Sunday, December 13, 2009

Whole Grain, Lentil and Veggie Casserole

Most weekends we have my elderly parents over for dinner. It is my way of making certain they eat a couple of healthy meals each week. Let's just say having elderly parents is a little like having kids only they have free will and many bad habits. Figuring out what to feed the parents is always tough since they eat so differently from us. On the weekends I tend to cook things that are less healthy than Dan and I would normally eat, but much more healthy that what my parents eat during the week.

Tonight I decided to make a casserole with whole grains, lentils and veggies. I really wasn’t certain how this would go over. Part of me was expecting this casserole to be met with a “granola like” reaction. I have seen that reaction many times before. My parents are more adventurous than most people in there 80’s but I know they secretly think my husband and I have gone “hippy” on them.

Much to my surprise both my parents had seconds of this casserole tonight. Additionally they both told me it was good without being asked. I would guess if this passed muster with my elderly mid-western omnivore parents it might work with omni’s you know. Here is what I made tonight.

Whole Grain, Lentil and Veggie Casserole
Serves 6 as a main dish


1 cup green lentils, picked through and rinses
½ cup brown basmati rice
½ cup wheat berries
5 cups water
1 pinch of salt
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 carrots quartered and cut into ½ inch pieces
½ cup water
1 cup celery tops, minced
1 cup red bell peppers, sliced
8 cups cauliflower, but into bite sized pieces
1 cup Brussels sprouts, halved
1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least an hour
½ cup oatmeal, dry
2 ½ cups water
2 cloves garlic, peeled
¼ cup nutritional yeast
¼ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons whole wheat breadcrumbs, for topping


Combine the lentils, basmati, wheat berries, water and salt and bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook until everything is soft (about 45 minutes). Some water will probably be remaining. If there is excess water drain everything in a fine sieve and move to a large mixing bowl.

While the rice is cooking water sauté the onions and carrots until soft. Add the celery tops and cook until they are wilted. Then drain and cool and place in the bowl with the cooked grains and lentils.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Steam cauliflower and Brussels sprouts until tender and add to the veggies and grains. Toss the mixture to evenly distribute the veggies and the grains. Place the mixture in a 9 by 13 pan.

To make the cashew sauce drain the cashews and place them and the remaining ingredients (except the breadcrumbs) in the blender and process until combined and smooth.

Cook the cashew sauce until it begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Place the cashew sauce on top the veggies. Sprinkle with whole wheat bread crumbs.

Bake the casserole until it has heated through. Exactly how long you will need to bake it is a function of the temperature to the casserole when it goes into the oven. If all the foods are cooked at the same time and is placed into the oven hot it will heat through in 15 minutes.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 434.57
Calories From Fat (17%) - 73.57

Total Fat - 8.75g
Saturated Fat - 1.56g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 752.78mg
Potassium - 1578.63mg
Total Carbohydrates - 70.79g
Fiber - 20.26g
Sugar - 9.42g
Protein - 23.47g


I was really surprised by how well this was received tonight. It had a very mild character that would probably work well with children. Because of the lentils and whole grains this meal is very filling.

Each serving of this recipe contains approximately 7,500IU of vitamin A, 105mg of vitamin C, 120mg of calcium, 400mcg of folate, 480mg of phosphorus, 200mg of magnesium, and 27mcg of selenium.

While this meal contained more grain than it should have, and I had to many nuts for the day it was healthier than many things I could have made. Overall I was quite pleased with this meal, which was a compromise between how I want to eat and what my parents consider acceptable.

Unrelated note:

I am off to get some things accomplished tonight before it is time to relax. See you tomorrow.


  1. Oh yum. I love lentils!! You gotta stop posting all these yummy recipes! LOL

  2. Hi Heather,

    Thanks, I love lentils too! They are so nutritious and quick.

    If you like heat I would suggest you add a tablespoon or two of hot crushed peppers (wet hots) to the filling. I would have added it but my mother doesn't like spicy food. The hubby and I were just saying we missed the heat in this dish.

    have a great evening,

  3. Wow, this is chock full of goodies! Looks absolutely delicious!

  4. Blessedmama,

    Thanks! I made this recipe as healthy as I thought the omni's could take. Surprisingly they both had seconds. Sometimes they surprise me.

    I hope you had a great weekend,

  5. Weekend was great, thanks! Hey, weren't you taking the night off???? Go get some sleep, now! :)

  6. Blessedmama,

    Glad you had a good weekend.

    Your bean and "sausage" dish looked really good last night.

    talk to you later,

  7. "Additionally they both told me it was good without being asked"

    breaking my heart, thats so sad you try so hard!i know i like your food without even tasting it.

    (everything is good here, we are in our new house and i only had spotty internet for awhile, i will write asap!!!!!)

  8. Michelle,

    I have been trying to show them that healthy food can taste good for a couple of years. It would be good if they ate more healthy meals, but I have given up that they are going to change anything on their own. At least they eat two healthy meals each week (or more if they take some of the leftovers).

    Glad to hear you are in house. I can't wait to hear the details when you have time.

    talk to you later,


Related Posts with Thumbnails