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vegetarian tater tot casserole in a cast iron skillet
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4 from 12 votes

Vegetarian Tater Tot Casserole

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 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes
Total Time1 hour 10 minutes
Course: Main Dish
Keyword: casserole, gluten free, hot dish, lentils, one pot meal, vegetarian
Servings: 8
Calories: 355kcal
Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $10.00


  • Oven Safe Skillet or 9x13 Baking Dish


  • 2 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 cup diced Onions
  • 1 cup diced Carrots
  • 2 teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • 2 teaspoon Smoked Paprika (sub regular paprika)
  • 1 teaspoon Mustard Powder (sub Dijon mustard)
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 3 cups Vegetable Stock / Broth
  • 2 tablespoon Soy Sauce (sub Tamari for gluten-free)
  • 3 tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 1 ½ cups Raw Green Lentils
  • 1 cup Frozen Peas, defrosted
  • 24 oz Frozen 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.


Calories: 355kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 1176mg | Potassium: 785mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 3365IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 4mg