (pitted and diced) on the porridge setting.

steel-cut oats in the rice cooker

Yep, a half hour later I was eating another piping hot bowl of oats, topped with a half a diced honey crisp apple. (Serves 3 – 4).

As I was washing the rice cooker pot I was thinking about the class I taught the previous night. We spent a lot of time talking about quick and easy ways to cook and enjoy the fabulous five vegan food groups (vegetables, fruits, beans/legumes, grains, and nuts/seeds). Yes, I thought, it really is easy to pull something quick and delicious together and I’m going to do it right now. I made a delicious, quick, one-pot meal, and of course took a photo, wrote down the recipe, and then decided to incorporate it into session-two of my class to show my students how quickly the meal came together.

Rice Cooker Garlic Lentils & KaleRice Cooker Garlic Lentils & Kale 2My class runs from 6pm – 8pm so I had a bowl of this at 4 pm, before heading over to the office to set up, and it was so incredibly satisfying! 

Rice Cooker Garlic Lentils & Kale

by JL Fields @ JL goes Vegan

Keywords: ricecooker entree side vegan lentils kale

Ingredients (Makes 2 entrees or 4 sides)

  • 2 cups “not beef” broth
  • 1/2 cup water (if making in the rice cooker)
  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 4 cups lacinato kale, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced chunky or finely (cooks choice!)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning


For the Rice Cooker

Add all ingredients to the rice cooker.

Cook on brown rice setting for 40 – 50 minutes.

For a Sauce Pan

Add all ingredients to the sauce pan (start with 2 cups of water).

Bring the water to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer.

Cook, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes. Add water as needed to make sure the lentils are just barely covered.

Powered by Recipage

When I described the process to my students last night I reminded them that the rice cooker isn’t necessarily quicker but it is easier.  Close the lid and walk away – take a shower, make a phone call, go out for a run – and come back to a hot meal. No stirring or tending to required!

As you can see, I make much more than rice in my rice cooker. How about you? What have you been making in your rice cooker?

  • Miachel Pruett

    Simple and flavorful! Love the kale in there too.

    Sweet site! 🙂

    • JL

      Thanks, @google-63d91e7f0560fe53c386bf40145f64f6:disqus!

  • Krista

    I think you’ve sold me on getting a rice cooker. I can imagine it must be a nice option in the summer when it’s too hot to fire up a stove!

    • JL

      Definitely, @ea9b9ca6be57694d49c8321ace3ae47d:disqus! It’s great in the summer!

  • I’ve made lentils and rice in my rice cooker before — it’s really easy. But your post inspired me to throw some greens in there, too!

    • JL

      Yay, @lorenanr:disqus! I think you’ll love it!

  • Lord

    Emm…. And how long r
    u going to use rice cookers? I tried it ones and through away in the same day.
    Don’t be so silly and buy on of the multicooker, Redmond for example. I use
    4502 as model, it cooks better than rice cooker and my model can remeber
    recepes – it’s big plus!

  • Blond

    Very good experience!
    I wanna say it is so flavorful and lovely recipe, all of us know it. It was
    very surprising when I first time was doing that meal – I thought nothing good
    will happen, but now I know it is simple!

Previous post:

Next post: