So, how was your Valentine’s Day? Did you go for dinner, or stay in? Do absolutely nothing? We took it easy and made a fancy dinner once the boys were in bed – lobster tails, grilled steak with mushrooms, and creamy parmesan risotto. I put some peas in the risotto so there was at least some green….! Dessert was two massive chocolate lava cakes with ice cream. We ended up multiplying the recipe I had for the lava cakes by 1.5 since the ramekins I used were larger than what the recipe called for….I don’t even want to think about the amount of butter consumed.
Needless to say, we were FULL.
After nights like that, I definitely need some lighter meals for a few days. I’m pretty excited to share this cheesy lentil bake with you guys! It totally fits the bill for an easy vegetarian meal made of pretty basic ingredients that you can throw together quickly. We all need a few of these in our back pocket, right?
I’ve placed this dish under my Meatless Monday category, but I’m also filing it under Wee Ones. The boys both LOVED this dish, making it a really wonderful meal to serve to kids and babies that are just starting on solids. It’s full of healthy vegetables and lentils, and while firm enough to pick up, it’s also very soft and easy for babies to gum (or old people, for that matter…. 😉 )
The bake will require a little bit of preparation, but nothing crazy. You’ll need to sauté the vegetables and simmer the lentils before baking, so the total cook time is about an hour. Not 30 minutes, but not too bad. I used a 9″ pie plate for this recipe, but you could also fit this into an 8″ x 8″ casserole dish if you prefer; you just might need to increase the bake time by 5 minutes or so since the dish is a bit deeper than the pie plate.
I had leftover butternut squash on hand when I made this, but you could easily swap the squash for a sweet potato!
While the flavours in the bake are fairly subtle (again, perfect for kids), that little bit of fresh thyme really makes a difference. You could absolutely leave it out, or try freelancing with a few different spices – or cheeses! I have been meaning to try this dish again using our favourite jalapeno monetary jack cheese, just to give it a little kick.
Speaking of freelancing, I took a “people” photography course this past weekend, so if you’re suddenly in need of someone to take a proper photo of you, I’m your gal. Kidding, of course. I wouldn’t trust me just yet with any photos that don’t involve an edible subject. But I did learn some really cool things!
Anyway, I hope you have a great weekend, and be sure to keep this easy little bake in mind for your next meatless meal! Pssst – you should probably pin it.
An easy back-pocket meatless meal full of hearty vegetables and covered in an almond and parmesan crust. This lentil bake is so soft and cheesy, it’s even perfect for those fussy little eaters!
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup butternut squash, diced into 1/2” pieces
- 1/2 red pepper, diced
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme
- 1 cup red lentils, uncooked
- 2 1/4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup shredded cheese (I used 1/2 white cheddar and 1/2 sharp cheddar)
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and lightly grease a 9″ pie plate.
- In a skillet over medium heat, heat the coconut oil until shimmering. Add the diced onion and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for an additional minute. Add the butternut squash, red pepper and thyme, and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the lentils, followed by the vegetable stock. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the lentils have absorbed all of the liquid. Remove from heat.
- Beat the eggs into a large mixing bowl. Once the lentil mixture has been allowed to cool for 5 minutes, add the mixture to the eggs along with the cheese. Stir thoroughly to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie plate, pressing down slightly on the top. Scatter the parmesan cheese evenly over the top, then follow with the almonds. Bake the bake (hah) for 30-35 minutes, or until the bake looks firm and does not jiggle in the center when you give it a gentle shake.
- Remove the bake from the oven and allow it to cool for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Top with sour cream or additional cheese, if desired!
Leftovers will keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days, in a covered airtight container.