Lentils are an unsung hero. They’re packed with proteins and fiber, they’re high in iron, and they’re cheap! win-win-win.
However. If you eat them plain they taste like dirt.
If you add salt to bring out their natural flavors, they taste like dirt with salt.
But, that being said, they’re mild and incredibly versatile – as long as you hide their very earthy taste with some yummy spices or sauce!
(And did I mention that they’re cheap?)
This is one recipe that I’ve grown to love because it’s so incredibly easy to put together! Don’t let the long list of ingredients deter you – they’re simple and basic things you’ll have on hand (though look over the spices – I didn’t have sage on hand, but it’s worth adding it to the grocery list as it really completes this meal and it’s worth stocking your spice cabinets in order to accommodate such an easy and frugal dish!)
This is basically a one dish casserole and it’s meatless (except for the broth) but is great with diced chicken. We also love to drizzle some of this fantastic homemade dressing over the top!
Cheesy Baked Lentils
(adapted from a recipe in More-With-Less Cookbook – one of my favorites!)
3.5 c. lentils (any color will do)
4 c. chicken broth (this is a great recipe to use up some of your perpetual soup!)
3 Tb. butter
2 whole bay leaves
1 Tb. sea salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. ground sage
1/4 tsp. marjoram
2 large onions, diced
5 cloves of minced garlic
3 c. diced tomatoes, with the juice (use canned or fresh, but add in an additional 1/4 c. of either broth or water if using fresh)
5 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1.5 c. frozen peas
4 c. shredded cheddar cheese (Yes, 4 cups. You know you like cheese. Don’t scrimp)
In a large casserole dish or dutch oven, combine the lentils, broth, spices, onion, garlic and tomatoes. When I say “combine” I really mean toss everything in and don’t worry about stirring. Cover the dish tightly with foil or place the lid on top if you’re using a dutch oven. Bake it at 375′ F for 30 minutes.
After the 30 minutes are up, remove the cover and add in the carrots, celery and peas. At this point, the lentils will have absorbed most of the broth, so make sure to stir it well at the point to incorporate all of the spices and to mix in the veggies. Leave the cover off and return it to the oven for another 40 minutes.
Once it’s done baking, top it with the cheese, turn off the oven, and let it coast for about 5-8 minutes until the cheese has completely melted.
What are your favorite frugal meals?
Linked to: Mostly Homemade Mondays