Sunday 22 January 2017

Cheesy lentil bake (vegan)

A week or so back I was so intent on painting the back fence that I was hardly stopping for food.  At the end of one of these days, I was so utterly tired I decided to have pasta and a jar of sauce for dinner.  It felt like a cop-out.  So suddenly I found the energy to make the cheesy lentil bake I had originally planned.  Life is always better with a good meal!
Well almost.  Sylvia was not so happy that she didn't get the pasta she had expected.  Recently we had a chat about if there was anything we would have to give up to be vegan and she was quite confident that she would not mind giving up anything.  It seems though that she still has no desire to be veagn and is yet to embrace some vegan staples.  She has not yet learnt to love that earthy smell of lentils cooking.  I find it homey and comforting.

Yes this was great comfort food.  Easy and cheesy.  However I was curious to see how it worked as a vegan bake.  I had sliced vegan Biocheese in the fridge.  It seemed a good idea to use slices of cheese on top but the unbaked version (above) and baked version (below) looked sadly similar.  Not the bubbly golden cheesy topping that dairy would offer.  However it tasted really good.  But next time I would try this vegan mozzarella on top, if I had time.

While Sylvia refused to eat this, E and I loved it.  I really wanted to eat it all that night but I knew that we had a busy day the next day and wanted to make sure we had leftovers.  On the second night, I had it warmed up in a sandwich with baby spinach.  It was just what I needed.  I can see why Becca praised it as a favourite meal of hers.

I am sending this to Meat Free Mondays and Gluten Free Fridays.

More comforting vegan oven bakes from Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Bubble and squeak frittata (gf, v)
Haggis (v)
Lentil and mushroom nut roast (v)
Shepherd’s pie with sweet potato mash (gf, v)
Smoky apple baked beans (gf, v)
Spaghetti pie (v) 

Cheesy Lentil Bake
Adapted from Amuse Your Bouche
Serves 2-4

1/2 cup red lentils
1/4 cup white rice (I used basmati)
1 1/2 tsp stock powder
1 tbsp oil
1 small leek or onion, diced
1 red capsicum, diced*
1 courgette (zucchini), diced*
100g firm tofu, chopped small*
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp seeded mustard
100g sliced or grated cheddar cheese*
sesame seeds, for sprinkling

Place lentils, rice and stock powder into largish saucepan with 2 and 1/2 cups of water and cover.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until cooked.  After 10 minutes remove lid and stir every now and again to stop it sticking.  Once cooked, remove from heat and keep stirring regularly to let it thicken into a porridge texture.  Set aside.

While lentils and rice are cooking, fry the onion, capsicum, tofu and courgette (or vegetables of choice) in the oil for about 10 minutes on medium heat until softened.  Stir in smoked paprika and seeded mustard.  Remove from heat.  Check and adjust seasoning.

Mix lentil mixture with the vegetables.  Place half in medium casserole dish (no greasing necessary), layer with half the cheese and repeat the layers of lentil mixture and cheese on top.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Bake at 200 C for 25-30 minutes.

*NOTES: You can use other vegetables instead of the vegies and tofu I used.  Grated carrot, chopped mushrooms, green peas, corn, roasted pumpkin or roasted sweet potato.  I used biocheese (which I think is like violife cheese) so it was vegan.  In future I think I might like to try this vegan mozzarella on top but the biocheese in the middle as biocheese does not melt well on top because it dried out too much.  Regular grated cheese would work here too.

On the Stereo
The Velvet Underground and Nico


  1. Sounds interesting! What are the yellow pieces on top? Is that the biocheese?

  2. yes the big yellow rectangles are biocheese

  3. I too find the smell of lentils cooking a comfort. This looks delicious. I'm a big fan of baked dishes, and this dish looks like a big bowl of delicious comfort. Well worth the effort!

  4. I know what you mean about pasta meals feeling a bit like a cop out - we always have an 'emergency' pasta sauce in the cupboard but even in 'emergencies' I view it as too lazy and end up using tinned tomatoes and spices for something a little bit more effortful! This is much more effortful and looks like a great meal to fuel painting.

  5. I love lentil dishes like this Johanna, they really do go such a long way. And even though your vegan cheese didn't live up to expectations I bet you were more than glad that you made this in place of the pasta and sauce in a jar meal!
    Angela x

  6. I think one of the first veggie dishes I learnt to make all by myself was a cheesy lentil bake, and I still have nostalgic cravings for it now. The original recipe came out of a supermarket cookbook, and didn't involve much in the way of flavour - I like your version much better. I love that album too, by the way!

  7. Cheesy lentil bake sounds good. I love lentils, although not being veggie, I am unsure whether I could ever be persuaded to eat bio-cheese!
    I cannot remember the last time I had a jar sauce in the cupboard..... If I am doing 'emergency pasta', I usually use passata and throw in some herbs, or chopped veg or grab a jar of pesto. There was a time when I always had a sauce jar handy and then I realised I was paying over the odds for tomatoes, so made a rule to myself not to buy it! Daft eh?

  8. "At the end of one of these days, I was so utterly tired I decided to have pasta and a jar of sauce for dinner. It felt like a cop-out." Oh dear... I tend to do this once a week ;)
    But I should try this next time! It sounds good. I also love the smell of lentils cooking. And they give such good texture to things.


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