Herbed Lentils & Rice Casserole


This casserole is one of my delicious favorites. It's easy to prepare; and other than the vegan cheese, it's very healthy (but I do like it with the vegan Swiss(!), so I make a rare exception to my usual rule of staying away from saturated fats as much as possible). If you would like to try making this casserole without the vegan cheese, you might try adding a little more flaxseed meal to help bind the ingredients together. Note: It has been very difficult for me to find the vegan Swiss cheese locally. I suppose it could be substituted, but other cheeses won't have that lovely Swiss flavor that I've gotten so used to. Go ahead and be bold, though! Feel free to modify this recipe (and others) to suit your taste and preferences.

Ingredients

  • 2-2/3 cups vegetable broth (or the water + broth seasoning)

  • 1 tablespoon organic extra virgin olive oil (optional)
  • 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup uncooked lentils, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice, rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (or 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder)
  • 1 teaspoon Bragg liquid aminos (or reduced sodium soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon organic flaxseed meal
  • 1 tablespoon Italian herbs blend (oregano, marjoram, thyme, basil, rosemary, sage)¹, crushed (or a combination of whichever of these herbs you already have at home)

  • 3-4 ounces vegan Swiss cheese (4 slices), diced
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds

Directions

  1. MICROWAVE OVEN: Add 2-2/3 cups water (or broth) to ungreased covered 2-quart glass casserole. Heat on high to boiling (about 8-10 minutes).

  2. Add the vegetable broth seasoning (if only water was boiled), optional olive oil, onions, lentils, rice, and other seasonings through Italian herbs blend.

  3. Stir half the diced "cheese" into the lentil mixture. (Reserve the remaining half for the topping later.)

  4. Cover, and microwave on medium until water is absorbed (about 45-55 minutes).

  5. Remove from microwave oven; and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.

  6. Uncover, stir in sunflower seeds and nutritional yeast, and top with the remaining diced cheese.

  7. Cover, and heat on high until cheese is melted (about 3-5 minutes).

  8. Serve hot.

  • CONVENTIONAL OVEN: Combine boiled vegetable broth with the olive oil, onions, lentils, rice, and seasonings through Italian herbs blend. Sir in half the diced "cheese" into the lentil mixture. Turn into an ungreased covered 2-quart glass casserole. Bake, covered, in a 350℉ oven until lentils and rice are done, stirring twice (about 1-1/2 to 2 hours). Uncover casserole, stir in sunflower seeds and nutritional yeast, and top with the remaining diced cheese. Cover, and bake until cheese is melted (about 2-3 minutes). Serve hot.

Yield: 4-8 servings, depending on whether served as a main dish or side dish.


Variations: I already hinted at a few variations in the introductory paragraph and in the recipe itself that could be tried. I'll leave any other possibilities up to you all this time! I love it just the way it is! However, sometimes when I am unable to find the vegan Swiss cheese, I've used a vegan provolone cheese as an acceptable substitute.

Footnote:
¹ Italian seasoning

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