4. Baked Lentils with Cheese, pg. 106
By this time most weeks, I'm scrambling to use all the fresh vegetables Justin brings home from work on Fridays before they rot before my very eyes. I do not like watching food go to waste, nor do I like having it finishing rotting in my trash can (my poor worms can't take it all), encouraging the propagation of fruit flies...
So, this recipe was great for calling for many vegetables which are in season. Carrots, an onion, half a bell pepper, parsley...And, instead of canned tomatoes, fresh ones worked wonders! I used slices of farmer's cheese with vegetables instead of cheddar -- most any cheese could virtually create a new dish! :)
Halved, this dish is a perfect solo meal dish for two. Though it's a bit time consuming with all of the timed-additions, if you've got an hour and a half free until dinner, it's a good fit.
Lentils are one of those foods that are so versatile, I'm surprised they're not more prevalent in our cooking habits. Then again, when a friend asked last week how lentils are grown, I had no clue. Apparently, there are over 15 types, though in our standard American groceries, you're lucky to find two or three. I've used lentils as protein sources in burgers, soups, and casseroles. This recipe particularly reminds me a bit of pot roast -- the stuff our mom's used to let sit in a crockpot for hours. It's so warm and hearty, most people will probably enjoy it, even if they're leery of the idea of lentils.
This recipe is easily doctored to be spicy, lactose-free, or vegetabbly-winterized. Add cayenne powder or fresh jalapeños, omit the cheese (or substitute your favorite soya-based cheese), and add potatoes or other root vegetables and omit the green pepper.
Overall: 4 out of 5