Anything with lentils in is a hit in my house, they absorb flavours beautifully and provide that all important full tummy feeling.
Here they are paired with hearty winter vegetables in a richly flavoured stock, topped with a crunchy, herby nut crumble for a perfect comfort food family meal.
The lentils and vegetables are cooked together before the crumble topping is added and the whole lot is baked in the oven.
Which Lentils Are The Best?
Red lentils, yellow lentils, green lentils, brown lentils, beluga lentils and speckled lentils all make regular appearances in my kitchen but here I turned to my old favourite, the puy lentil.
You could use any of the other lentil varieties but steer clear of red and yellow lentils if you want a bake with a bit of bite.
Adjust the cooking time according to packet instructions but, as a general rule, green and brown lentils take a little longer to cook.
Do Lentils Need Soaking?
Unlike most other pulses lentils don’t need soaking before cooking.
You can soak them if you wish and it will reduce their cooking time by half but they don’t take very long to cook without this extra step. I can honestly say that I have never soaked a lentil!
Just rinse them under the tap and you’re good to go.
How To Make Lentil Bake
If you just want the recipe do scroll straight to the bottom of this post for a full recipe card or read on for my tips, tricks and suggestions!
This is a really simple supper dish which can all be cooked in one pan before being transferred to a baking dish with its topping. No drama, no faffing!
You can make it even simpler by leaving the topping off, cutting out the bake bit and just eating the filling as a lentil stew.
The flavour in my lentil bake relies on a rich stock made with Marmite and Vecon. You could use a good stock cube instead or, if you’re feeling fabulous, make your own stock from scratch!
Winter Vegetables For A Lentil Bake
I used onions, carrots, celeriac and potatoes for the vegetable base of my bake but feel free to swap them out for anything you have to hand. Here are a few suggestions for alternatives:
- Leeks make a fabulous alternative to onions, cook them gently to avoid browning.
- Try swede, turnips or parsnips instead of (or as well as) carrots and potatoes.
- Add some greens! Chard, kale, cabbage or sprouts are delicious. Add them for the last 5 minutes or so of cooking on the hob.
Making A Nut Crumble Topping
I love a nut crumble topping on vegetable bakes, it adds fabulous crunch and texture!
I used a combination of almonds, brazil nuts and walnuts along with breadcrumbs, herbs and seasonings and it was absolutely delicious.
The nuts are pulsed together in a food processor to keep them fairly chunky.
If you don’t have a processor pop them into a plastic bag, tie the top and bash them a bit with a rolling pin.
What To Serve With Lentil Bake
To be honest, I could eat a big bowl full of this bake on its own with no distractions!
However, when I’m being “responsible mother” I add extra veg to make sure my offspring are getting all those fabulous vitamins and nutrients!
Steamed green vegetables or a lovely crisp salad ticks those boxes nicely.
More Lentil Recipes
If you love lentils as much as we do you might also like:
- Easy Lentil Meatballs with Fresh Tomato Sauce
- Sweet Potato and Red Lentil Soup
- Classic Lentil Loaf
- Green Lentil Burgers
- Braised Lentils with Sausages
- Winter Vegetable Soup
Lentil Bake with Nut Crumble Topping
For The Lentil Bake
- 100 g puy lentils
- 1 large onion peeled and chopped
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 medium carrots peeled and sliced
- 100 g celeriac peeled and chopped into chunks
- 1 large waxy potato peeled and chopped into chunks
- 1 clove garlic (more to taste) peeled and crushed
- 1 tsp fresh thyme finely chopped
- 400 g can of chopped tomatoes
- 400 ml rich vegetable stock made with 1 tsp Vecon and 1 tsp Marmite
- salt and pepper to taste
For The Nut Crumble Topping
- 50 g almonds
- 50 g brazil nuts
- 50 g walnuts
- 50 g fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp mixed dried herbs
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 25 g sunflower seeds
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F
- Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onions and cook gently for 5 minutes until softened.
- Add the carrots, celeriac and potato and fry gently for a further 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and thyme and fry gently for a minute until aromatic.
- Add the lentils, tinned tomatoes and stock.
- Fill the tomato can with water to collect all the leftover juice and add to the pan.
- Bring to the boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes with the lid on.
- Remove the lid and cook for a further 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender, the lentils are cooked and the liquid has nearly all evaporated off.
- Pulse nuts together in a food processor until roughly chopped. Transfer to a bowl.
- Add breadcrumbs, herbs, paprika, sunflower seeds and salt and pepper to taste to the nuts. Stir to combine.
- Transfer the lentil mixture to a large oven proof dish. Top with the nut crumble and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!
- You could use any of the other lentil varieties but steer clear of red and yellow lentils if you want a bake with a bit of bite. Check packet instructions for cooking times.
- Choose a waxy potato variety which will stand up to being cooked for half an hour without dissolving.
- Nutritional information is only an approximate guideline. Calculations will vary according to the ingredients you use and your cooking methods.