I came across this recipe by chance, while looking at another recipe article on Yahoo (Yahoo had a winning week for me – I made both, with great results!). I’m always looking for new casseroles to try, because they are such a great make-ahead meal, and as much as I love to cook, I am all about saving time on week nights. While its title grabbed my attention, I quickly committed to trying it for another reason – posted by Anne Dolce on The Daily Meal, the introductory paragraph explains that the origins of this casserole stem from feeding large crowds at the family’s camp in Green Lake, Maine.
I will admit, I’d hoped it would be healthier than it is. I love casseroles and baked pasta dishes, but so often, they are carbohydrate-heavy with rich, creamy ingredients – delicious, but not as good for you as they are tasty. Although it calls for sour cream, Cream of Mushroom, and a 16 oz. bag of breadcrumbs (eek!), I chose to forge ahead.
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 16 oz. bag stuffing (I used Pepperidge Farm)
- 1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
- 1 15 oz. can cooked lentils
- 1 10.75 oz. can Cream of Mushroom soup
- 8 oz. sour cream
- 1/2 packet French onion soup mix
- 1 16 oz. bag frozen, French cut green beans, defrosted
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium-size sauce pan, sauté the onion and celery in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
Season with salt and pepper, and add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and add the bag of stuffing. Stir well to dampen the stuffing and set aside.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a medium sauté pan and cook the mushrooms until they are well-browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine lentils, soup, sour cream, onion mix, and mushrooms. Stir well to combine. In a 9×13 baking dish, create one layer using the green beans, a second layer with the mushroom mixture, and a top layer with the stuffing mixture. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 15 minutes, or until the stuffing topping is golden brown and the mushroom mixture is bubbling.
A couple of noteworthy items: rather than making one casserole in a 9×13 dish, I split mine into two smaller pans. My intent is to freeze one so Nick and I have a meal handy in the future. In Anne’s introductory notes, she also points out that this casserole is vegetarian, while the original used Cream of Chicken Soup and shredded chicken. That sounds pretty yummy, I must say! When I’m ready for unhealthy casserole round 2, I’ll certainly try it that way.
This casserole was quite good. I wasn’t entirely certain how much I’d like it while I was mixing the ingredients, but it really turned out well. I do think the original version, with chicken, would be better – I can see the chicken flavor complementing the other ingredients really nicely. I’ll let you know when I confirm this hypothesis!