I’ve been holding out on you. We tried this recipe months ago, and I have made it almost every week since then. However, it was summertime, and this is really more of a warm, cozy fall dish. I wanted to save it until the weather caught up to casseroles. This delicious vegan casserole is strong on protein and virtually fat free. It is also very filling.
There were high levels of skepticism at our house when I first put Mexican Lentil Casserole on the menu. For insurance, I prepared it as a side dish instead of an entree. This way, even if everyone hated it, we wouldn’t have to order pizza for dinner. This dish was a success – simple, hearty, and enjoyed by almost all of us right away. Baby Hippie freaking *loved* this stuff. Little Hippie wasn’t so sure, but that’s pretty typical for new dishes – it took about 4 more tries to make her a believer. The hubby and I thought it was great. Fast forward, though, to two days later. Quesadilla night. When you add melty cheese to these lentils, you create a work of art. Lentil and brown rice quesadillas. So delicious. Who knew?
Like I said, we make a crock of these lentils on a near-weekly basis. They start as a taco filling, then the leftovers find their way into quesadillas and side dishes for the next few days. I tried freezing a few containers of them before my last surgery, and it worked out okay – they ended up being a little mushier than I would have wanted, but the flavor was still terrific. Next time I try to freeze the lentils, I will undercook them a little to see whether that helps.
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup uncooked lentils
- 1.5 cups cooked brown rice
- 1 six-ounce can tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp. chili powder
- 1 packet taco seasoning (or use this recipe and make your own. A tablespoon and a half of this mix was just about perfect)
- In medium saucepan, combine onion, green pepper, celery and water. Bring to boil over medium heat. Stir in lentils. Cover pot, reduce heat and simmer 40 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a casserole dish with nonstick spray.
- Remove lentil mixture from heat and stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into prepared casserole.
- Bake uncovered for 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Source: Jackson Hole Cooks! by Rebecca Woods