Potato-Topped Lentil Bake

That's a desert of potato crust I'd walk over any time!

That’s a desert of potato crust I’d walk over any time!

I made this super filling recipe from the “1000 Vegetarian Recipes from Around the World” cookbook for dinner last week. It was a great choice for Jake’s first day of work. That’s right, Jake got a job! Poor kid has been having a hard time since my job means we’re geographically cemented to Tucson for a while. Tucson isn’t the greatest place to look for a job at the moment, but then again that tune plays well in most areas of the country. Times are tough. And we work hard here, whether we’re at our respective places of employment or not. So filling recipes are key in these tough times. Good food makes hard days softer and long days shorter. It’s magic. To make this recipe go more quickly, make EXTRA mashed potatoes the next time you cook them and save some to make this recipe the next day. And don’t worry about mashing them perfectly. A few chunks are just fine for this recipe. You can switch up the veggies in this recipe, maybe add in a little ham if you’re a meat eater. I think the original recipe called for broccoli, but I didn’t have any. I did have a lot of peas and some cauliflower I needed to use up. This is a really great recipe for using up leftover veggies that you may have a little bit of here and there. It lends itself well to a mish-mash of plant matter. By the way, my favorite part of the photo below is that I took it after I cut the very first piece and you can see the steam rising from the slice and blurring the top edges. Awesome.

Potato-Topped Lentil Bake
for the topping:
4 1/2 cups diced potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 cup ground flax seed
2 tablespoons thyme

for the filling:
3/4 cups red lentils
1/2 cup yellow lentils
1/4 cup butter
1 yellow onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 1/4 cups peas florets
6 oz. extra firm tofu, cubed
a couple drops liquid smoke
2 teaspoons tomato paste
salt and pepper, to taste

1. To make the topping, boil the potatoes in just enough salted water to cover till tender. Mash with the butter, milk, and thyme, mixing in the flax seed once the potatoes are mashed.
2. While the potatoes are boiling, cook the lentils in boiling water 20-30 minutes or till tender. Drain and set aside.
3. Preheat the oven to 400F.
4. In a medium skillet, saute the onion, garlic, celery, and peas in the butter till soft, stirring frequently.
5. Add the tofu, liquid smoke, salt, pepper and tomato paste to the skillet and mix well. Cook another 3 minutes.
6. Combine the lentils with the tofu mixture and mix well.
7. Spread the lentil-tofu mixture in a 9-inch baking dish and top it with the mashed potatoes, smoothing to cover.
8. Pop the baking dish in the oven and bake 30-35 minutes till the top is golden brown. Broil to finish if you aren’t satisfied with your crust. Serve hot.

Potato-Topped Lentil Bake

Potato-Topped Lentil Bake

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