Joe Vandal’s No Soak Lentil Casserole
By Patrick Anderson and Nathan Cook
A new twist on an old recipe, the lentil casserole is similar to the traditional green bean casserole, yet uniquely original. This casserole is filled with lentils, a famous pulse crop in the Palouse, and Yukon gold potatoes, representing both Idaho’s famous, southern crops and the gold color of the Vandals.
Lentils are great to cook with not only for their health benefits, such as from their fiber, protein, and mineral content, but also because they carry a somewhat mild flavor that can be paired with many others, and unlike most legumes, they don’t require any soaking before you cook them! Lentils combined with cream of mushroom soup, a hint of ranch seasoning, along with real bacon create a delicious salty, tangy flavor that is sure to keep your taste buds intrigued. Just as important though, the textures of this dish are abundant. The flour makes the cream even thicker, while the lentils, potatoes and bacon work together to make each bite unique. Finally, the crispy fried onions will add a nice salty crunch to really top off the experience.
- Yield: 12 portions
- 6 slices Classic Cut Bacon
- 1 ½ cup Lentils
- 1.25 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes (approximately 2 medium sized potatoes)
- 2 cups Broccoli
- 1 ½ cup Milk
- 1 cup Flour
- 2 10 ½ oz. Cans Cream of Mushroom Soup
- ¾ cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- 1 Package Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning
- ¼ Tsp Black Pepper
- ¼ Tsp Salt
- 1 6 oz. Container of Crispy Fried Onions
- 1/3 cup Green Onions
- Cook the lentils and bacon according to directions on their packages. Cook the bacon until it is crispy, and the lentils until they are soft.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
- While the bacon and lentils are cooking, cube the potatoes into approximately 1/2 inch sized cubes and chop broccoli into approximately thumb-sized pieces. Set to the side.
- In a large bowl, mix together the milk, flour, cream of mushroom soup, ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, ranch seasoning, black pepper, and salt, then add the potatoes and broccoli.
- Once the bacon has finished cooking, crumble the bacon into the large bowl.
- Once the lentils have finished cooking drain the excess water out of the lentils, and add them to the large bowl.
- Once all of the ingredient are combined in the large bowl, pour the mixture into a 9x13 inch casserole dish. Place the dish into the oven and bake it at 350°F for 45 minutes.
- After baking, check to ensure the potatoes are cooked through, then add a layer (approximately 3 cups) of crispy fried onions, ¼ cup of sharp cheddar cheese, and 1/3 cup green onions over the top of the dish and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until the onions have turned slightly golden brown and the cheese has melted.
- Let the casserole sit for 10 minutes, and enjoy!