Lentil and Cheese Casserole (Vegetarian Meatloaf)
Kids and adults alike love this vegetarian twist on the traditional meat dish, submitted by Scramble fan Caryn Martel. While it may not be a feast for the eyes, the flavors are fantastic!
- 1 Tbsp. butter softened
- 1 cup dried brown lentils or use 2 cups pre-cooked lentils (soak dried lentils for at least an hour or, ideally overnight, for faster cooking)
- 8 oz. shredded Cheddar cheese
- 1/2 yellow or red onion finely diced 1 cup
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme or 1 tsp. fresh
- 1 cup Italian-style bread crumbs (use wheat/gluten-free, if needed)
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 15 oz. tomato sauce or red pasta sauce
- 8 whole wheat English muffins (use wheat/gluten-free, if needed) optional
- Remove the butter from the refrigerator to let it soften. In a medium saucepan with a lid, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Rinse the lentils in a colander or bowl.
- Add the lentils to the boiling water, reduce the heat, cover the pan, and simmer the lentils for 25 - 30 minutes until they are tender to the bite. (Soaking the lentils overnight cuts the cooking time by about half, so if you have soaked them, check for doneness after 10 - 15 minutes.) Drain any remaining liquid. (This makes more than two cups of cooked lentils, so measure them before adding them to the casserole.)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and coat a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients, except the tomato sauce and optional English muffins.
- Spread the mixture evenly in the loaf pan and press gently to form it into a loaf (this helps it hold together after baking.) Cover it with aluminum foil and bake it for 45 minutes.
- Serve the lentil loaf sliced and topped with warm tomato sauce, or make open sandwiches on toasted English muffins, or cover it tightly and refrigerate it for up to 3 days.
Slow Cooker Directions:
- Coat the slow cooker pot with nonstick cooking spray. Prepare the casserole as above and place the loaf in the slow cooker. Cover with the tomato sauce. (No need to cover the loaf with foil.) Cook on low for 6 - 8 hours or on high for 3 - 4 hours. To cook just the lentils in the slow cooker, rinse 1 cup lentils and add to the slow cooker along with 2 cups water or broth. Cook on low for 6 - 7 hours or on high for 3 - 4 hours. (Slow cooker cooking times may vary—Get to know your slow cooker and, if necessary, adjust cooking times accordingly.)
Do Ahead or Delegate: Remove the butter from the refrigerator to let it soften, soak the lentils, shred the cheese if necessary and refrigerate, dice the onion, beat and refrigerate the egg, or fully prepare and refrigerate the dish. Scramble Flavor Booster: Double the black pepper, thyme, and add 1/4 tsp. garlic powder to the casserole. Tip: Toss any extra cooked lentils with a little vinaigrette dressing and/or some crumbled goat or feta cheese and enjoy them for tomorrow’s lunch. Nutritional Information Per Serving (% based upon daily values): Calories 293, Total Fat: 13g, 19.5%; Saturated Fat: 8g, 37%; Cholesterol: 57mg, 19%; Sodium: 691mg, 29%; Total Carbohydrate: 29g, 9.5%; Dietary Fiber: 9g, 35%; Sugar: 5g; Protein: 17g Like this recipe? Check out The Scramble's family-friendly meal plans to see just how simple getting dinner on the table can be!
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