Note: In 2018 I made an Instant Pot version of this recipe! If you have an IP, you can check out the new version here: Instant Pot very veggie lentil bake.
As a food blogger who needs to come up with new recipes on an almost daily basis, I don’t often have a chance to revisit old favourites – I think you guys would have a riot if I just posted the same four recipes over and over (…do any of you actually care that much?). But occasionally I just think stuff it, I’m going to repost something I’ve made before. Because sometimes I just want to. You’ll cope.
This very veggie lentil bake is basically a revamped version of the easy cheesy lentil bake I posted back in February 2012 (who even remembers that far back anyway? Back when our biggest problem was the impending end of the world… ah, those were the days).
The recipe was so unbelievably good and the old photos were so unbelievably not good that I thought it deserved a revival. With a new, but equally silly, name. Back then, it was pretty much my favourite recipe in the world, and not much has changed.
A lovely reader recently reminded me of this recipe, and I was inspired to make it again. They tweeted me a photo and called it ‘absolutely their favourite dish’ – colour me chuffed! So just in case you think my own raving about this recipe sounds insincere, rest assured that at least one person agrees with me.
Of course, since I can never follow a recipe to the letter, even if it’s my own recipe, I did make a few minor changes to this version. I made it bigger, for one (it’s that good, you’ll be happy to have extra), and used slightly different veggies, because I was too lazy to go shopping. It’s pretty adaptable – just use whatever veggies you have on hand (I do love a good fridge clearer!).
You can skip the cheese if you’d prefer a vegan lentil bake, but it does add a lovely flavour and gives that crispy topping, which is always a major plus. It’s not exactly an attractive dish, but crispy cheese goes a long way to making anything look enticing.
- 110 g red lentils (~ 1/2 cup)
- 75 g white rice (~ 1/4 cup)
- 650 ml vegetable stock (~ 2 1/2 cups), or 2 stock cubes made up in 650ml water
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 small leek or 1/2 large leek, sliced
- 1 bell pepper, diced fairly small (I used orange)
- 5 medium mushrooms, diced fairly small
- 1 small courgette (zucchini), or 1/2 large courgette, diced fairly small
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- Black pepper
- 90 g grated cheddar cheese (~ 1 cup)
Boil the lentils and rice for 15-20 minutes in the vegetable stock, stirring occasionally. You'll need to stir constantly during the last 5 minutes or so, to ensure they don't stick to the bottom of the pan. Once they're cooked, don't drain the water, but instead continue stirring over the heat until enough water has boiled off for the mixture to resemble porridge.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan, and add the chopped leek, pepper, mushrooms and courgette. Cook over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft.
Heat the oven to 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F).
Combine the cooked lentils and vegetables in a large mixing bowl, and add the paprika, cayenne pepper, and plenty of black pepper. Mix well.
Transfer half of the mixture to a baking dish, and sprinkle over half of the grated cheese. Add the remaining lentil mixture, smooth out the top, and finish with the remaining cheese.
Bake for around 25-30 minutes, until the cheese topping is golden brown and crispy.
Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for 1/4 of the recipe.
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