Turkey leftovers, a buffet meal, or just a delicious weeknight meal…this cheesy baked lentils, rice, and turkey casserole by Jim Romanoff for the Associated Press is my new go to one pan meal. I have been slow to discover gluten free casseroles, but this one allows you to use a combination of fresh, frozen, and pantry ingredients to make a healthy dinner. Most of my childhood favorites call for cans of soup or other main ingredients that are NOT gluten free or healthy. However, I came across this casserole recipe in our local newspaper…it looks like it ran on the Associated Press, so you may have seen it in your paper as well. I have substituted chicken for turkey with success and I would imagine that you can tweak this for other vegetables/ingredients that you have on hand as well. You could even make it a side sish or vegetarian option by removing the meat entirely.
I used the gluten free lentil soup from Progresso. I also use frozen instead of fresh spinach, and I choose not to use reduced fat cheese. For one version, I substituted the cheese for a mixture of gluten free breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Try it once staying true to the recipe and then have fun!
Here is the recipe including my notes for recommended substitutions:
Cheesy Baked Lentils, Rice and Turkey Casserole (4 servings)1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil 8 ounces turkey breast, cut into bite-size cubes …(or chicken or precooked turkey etc) 1 small yellow onion, chopped
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
2. In a large skillet over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the turkey and onions and saute until the turkey is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and saute for another minute. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. (This step is unnecessary if using frozen spinach and precooked meat. Instead add all ingredients to the baking dish.)
3. Add the soup, rice, thyme, salt, pepper and water. Stir to combine. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake for 40 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed all the liquid.
4. Uncover and sprinkle with both cheeses. Bake for another 5 minutes, or until the cheeses have melted.