Mushroom Brown Rice Bake with Caramelized Shallots, Crispy Lentils & Gremolata

Created by Laura Wright
4.84 from 12 votes

Mushroom brown rice bake with caramelized shallots, crispy lentils and gremolata is a hearty and delicious vegan main course.

Mushroom Brown Rice Bake with Caramelized Shallots, Crispy Lentils & Gremolata
Mushroom Brown Rice Bake with Caramelized Shallots, Crispy Lentils & Gremolata

The inspiration points for this mushroom brown rice bake are found in both the typical pilaf cooking method as well as mujaddara, a recipe that first appeared in a cookbook in Iraq in 1226 (!!). Mujaddara, at its core, contains cooked lentils, rice (sometimes bulgur), and crisp caramelized onions. Lots of great information on this dish can be found here.

While I wasn’t aiming to create mujaddara or a pilaf specifically, the influence from both is apparent here and I just wanted to acknowledge that before proceeding with discussion of the dish.

The structure and overall feel of this mushroom brown rice bake has a cozy, casserole vibe. The shallots get jammy and sweet. The mushrooms are super savoury. The fluffy brown rice fills it out. To top it off, we make some crispy and smoky spiced lentils and a sharp gremolata. Rice and veggies with lots of upgrades.

All simple techniques like sautéeing, roasting, and chopping come together to make this cozy and satiating savoury bake. If you live in a part of the world with some Spring-like weather but a baked meal like this seems extra appealing, this pesto, quinoa and white bean bake might be the thing for you.

Where we live, the cooler evenings make a supper like this extra appealing. Hope you’re staying well and taking care out there!

Mushroom Brown Rice Bake with Caramelized Shallots, Crispy Lentils & Gremolata
Mushroom Brown Rice Bake with Caramelized Shallots, Crispy Lentils & Gremolata

Mushroom Brown Rice Bake with Caramelized Shallots, Crispy Lentils & Gremolata

Mushroom brown rice bake with caramelized shallots, crispy lentils and gremolata is a hearty and delicious vegan main course.
4.84 from 12 votes
An overhead shot of a brown rice bake with lentils, shallots, and herbs. The bake is photographed in a braiser-style pot with a wooden spoon sticking out of the pot.
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Servings 3 -4, preferably with sides



  • 1 cup cooked brown lentils (I use Flourist Laird lentils)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5-6 regular shallots, sliced (185 grams or 0.4 lbs shallots total)
  • 1 lb (454 grams) cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce
  • ¾ cup brown basmati rice, rinsed
  • 2 ½ cups vegetable stock (plus extra)


  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 small clove of garlic, finely minced


  • Look no further for a nice vegetable stock recipe: right here. No shame in a boxed one though!
  • If you’re using dried thyme, dial the amount back to 1 teaspoon.
  • French lentils or black beluga lentils would also work well with this crisping/roasting method!
  • A 10-11-inch wide skillet that’s deep is ideal. A braiser also works! You can also saute everything and then just stir the remaining ingredients together in a greased casserole dish (3 Litre/Quart capacity)


  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Drain the cooked lentils and spread them out on a clean dish towel. Blot them until they are as dry as possible. Transfer the dried lentils to the baking sheet. Toss the lentils with the 2 teaspoons of olive oil, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Spread the coated lentils out in a single layer and roast for 5-7 minutes, or until slightly crisped up. Set aside.
  • Bring the oven temperature down to 350 degrees F.
  • Place an oven-safe, deep skillet over medium heat. Once it’s sufficiently heated it up, pour in the tablespoon of olive oil. Add the shallots to the skillet and stir. Keeping stirring and sautéeing the shallots until they are lightly caramelized, about 15 minutes. Pour in splashes of water if the pan starts drying out.
  • Once the shallots are lightly caramelized, transfer all of the mushrooms to the skillet and stir. Let the mushrooms sit for a full minute. Stir them up and season with ground black pepper. Again, let the mushrooms sit for another full minute before stirring them up again. At this point, they should be glistening and letting off moisture. Season the mushrooms with salt, and add the thyme and garlic to the skillet.
  • Keep sautéeing the mushrooms and shallots until mushrooms are quite soft and starting to brown a bit, about 3 more minutes. Pour the balsamic vinegar and the tamari into the skillet and stir. Turn off the heat.
  • Mix in the rinsed brown basmati rice and the vegetable stock. Sprinkle a few pinches of salt and pepper in and stir. Cover the skillet and transfer it to the oven.
  • Bake the mushroom brown rice bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice has fattened up. I would start checking it around the 50 minute mark. At this point, if the rice appears to be undercooked with minimal moisture in the pan, just splash in a bit more vegetable stock.
  • While the mushroom brown rice bake is cooking in the oven, make the gremolata. In a small bowl, stir together the parsley, lemon zest, and garlic. Set aside.
  • Once the mushroom brown rice bake is finished in the oven, remove it and top with the crispy lentils and gremolata. Serve hot.
Mushroom Brown Rice Bake with Caramelized Shallots, Crispy Lentils & Gremolata

