Monday, February 25, 2013

Vegetarian Greek Lentil Casserole Recipe with Bell Peppers and Feta

Vegetarian Greek Lentil Casserole with Bell Peppers and Feta
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.

After 45 minutes, stir the ingredients a little and they should look about like this.

Stir in the drained can of crushed tomatoes, cover again, and bake 15 minutes more.

Now the casserole is looking like this and the lentils should be getting quite soft.

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!


Vegetarian Greek Lentil Casserole with Bell Peppers and Feta
(Makes 4-6 servings; recipe inspired by this lentil casserole from All Recipes.)

Ingredients:
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.) stewed tomatoes, drained and slightly mashed
1 green bell pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped
3/4 cup crumbled Feta cheese

Instructions:
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.

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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.)

Nutritional Information?
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.)

Blogger Disclosure:
Posts may include links to my affiliate account at Amazon.com, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!
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38 comments:

  1. This looks absolutely outstanding! Lentils, peppers and feta? Sign me up! I recently went gluten and sugar free as well, so always on the lookout for new meals. This will go on my meal plan for next week!

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  2. Kalyn , does this come out of the casserole dish as a scoop or more like a formed pie/piece? Love the flavors!

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  3. Baked lentils? Now that is a very interesting idea. I didn't realize you could bake them! And of course the pungent cheese and peppers sound like a great combination with earthy lentils. :)

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  4. How would you revise the recipe if you have already cooked lentils?

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  5. Lentils have been showing up on our table so often lately, and this is another recipe I now want to make.

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  6. Alyssa, this is definitely something that you scoop out of the dish.

    Eileen, it worked well, especially when we cooked the lentils first before adding the tomatoes.

    J LK, I'm not sure how well this recipe is suited for pre-cooked lentils, as it is cooking the lentils with the seasonings that makes it so flavorful. If you wanted to try it I would omit the liquid, and then follow the directions similar to how ingredients are used in this recipe, but cook for a much shorter time at each stage.

    Dara, glad you like it!

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  7. Thanks so much for linking to one of my recipes. It's only recently that I've tried combining lentils and feta, and I can't imagine why I haven't been doing it all along. The salty cheese brings out the earthy flavor of the lentils in a way that's totally seductive.

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  8. Lydia, my pleasure. This was such a great combination of flavors.

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  9. This casserole sounds wonderful! I love that the lentils are baked...and that it is topped with feta cheese! Has to be awesome.

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  10. Thanks Joanne. I have to admit, they were pretty awesome.

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  11. I come to your website thinking I'll hunt around for a recipe, and then the one on the first page is always perfect. Thank you for your great recipes. I use you far more than I comment, and wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your work and creativity.

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  12. Thank you. I really appreciate you taking the time to let me know how much you're enjoying the recipes. (That always makes my day!)

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  13. This sounds really tasty!! I'm making something similar this month but with cauliflower... we'll see how it turns out!

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  14. Kalyn, do you think this would be adaptable to the slow cooker?

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  15. Maybe, but without trying it I couldn't say just how to adapt it. For sure I would use less liquid.

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  16. Lentils are definitely my favorite vegetarian protein too. I never get tired of them! What a fantastic idea for a casserole.

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  17. I need a tasty, appealing vegetarian dish for my daughters wedding reception. I think I have found it! I would want to make this for 50 servings. Now, I can do the math for that, but do you have any tips? I would want to make it the day before & reheat/bake it about 18 hours later.

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  18. Since there are several steps in the baking of this, I'm not sure how it will work to make so far ahead and then bake. I'd definitely do a test run.

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  19. I found your site through Foodgawker and love this recipe. Tell me, though, have you ever had problems with feta losing its flavor during baking? It happens to me every time and I can't figure it out.

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  20. Can't say that I have ever noticed that.

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  21. Fabulous! I'm a new visitor to your blog. Your selection of healthy recipes is very impressive.

    I made Greek Lentils with Peppers and Feta last night. It was very tasty and easy to make. Hard to believe it is "legal."

    When I read the recipe, I didn't understand why you said to cook the lentils with the seasonings, then take the casserole out to add tomatoes, return it to the oven, cook a bit longer, then take it out again to add the peppers and Feta. After making it last night, I got it. The lentils absorbed the flavors of the herbs, the tomatoes blended in but did not lose their essence, the peppers retained some crunch, and the Feta was perfectly cooked.

    I'm glad I didn't rejigger the recipe before making it according to your instructions!
    .
    Many thanks!

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  22. Pam, so glad you enjoyed it! Another reason to cook it in stages like that is that when beans or lentils are cooked with acidy foods (like tomatoes) they don't soften as well.

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  23. Love it, bookmarked it and surely making it :)

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  24. It is so nice when I find an interesting and "seemingly easy enough" recipe that marries my SB eating with my husbands relatively new vegetarianism. Thank you.

    Next time I think I'll add a bit more broth and double this for more leftovers.

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  25. Karen, so glad it will work for you both!

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  26. This looks so incredibly good! I'm planning on making it tonight. How does it taste when it is at room temp? I am a college student and am considering taking it for lunch tomorrow, but I don't normally have microwave access for my lunch.

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  27. Emma, I haven't eaten it room temperature, but I don't think it would be bad.

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  28. I made this, and my family and I liked it. Thanks!

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  29. Katharine, so glad to hear it!

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  30. I came across this recipe on Pinterest after searching for lentils. This was delicious! My entire family loved this recipe. You know it is good when your 7-year-old asks for seconds.

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  31. Melissa, yaay! I absolutely love hearing that.

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  32. I had an eggplant, so I chopped it up and added it along with the onion and lentils. Absolutely delicious! Will be making it again (with or without eggplant!) Thank you!

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  33. Emily, love the idea of adding eggplant!

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  34. Would this work well as a freezer meal? how would I adapt it if I planned on freezing? Thanks!

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  35. I haven't tried freezing it, but if I was making this specifically to freeze, I would bake up to the point of adding the cheese; then I'd add the cheese and bake the rest of the way when you wanted to serve it. It might freeze fine with the cheese on there as well, but I'm not sure.

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