I came across a version of this recipe when I was first married and looking for easy, one-dish meals that I could put together in the morning and cook when I got home from work. With lentils as the main ingredient, I didn’t count on this being a big hit, but my husband loved it. And so did the neighbors when I brought it for dinner. And the church crowd when I took it to a potluck. This casserole received raves from every corner. Who would’ve thought? I now make this updated recipe that features veggies I’ve flash frozen from my summer garden. It’s still a great for a busy weeknight or to take to a neighbor in need.
Makes 6 meal-sized servings
For the lentils
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt (optional)
- 2 cups water, vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) dried lentils, sorted and rinsed
- 14-16 ounces diced tomatoes (can be fresh, frozen or canned)
- 2 Tbsp. taco seasoning (recipe for how to make your own here)
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
For the cornbread topping
- 3/4 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. aluminum-free baking powder
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup corn kernels (can be fresh, frozen or canned)
- Heat oil in deep skillet or Dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Cook onion, pepper and garlic in oil, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender.
- Stir in water/broth, lentils, tomatoes, seasonings and paste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Partially cover and simmer 25 to 30 minutes or until lentils are tender. Add more liquid if needed.
- Heat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease 2-quart casserole dish.
- Prepare cornbread topping by mixing dry ingredients in a small bowl and wet ingredients in a medium bowl. Then add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
- Spoon lentil mixture into dish. Spread topping evenly over lentil mixture.
- Bake uncovered 15 to 20 minutes until topping is golden brown. Serve warm.