This BBQ Lentil Bake is a perfect main dish casserole. It’s a hearty meal that easily feeds a crowd.
Our easy recipe for BBQ Lentil Bake is a dish for all seasons. It’s a welcome comfort during the cold season since it’s filling and savory but its also an ideal side dish for cookouts.
Late April is a very fickle time in our part of West Virginia. It’s hot and sunny one day and cold and wet the next. So, on Saturday you might decide to have an impromptu cookout with friends and Sunday hibernate under the covers because you refuse to turn the heat back on!
This kind of flipsy-flopsy weather is exactly what I had in mind when I created this BBQ Lentil Bake recipe. It’s a casserole that works any time of year. That’s because during the colder months its a hearty main but when the weather turns warm, this is an ideal side dish for a cookout.
Lentils covered in barbecue sauce topped with a cheddar cornmeal biscuit… YUM! It’s like baked beans rolled into a corn dog “bun”. But so much better than either of those things.
This BBQ Lentil Bake is sweet, savory, rich and won’t leave you hungry. I know that’s important for my vegetarian friends. I’ve been to dinners where my vegetarian friends left hungry because almost every dish had meat in it. And the one that doesn’t? It’s usually lacking protein.
Well, I promise you that if this is the veggie casserole you serve at a cookout or a winter potluck, your vegetarian friends ( and the meat eaters too) will leave satisfied. Our barbecue lentil casserole has legumes for protein, veggies for nutrition and a cheddar cornmeal biscuit topping for a little carb indulgence. Plus there’s barbecue sauce…because who doesn’t like a good barbecue sauce?
Notice I said good not tasty. It’s very easy to pick up any bottle of barbecue sauce off the store shelf and like the taste. The hard part is to find one that doesn’t have sugar (or high fructose corn syrup) as the first ingredient. After reading dozens of labels I settled on Stubb’s Sweet Heat. It has 40 calories per 2 tablespoons while most of the products on the shelf were about 70. All that sugar adds up fast!
I mean you want a little sweetness or it wouldn’t be barbecue sauce! But there’s natural sweetness in the casserole from the corn….so no need to add lots of processed sugar to the mix. And it’s not needed because this Stubb’s sauce is delicious!
The other thing I love about this recipe is that it can go from stove to oven in one dish with cast iron. I borrowed my neighbor’s 15-inch Lodge pan which easily holds as much as a large lasagna pan (about 16 cups). There are normally only two of us, so we don’t have a lot of pans this large, but I’m super tempted to buy one now! It’s makes an impressive presentation on the family dinner table.
Everyone will remember how great this casserole recipe tastes! The sweetness of the corn, the cheesy biscuit, the tangy barbecue covered green peppers and lentils. They’ll be asking for the recipe before they leave the table!
BBQ Lentil Bake
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium red onion , diced
- 2 jalapenos , seeded and diced (you can leave the seeds if you want it spicier)
- 1 green pepper , diced
- 1 bunch cilantro , chopped
- 2 15 oz cans lentils, drained and rinsed
- 1 14.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
- 16 oz frozen corn
- 1 cup BBQ sauce (I used Stubb's Sweet Heat)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 cups AP flour
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 12 oz cheddar cheese , very finely grated, divided
- 12 TB butter , very cold and cut into pats
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- In a skillet, heat oil over medium high heat.
- Once the oil is hot, sauté the onion, jalapeno and green pepper until the vegetables are tender but not completely cooked.
- Take off the heat and stir in the cilantro, lentils, tomatoes, corn and barbecue sauce.
- Season filling with salt and pepper to taste.
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Mix together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and 8 ounces of the finely grated cheddar. (Chill this mixture if you have time, it will help the rise of the biscuit).
- Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter until butter is pea sized.
- Make a well in the center of the bowl and add milk.
- Stir in milk by hand, folding with a spatula about 8 times. (a little of unincorporated flour is okay)
- Grease very large skillet or a large lasagna pan.
- Layer the filling in the bottom on the pan.
- Place half of the remaining cheese on top of the filling.
- Top with biscuit dough, being careful to not overwork (or warm up) the dough as you place it on the filling.
- Top biscuit with remaining cheese.
- Bake 35-45 minutes, until topping is very golden.
- We made this dish in a large cast iron skillet because it can go from stove to oven.
- If freezing, make casserole as stated, then cover tightly and freeze. Bake from frozen.
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