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I love lentils at any time of year, but especially when things get a big colder and you want something hearty. Lentils are also terrific sources of protein, iron, and fiber. Below is a guideline (rather than a recipe) for making a “veggie pie” – be creative!
Clean, chop, and saute vegetables of your choice in extra virgin olive oil – I like onions, leeks, garlic, celery, an orange or red pepper, and I often add some diced tomatoes. Escarole can also be a terrific addition. So can organic white mushrooms. (If adding mushrooms, don’t add to the pot until the lentils are already cooked and ready to be put into pie shells).
As the vegetables simmer, add a sprig or two of fresh time and a large bay leaf, some red pepper flakes, as well as whatever other seasoning you like to taste. (I like the “Spice Hunter” brand Poultry Grill and Broil seasoning).
When the vegetables start to soften, add ½ lb of green lentils that have been thoroughly rinsed and sorted, as well as enough water to cover by about ½ inch. Add veggie bouillon to taste (I like “Better Than Bouillon” brand) and a splash of red wine if you like. Cook lentils until they are al dente (about 15 minutes – keep checking though). When lentils are cooked through, but nicely firm, shut the burner, and if adding mushrooms, stir them in then.
Using a slotted spoon to drain any excess liquid, fill two pie shells with the filling (I like the gluten-free frozen ones) and top with organic dairy or vegan cheese. Bake according to the instructions on the pie shell packaging. Serve hot, or when cool, freeze for another day.
If you find the pie is too loose, you can with mashed potatoes before putting in the shell and baking. You can also top the pies with another layer of crust instead.