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Vegan Picadillo with Lentils

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian
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Big Kids Plate
Toddler Plate

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Why we love it:

Picadillo is definitely a ground meat dish, but we’re inspired by the layers of flavor for this one. The texture of lentils is reminiscent of the texture in a classic picadillo. Hope you enjoy this version as much as we do!


  • 1 cup Basmati Rice (White)
  • 2 cups Water (plus more to taste)
  • 12 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 Red Onion (small)
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 12 pound Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can Green Lentils
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 14 cup Tomato Paste (4 Tablespoons)
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
  • 14 cup Raisins
  • 2 cups Vegetable Stock (or water)
  • 12 cup Green Olives, Pitted
  • 2 Tablespoons Capers

Cooking Instructions

  • 1. RICE

    Combine the rice and water in a small pot with a fitted lid. Stir in a ½ teaspoon of salt. Bring the water to a boil and stir it well, then turn to lowest possible heat. Cover and steam for 17 minutes. When time is up, stir and turn off the heat. Let the rice sit for another 5 minutes or until ready to eat.

  • 2. CHOP

    Mince the garlic. Dice the red onion. Dice the red bell pepper. Set aside.

    Wash and dice the potatoes into small ½” pieces. Set aside.

  • 3. LENTILS

    Open, drain, and rinse the can of lentils. Drain. Iif you want to cook lentils from dry, just boil them with water and a little bit of salt; simmer for about 30 minutes until they’re tender but hold their shape).

  • 4. STIR FRY

    Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a deep skillet or large pot, add the garlic, onion and red bell pepper and cook over medium-high heat until lightly golden at the edges; about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and spices (oregano, cumin, salt), stir and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.


    Add the raisins, stock, and potatoes. Bring to a boil, cover and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through.

  • 6. FINISH

    Finally, add the rest of the ingredients (cooked and drained lentils, olives and capers), stir and cook for 5 minutes more over medium-high heat.

  • 7. SERVING

    Serve rice topped with lentil picadillo on top.

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    garbanzo beans, sweet potatoes, cauliflower rice, or omit
    omit if you dislike

Kid Friendly Version

Big Kids Plate
Toddler Plate

How to Tweak This Recipe for Kids:

  • Separate out some cooked lentils before adding the raisins, capers, olives, if any other these things will be a concern
  • Serve with plain rice on the side
  • Offer some olives or raisins in a separate pile

For Toddlers

  • Mash some lentils and rice together, even using a knife to mince it up. This makes a nice consistency
  • Add sliced bell pepper on the side
  • Offer chopped olive and raisins if they’re big enough
  • Serve with fruit and bread

For Choosy Eaters

  • Try some plain lentils and rice. Or scoop out some potatoes and roast or mash them instead of lentils
  • Serve with plain white rice, add a steamed vegetable that works for them and some fruit or bread

Prep Ahead & Use It Up

  1. Cook the rice
  2. Cook the picadillo – it tastes great reheated a day or two later. It also freezes very well
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