Baked grain dishes can be a very satisfying way to add deep warmth and variety to meals. They are especially nourishing in a cold, damp climate like the Pacific Northwest.
This technique, learned from Sharon Gray at Belly & Soul, is super easy and adaptable to a wide variety of grains, beans and vegetables.Check out Baked Quinoa with Lentils and Squash for another variation.
I like to add green peas at the end if there will be kids at the dinner table. Most kids like green peas. Sometimes the bright green gives earth tone dishes more eye-appeal and it’s something they can easily recognize as delicious. This can make the dish seem a little more friendly if they are a cautious eater.
Baked Lentils and Rice with Root Vegetables
unrefined olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 tsp mixed dry herbs (like sage, thyme, rosemary, marjoram) If using any fresh herb except for rosemary, you can add at end.
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups assorted root vegetables, cut into bite size chunks (I used red radish, rutabaga and carrot)
3/4 cup rinsed brown rice
1/4 cup rinsed brown or french lentils
freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup frozen peas or fresh cooked peas (optional)
1. Oven to 350°. You will need a medium-size skillet or dutch oven that has a lid and can go from the stove top to the oven.
2. Heat the skillet on medium. Add the oil, then the onions when they sizzle gently. Sauté the onions until translucent.
3. Add garlic, herbs and bay leaf. Sauté for another minute.
4. Add vegetables, rice and lentils and sauté for about 5 minutes.
5. Add a couple moderate pinches of salt, black pepper and 2 1/2 cups water. Stir. Bring to a boil. As soon as the mixture is boiling, add the cover and place in the oven to bake for 50 minutes.
6. Remove from oven. If adding peas, pour them on top and cover for 10 minutes more to give the peas a chance to cook. Stir them in before serving.