This vegetarian version of the comfort food classic will satisfy vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Hearty lentils and savory spices make up the foundation of this warm and cozy Tater Tot Casserole. The natural starch in lentils create a creamy sauce for this casserole without the need for any added cream. Transfer this to a casserole dish or bake it right in the skillet you use to sauté the filling.
Prep Time20 minutesmins
Cook Time50 minutesmins
Total Time1 hourhr10 minutesmins
Course: Main Dish
Keyword: casserole, gluten free, hot dish, lentils, one pot meal, vegetarian
Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Oven Safe Skillet or 9x13 Baking Dish
2teaspoonSmoked Paprika(sub regular paprika)
1teaspoonMustard Powder(sub Dijon mustard)
3cupsVegetable Stock / Broth
2tablespoonSoy Sauce(sub Tamari for gluten-free)
1 ½cupsRaw Green Lentils
1cupFrozen Peas, defrosted
24ozFrozen Tater Tots(potato “coins” or “crowns” are great too; use gluten-free if needed)
Preheat oven to 425°F / 218°C. If using a 9x13-inch casserole dish, spray it with nonstick cooking spray (alternatively, you can prepare the filling in a 12-inch oven-safe skillet and bake the casserole directly in that).
Heat a 12-inch skillet (if baking right in the skillet) or saucepan (if planning to transfer to a casserole dish) over medium heat. Add olive oil. When it begins to shimmer, add onions and carrots and sauté until starting to soften, 5 to 6 minutes.
Add dried thyme, smoked paprika, mustard powder, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper and stir for 2 minutes.
Stir in stock, soy sauce, and tomato paste. Bring to a simmer.
When liquids are simmering, stir in lentils. Cover and simmer, covered, until lentils are tender, ~20 minutes. (Reduce heat if needed to maintain a low simmer.)
Stir peas into lentils.
If using a casserole dish, scrape lentil mixture into casserole dish.
Top lentils with tater tots in a single layer.
Transfer to the oven and bake, uncovered, until tater tots are deep golden brown and very crisp, ~30 minutes.
Let casserole rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Serve with some plain yogurt or sour cream if you’d like. Enjoy!
Green Lentils - Green lentils will hold their shape better than other varieties over this long cook time, but just about any lentils will work here.