|An easy and delicious vegetarian casserole of baked lentils with tomatoes, peppers, and Feta.|
A few weeks ago my friend Bonnie sent me the link for this recipe and told me how much she and her husband had enjoyed it. The recipe had two of my favorite ingredients (lentils and cheese!) so of course I was game to try it. Then Jake and I experimented with it a couple of times, and the recipe morphed into this Vegetarian Greek Lentil Casserole with Bell Peppers and Feta. We made some changes just to give the recipe more Greek flavors (which did work beautifully with the lentils) but we also baked the lentils for a while before adding the tomatoes, which helped them to get perfectly done and helped let the other ingredients really shine.
Of course, lentils are my idea of the perfect food for meatless meals, so this is my Meatless Monday recipe for the week. (You can find more meatless recipes by using the label Meatless Monday or checking Vegetarian Recipes in the recipe index. I'm also doing a meatless slow cooker recipe each Monday on Slow Cooker from Scratch. For more Meatless Monday ideas from other bloggers, follow our Meatless Monday board on Pinterest, or check Meatless Monday at BlogHer.)
Combine lentils, chopped onion, minced garlic, vegetable broth, bay leaf, black pepper, Greek oregano, and Greek seasoning in a 3 quart casserole dish and bake covered for about 45 minutes.
While the lentils are cooking, chop up a red and green bell pepper and crumble enough Feta to make about 3/4 cup.
Stir in the peppers and about 2/3 of the Feta, and sprinkle the rest of the Feta over the top. Keep the casserole uncovered this time and bake about 15-20 minutes more, or until the Feta is melting and getting slightly browned.
Here's the casserole when it comes out of the oven, ready for a delicious meatless dinner!
(Makes 4-6 servings; recipe inspired by this lentil casserole from All Recipes.)
1 cup brown lentils, picked over and rinsed if needed (lentils that come in a package often don't need to be rinsed)
1 large onion, chopped small
2 tsp. minced garlic (or more)
1 cup + 2 T vegetable stock or broth (canned vegetable broth is fine here)
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. Greek oregano
1 tsp. Greek Seasoning (You can make your own Greek Seasoning if you don't have any, or just use the spices in that mix that you do have. I like Greektown Billygoat Seasoning from The Spice House.)
1 can (14.5 oz.) crushed tomatoes tomatoes
1 green bell pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped
3/4 cup crumbled Feta cheese
Preheat oven to 375F/190C. Use a 3 quart casserole dish with a tight-fitting lid. Combine lentils, chopped onion, minced garlic, vegetable broth, bay leaf, black pepper, Greek oregano, and Greek seasoning in the casserole dish and bake covered for 45 minutes.
While lentils bake, drain the tomatoes and mash gently inside the can with a fork. Cut seeds out of the bell peppers and finely chop, and crumble enough Feta to make 3/4 cup.
After 45 minutes, take lentils out of the oven, stir in the crushed tomatoes, put the lid back on and bake for 15 minutes more. Then take out again, gently mix in the finely chopped bell pepper and 2/3 of the Feta. Crumble the rest of the Feta over the top and bake 15-20 minutes more, or until the Feta is starting to melt and get lightly browned. Serve hot.
South Beach Suggestions:
Dried beans and lentils are a great low-glycemic food for any phase of the South Beach Diet, but they're a limited food for Phase One, so use portion control. (In a dish like this with lots of other vegetables and some cheese you can have a normal-sized servings.)
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.
More Meatless Monday Ideas with Lentils:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Ethiopian Red Lentils ~ Herbivoracious
Vegan Picadillo Lentil Stew with Sweet Bell Peppers and Green Olives ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Vegan Barley and Lentil Pilaf with Mushrooms and Spinach ~ The Perfect Pantry
Mujadarra - Middle Eastern Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Tex-Mex Vegetarian Lentil Chili ~ Nummy Kitchen
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
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