16/09/2020 (Last Updated 13/03/2024)
Posted in: autumn, earthy, gluten free, holidays, lentils, main course, mushrooms, nut free, refined sugar-free, roasted, salty, side dish, spring, umami, vegan, winter


Recipe Rating

  • Heather

    This sounds delicious! Do you think adding some Kale to the skillet before cooking would turn out all right?

  • Emily

    3 stars
    This recipe looked beautiful, but the lentils came out soft rather than crispy. I used brown lentils and cooked them for 20 minutes per the directions on the package, could that account for it?

    • Laura

      Hi Emily,
      No the pre-cooking would not be the cause here. The lentils do need to be fully cooked before roasting. The best things to ensure that crunch texture is fully dried lentils and also having them well spaced-put on the baking sheet.

  • Kortneii Mackenzie

    Wow! This is so warm and hearty and the gremolata adds a fresh zest! Really enjoying my second helping at the moment. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Catherine

    The crispy lentils and gremolata are aa beautiful addition to the rice dish. Made the rice in advance and prepared the lentils just before serving it. Delicious. Will make again.

  • Madeline Walker

    I made this dish today for the first day of autumn, and it is delicious.I love the mixture of contrasting textures: soft woodsy savoury mushrooms and rice with the crispy lentils and cool green lemony topping. 
    This is quite a labour-intensive recipe, so next time, I will make a bigger quantity–double it perhaps. My lentils took about 15 or 17 minutes in the oven to get crisp, probably because the didn’t seem very dry at all when I put them in. But it worked! Thank you for healthy vegan recipes. Much appreciated. 

  • Ruth

    Flavor explosion!! I followed the recipe to a T and my partner & I both really enjoyed it. I checked the bake at 50 minutes and the rice was already done. Slightly over done actually, so keep an eye on it early on if your oven leans on the hotter side like mine. We ate this as the main course, but next time I’ll add broccolini on the side since this is a very rich dish.

  • Carol MichaelWade

    This looks wonderful; perfect for Fall!  Thank you, dear… 

  • Linda Duncan

    Do you think this recipe would double well?

    • Laura

      Hi Linda!
      I think it would, but I would only multiply the lentils + their spices by 1.5. You might need some extra vegetable stock if you’re doubling. In the recipe, I recommend checking in on the dish at the 50 minute mark and adding stock if it looks like it needs it, so if you have some at the ready and you’re comfortable using your cooking intuition a bit, I think doubling the recipe will work well!

  • Molly

    This is amazing; it even got the approval of my picky eater! I used and mix of red and brown lentils which made for nice variation in consistency. Worth the time for a cozy fall meal.

  • Amy

    My rice took forever to cook – after an hour and a half, we were starving and ate it anyway, but the rice was definitely still underdone. The recipe also doesn’t yield very much after such a long process. I definitely wouldn’t make this again.

  • Isabelle Zolkower

    This is an excellent dish!
    Make sure you leave enough time to make all the components. It’s not a quick meal. But it’s worth taking the time to prep everything.
    The only small change I made was to bring the broth to a boil before adding to the rice. It helped shorten the cooking time.
    Highly recommended!

    • Laura

      Love this tip, Isabelle! Thanks so much for sharing your experience. Glad that you enjoyed it.