Adding lentils to the dinner roster is a good way to eat meat-free, but all too often they can be boring. This recipe — which adds cheese, meaty mushrooms, nutty brown rice, and plenty of fresh parsley to the mix — solves this. It transforms protein-rich lentils into a comforting baked casserole that really doesn't need anything else to call it a meal (although a simple green salad on the side would be welcome).
A Dish You Can Dig into All Week
This simple recipe, which calls for canned lentils to really save you time, is the ideal Meatless Monday dinner. Whip it up with ease after a busy day knowing that not only will you have a hearty vegetarian dinner, but you'll also have leftovers to enjoy throughout the week. Rewarm some mid-week for another easy meal or enjoy it cold or room temperature for lunch — you'll have plenty to do both. And if you were one of those smartypants who made a batch of lentils on the weekend, you can use those here instead of the canned variety with equal success.
Cheesy Lentil, Mushroom & Rice Bake
Serves 8 to 10
olive oil, plus more for coating the baking dish
large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
cremini mushrooms, stems removed and quartered
Freshly ground black pepper
plus 2 tablespoons finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese, divided
cooked white or brown rice
(14-ounce) cans lentils, rinsed, or 2 1/2 cups cooked lentils
coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 375°F. Coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with olive oil.
Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, golden, and caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high; add the mushrooms; season with salt and pepper; and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
Whisk together the milk, eggs, and 1 cup of grated cheese in a large bowl. Add the cooked rice, lentils, onion and mushroom mixture, and parsley; season with salt and pepper; and stir to combine. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons grated cheese.
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until bubbling and golden-brown, 10 to 15 minutes more.
Make ahead: The rice bake can be prepared (and not baked) up to 1 day ahead. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to bake.
Storage: Leftovers keep well, covered in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days.