I've been meaning to post this recipe for some time, but Stephanie's post today inspired me to get it out there!
Here's my personal lentil history. Well into my third decade, I was certain that I hated the hard little bean substitute. Bland, chalky texture, extreme lack of eye appeal. My lentil dislike was not for lack of exposure either. No, lentil dinners made a regular appearance in my home growing up, usually in the form of ground meat substitute. After hearing a glowing review of the following recipe, I decided to give them another try. After all, they are cheap and highly nutritious... a combo I cannot resist! So, without further delay, I give you Baked Lentils with Cheese.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine in shallow 9 x 13 baking dish:
1 3/4 c. lentils, rinsed
2 c. water
1 bay leaf
2 t. course sea salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/8 t. each marjoram, sage, thyme
2 large onions, diced
2 cloves garlic pressed or minced
2 c. canned tomatoes (sometimes I omit this)
Cover tightly and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and stir in:
2 large carrots, sliced in coins
1/2 c. thinly sliced celery
Bake covered 40 minutes until vegetables are tender. Stir in:
1 green pepper, chopped (optional)
2 T. finely chopped parsley
Sprinkle on top:
3 c. shredded cheddar cheese
Bake uncovered, 5 minutes until cheese melts. Serves 6. Total cooking time 75 minutes.
Eric groans when he hears that this dish is for dinner, but then usually says, "Oh yeah, I like this!" once it is out of the oven. Adjectives I might use to describe it are: hearty, savory, meatless, and kid-friendly. Enjoy!