This comforting lentil casserole is a family favourite! Lentils and kidney beans are simmered with diced tomatoes, rosemary, and garlic then topped with shredded cheddar cheese and then put in the oven for a quick broil for this easy weeknight meal you will want to eat on repeat.
Keeping with the comfort theme this week, I want to share with you one of my most favourite easy vegetarian meals. I've been making this one for YEARS and it's one I come back to time and time again because it is SO simple, totally comforting and absolutely delicious.
One of my favourite things about this recipe (besides the ooey gooey melted cheese) is that is it made from pantry ingredients. This lentil casserole has been a dinner saviour many nights when I hadn't planned a thing and had no idea what to do.
Calling it a casserole might be a bit of a stretch because 95% of the cooking is done stovetop, but 'bean stuff' which is the term I've come to call it by around the house just didn't sound as appealing.
It's kind of like chilli but seasoned with rosemary and garlic in a pot with cheese melted onto it. If cheddar isn't your thing, mozzarella, Monterey Jack or pretty much any other melting cheese would be good here, including your favourite melting vegan cheese.
How to make this quick lentil casserole:
Heat a large pot to medium heat and add the olive oil. When the olive oil is heated add the celery and onion and cook them until they begin to soften then add the diced tomatoes, kidney beans, lentils, garlic and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper, then bring the pot to a boil.
Once the pot is boiling, reduce the heat to a low simmer and allow it to cook for 20 minutes.
When the mixture is cooked, transfer it to an oven-safe dish then top with the grated cheese and broil on high for 2-4 minutes or until the cheese melts.
What to serve with this lentil casserole
When I serve this at home we just grab a plate and dig in but it would be equally as awesome with a side salad or some other form of green veggies.
Dietary Considerations and Accommodations
This recipe for easy bean salad is suitable for the following diets:
- for vegan, substitute cheddar for your favourite vegan melting cheese
- clean eating
- gluten free
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- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 rib celery - finely diced
- onion - finely diced
- 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 19 oz can lentils - (drained)
- 1 19 oz can kidney beans - (drained)
- 1 clove garlic - crushed
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 1⁄2 cups shredded cheddar cheese - (or your favourite vegan melting cheese)
- Heat a large pot over medium heat and add the olive oil.
- When the oil is hot, add the diced celery and onions to the pot and sautee for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the drained beans, lentils and diced tomatoes to the pot along with the rosemary and garlic.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring the pot to a boil, then once it is boiling reduce the temperature to low to gently simmer for 20 minutes.
- Set your oven to broil on high.
- Pour the lentil and bean mixture into a skillet or small casserole dish and cover with the shredded cheese.
- Broil the dish for 2-4 minutes or until the cheese melts and begins to crisp.
* nutritional information is calculated by online tools and may not be 100% accurate.
Geoffrey at Spoonabilities says
This lentil "bean stuff" looks great. I've gotten a better appreciation for lentils over the years, and anything with cheese on top is a winner in my book.
Thanks so much!! I'd have to agree with you on the cheese 🙂
Eden | Sweet Tea and Thyme says
So comforting! It'll be perfect for the fall time so I'm pinning it now!
Thanks for sharing!
Andrea Metlika says
This looks so tasty and hearty. Love that you used garlic and rosemary in this.
Rosemary and garlic makes everything better 🙂
Wow this casserole looks delightful and I am a lentils fan so this is my kind of food. Hearty and fulfilling, great idea for a weekly menu too.
Thanks so much Adriana!
This casserole looks so comforting - Perfect for the terrible weather we are experiencing here in Chicago at the moment!
This looks amazing! Something my whole family can enjoy, and omitting the cheese it's vegan and plant-based!
Thanks so much! And yes, it would also be great without the cheese - you just don't need to bake it then.
Hannah F Healy says
This is such a cool idea! Looks so tasty!
This Lentil Casserole looks so good! I always love a meatless option to classic recipes!
Thank you! I love them as well!
Raia Todd says
I love how easy this is! And a family favorite, too. 🙂 Thank you!
Made this tonight and the whole family loved it! Made one tweak because I didn't have rosemary and added taco seasoning instead - soooooo delicious!
I'm so happy to hear you all enjoyed it! I can imagine it was delicious with taco seasoning as well!
Julie S says
Oh my goodness... this was absolutely amazing. I was totally convinced, while making it, that it wouldn't be that great.. I was very wrong. Simple to make, packs a ton of flavor, and very filling. Thank you for sharing!!
