Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Baked Lentils with Cheese

This recipe is the reason I bought the More-With-Less cookbook; it's one of my husband's all-time favorite meatless dishes (and he likes a lot of meatless entrees). This unassuming list of ingredients turns faintly sweet and savory during the cooking; the sum is much greater than the parts. It's also a great recipe to have on hand for the last few days of the week/month since everything keeps well. Don't let the long ingredient list deter you--you probably have everything on hand (except maybe lentils), and this makes a large casserole so you can have leftovers tomorrow! Don't skimp on the cheese--it forms a terrific "crust" that really makes the dish. This takes a while to bake, so it's a perfect get-it-ready-during-kids'-naptime-and-walk-away dish. This is also a good early table food dish; everything is soft enough for kids without teeth and it's packed with good nutrients.

updated 8/22/13: we mixed in some brown basmati rice for a delicious variation: 1/2 c. rice, 1 c. lentils, 3 cups water (all else is the same). It's a touch more watery, but the kids loved it and it's an easier way to introduce lentils to skeptics. (this is the version in the picture above)

Baked Lentils with Cheese
From More-with-less

  • 1 3/4 c. lentils, rinsed
  • 2 c. water (can also use chicken stock)
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 2 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. pepper
  • 1/8 t. marjoram
  • 1/8 t. sage
  • 1/8 t. thyme
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 c. canned tomatoes (roughly 1 can; I don't drain)
  • 2 large carrots, thinly sliced (1/8-inch thick)
  • 1/2 c. thinly sliced celery (1 stalk or so)
  • 1 green pepper, chopped (optional--sometimes I add red)
  • 2 T. finely chopped parsley
  • 3 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine lentils through tomatoes in large 9x13-inch baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and stir in carrots and celery. Bake, covered, another 40 minutes until vegetables are tender. Stir in green pepper and parsley. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake, uncovered, 5 minutes until cheese melts.

Serves 6-8
Serving Suggestions: fruit and cornbread or sweet potatoes (baked alongside casserole)


Jill said...

This is one of my favorite lentil recipes, too. I love More with Less! You're right about it being perfect for kids, this is the recipe that convinced my kids to like lentils!


Sarah said...

Has anyone ever done this with brown rice in the mix?

Betsy said...

Mmm.... that sounds yummy. We love brown rice and lentils. I bet it would work fine. Add more water if you're adding rice; if you're taking out an equal portion of lentils, then you can probably leave the water the same.

kathy said...

Do you cook the lentil in a pot?

Betsy said...

Nope, Kathy--they cook right in the pan. Just make sure the pan is covered tightly with foil.

Denise said...

I found MWL back in the mid to late 80s and the recipes, tips, and such got our family through some very tough times. This recipe is still one of my favorites!

I give the book as a gift to young couples, struggling folks, etc.

I’m so glad the book is still used by folks.