If you're stuck wondering how to make lentils taste good, look no further than my cheesy bean and lentil vegetarian casserole. The hardest part of this easy vegetarian recipe is opening the cans!
If you've spent any time with me in the last few weeks, I've for sure mentioned this to you. Not only does it taste SOOO good (which I don't say lightly!) but it's also PACKED with plant protein. Win-win!
As you know, we're in the middle of a pretty crazy time. Lots of people are looking for pantry recipes for emergency preparedness or ways to use canned food and pantry staples up. I didn't intend it to be this way when I created this recipe, but it relies heavily on canned food and other basic pantry staples so it's a good recipe to have on hand right now. It's a good time to use up those beans, lentils, and other non-perishables tucked away in your pantry cupboards.
Cheesy bean and lentil vegetarian casserole
I've gotta be honest — this recipe was an accident. A happy one. I had some canned food I wanted to use up, so I decided to play around and see what I could come up with.
Flash forward a few weeks, and this cheesy bean and lentil vegetarian casserole is now a staple in my house!
I knew I wanted to make some kind of lentil bean recipe since that's what I had to use, but I didn't know exactly what. I wasn't craving soup, and there are already SO many lentil soup recipes, so I wanted to work on creating lentil recipes that are NOT soup!
The result is this cheesy bean and lentil vegetarian casserole that not only satisfies your vegetarian comfort food cravings, but also gives you some of the plant-based nutrition you're looking for.
As a vegetarian, I'm ALWAYS looking for plant protein sources that I actually enjoy the taste of. DING DING DING
By my calculations, you're getting at least 17 grams of plant protein per serving. Not too shabby! PLUS, you get even more protein from the cheese on top.
This vegetarian casserole is...
Oh man, where do I begin?
My vegetarian casserole recipe is:
- Customizable (feel free to skip the cheese for a vegan casserole (or add vegan cheese), or use less cheese, low-fat cheese...whatever you'd like!
- VERY easy
- Great for leftovers
- Similar to chili, but not quite the same. If you're looking for an amazing vegetarian chili recipe, I've got you covered right here.
Most of the ingredients you need for this vegetarian casserole are probably already in your pantry. Bonus: they're also really inexpensive!
- Canned lentils
- Canned kidney or black beans I've used both in this recipe with great results)
- Diced, canned tomatoes
- Diced onion (I use frozen diced onion for this recipe - so easy!)
- Ground cayenne pepper
- Onion powder
- Minced garlic
- Shredded cheese (I've used regular sharp/old cheddar and tex-mex cheese - both were great!)
Saute onions and garlic in a splash of olive or avocado oil for about five minutes.
Meanwhile, DRAIN and RINSE the beans. Drain the lentils and tomatoes. Add the beans, lentils, and tomatoes to the onion and garlic.
Add the cumin, cayenne powder, onion powder, salt, and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn the heat to low and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Turn your oven to broil.
Pour the mixture into an oven-safe dish (I use a 2.5-quart dish). Cover the bean and lentil mixture with shredded cheese, and broil for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and bubbly but not burnt (keep an eye on it if you don't use your broiler much!)
Other easy vegetarian recipe ideas
EASY COLD VEGGIE PIZZA APPETIZER
MY FAMOUS ONE-POT RED LENTIL COCONUT CURRY RECIPE
VEGETARIAN CREAMY BEEF & SHELLS WITH GARDEIN BEEFLESS GROUND
EGG CASSEROLE WITH COTTAGE CHEESE AND ROASTED RED PEPPER
CREAMY CELERY SOUP WITH POTATO: MY FAVORITE
Cheesy Bean & Lentil Vegetarian Casserole
- splash olive or avocado oil for sauteeing
- 1.5 cups yellow or white onion diced
- 2 teaspoon garlic minced
- 1 19 oz can green lentils do not substitute dry lentils for canned, the recipe won't work the same!
- 1 19 oz can black or kidney beans
- 1 28 oz can plain diced tomatoes
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon salt *
- 2 cups cheese of your choice (I use sharp or tex-mex) shredded
- Saute onions and garlic in a splash of olive or avocado oil in a large pot for about five minutes.
- Meanwhile, DRAIN and RINSE the beans. Drain the lentils and tomatoes. Add the beans, lentils, and tomatoes to the onion and garlic in the pot.Add the cumin, cayenne powder, onion powder, salt, and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn the heat to low and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Turn your oven to broil.
- Pour the mixture into an oven-safe dish (I use a 2.5-quart dish). Cover the mixture with shredded cheese, and broil for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and bubbly but not burnt (keep an eye on it if you don't use your broiler much!).Serve and enjoy!
I hope you're just as addicted to this as I am!
Keep me posted in the comments down below!
XO - C
Definitely adding this recipe to my go-to rotation. Hearty and delicious!
Delicious!! Super easy to make too. All ingredients I already had in the cupboard.
I love when that happens!!!! So glad you enjoyed it.
What exactly are you boiling when you’ve drained all the liquid from the cans of beans?
Hey Philip! Good question — the tomatoes, etc. still release some juices so there is a bit of liquid in the mix and it will boil. I'll add a note to the recipe 🙂
I felt it needed more liquid so added a cup of veggie stock.
Chelsea Kram – XO&So: Vegetarian Comfort Food
Thanks for your feedback!
Yup - just as good as the first time I had this. Deadly delicious and packed full of nutrition!!
Woohoo! Love hearing that! XO
If you already have cooked lentils from dried, how much of the cooked lentils do you use? Thanks so much. -Pam
Chelsea Kram – XO&So: Vegetarian Comfort Food
Hi Pam! I'm so sorry but I have never tried this recipe with anything other than the canned green lentils so I'm not sure.