Hi Julie! I'm so happy you enjoyed it and you're welcome!
This looks delicious. Do you think I could make it in a crock pot? (except for the cheese).
Hi Alyssa! I have never cooked it in a crock pot, but I don't see any reason not to try it in there! I'd love to hear how it turned out if you do 🙂
Hi, this looks really nice! Do you think it will freeze well? I was thinking to prep everything and freeze before broiling, then bake it with cheese when I'm ready? Thanks!
Thank you! I have never tried doing that before, but I think that if you prepare it to the point where you add cheese you could easily freeze it. If you do it, I would love to hear how it turns out!
Does it have to be canned lentils? Wouldn’t raw lentils cook while it simmers?
I have never tried it with dried lentils, so I am unsure if there will be enough liquid in the tomatoes to cook them.
EM Scott says
what do you bring to a boil as there's no liquid in the list of ingredient's nor the instructions?
There is liquid in the canned tomatoes. You bring the contents of the pot (which is everything but the cheese) to a boil.
Will be making this....will be good ( I’m sure ) topped with mashed potato and cheese. Vegetarian Shepherds pie is always a favourite!
Cheryl Phillips says
Just finished making this dish and loved it! Thank you for sharing.
I only have dried lentils if I cook them first to use, which variety should I use?
Green or French lentils would work well.
This was so good! We had it with rice, though it wasn’t needed.
Di Harvey says
My family love this lentil bake, ice cooked it twice during ‘lockdown’ and it’s packed with protein and vegetables and you can add other vegetables if you wish. My kids are 20 and 15 and don’t agree on most foods but love this. Best of all it’s quick and so easy to prepare, no fancy ingredients! Thank you
You're so welcome! I am so happy to hear it's been a helpful recipe for you during quarantine.
Excellent! Juicy, easy to put together, and it was a satisfying option for ‘meatless Monday’ 🙂
It looks like a chili but is a nice change! I didn’t have Rosemary where I was cooking so I used Italian seasoning and it was very good. I toasted some cheese bread for dipping.
I'm so happy you enjoyed it!! Cheese bread sounds like the perfect side too 🙂
This was so delicious, maybe better the next day too. I added a heaped teaspoon of vegetable stock powder for extra seasoning. I served it over a bed of baby spinach with a dollop of sour cream and some pickled jalapeños. This is an easy and quick meal.
M. Wyche says
Perfect dish for our Meatless Monday!
Why can't you start out in a big skillet?
There's no reason why you couldn't. I've been making this since before I had a skillet that could transfer to the oven, so I make it this way out of habit.
This was delicious! Added carrot and mushrooms for extra goodness. Pinned for later. Thanks for the recipe
You're welcome! I'm happy you enjoyed it! I like adding mushrooms to it as well!
This is a weeknight favorite. I substitute celery for carrots. When I have kale, I'll also add that. But it is SO good! It tastes like pizza with the broiled cheese. This meatless meal won't have you missing meat at all! Thanks for sharing.
You're so welcome! I'm so happy you love it 🙂
Where do you get 19 ounce cans of lentils and kidney beans? Did a search and only found 19 ounce cans of lentil soup, the rest are mostly 15 oz. Can you give apex weight/grams of the beans?
I buy them at any grocery store I have ever shopped at. If for some reason 19 oz cans are not available in your area, the volume of the can drained is about 2 cups. I hope that helps!
Thanks. I only buy organic, maybe that's why.
Laurie S Darling says
so if substituing dry lentils, would the measurement be two cups cooked? TIA
Yummers. Made it for my work week lunch prep. Very tasty. I added a bit more garlic, cause well garlic!
You can never go wrong with more garlic! Glad you enjoyed it!
Love this recipe! Not into meat as much lately and I saw this and made it. My husband even liked it!
Thanks so much.
I'm so happy you both enjoyed it. You're welcome!
This is gorgeous but I made too much! Can I freeze it?
Hi Julia! I'm so happy you enjoyed it! I have never frozen it myself, but I don't see any reason why you can't!
If I don't have canned beans what's the ratio with dry beans in the bag? Learning how to cook dry beans and I'm still not great at this. Thinking rice was difficult is now a thing of the PAST.
If I were to use dry lentils vs. canned, what quantity would I cook? A cup? Thank you! So excited to try this.