Lentil casserole is a casserole made using any type of lentils that are usually cooked in stock along with some vegetables. Pulses such as lentils are common ingredients in vegetarian cooking, but many lentil casserole recipes include sausages and chorizo, and as such aren’t suitable to vegetarians. Some lentil casserole recipes are vegetarian and vegan friendly, however, often using potatoes as a major ingredient. The process of making lentil casserole generally involves browning any sausages; frying the onion, garlic, and other vegetables; adding the lentils; and then pouring in stock. Most dishes include herbs and spices such as chili flakes, parsley, and thyme.
Any dish cooked in the same pot it is served in that includes lentils can be classed as a lentil casserole. Most dishes classed as casseroles are cooked in the oven in a stock, but either of these can differ without affecting the title of the dish. The majority of lentil casseroles are cooked in a pan on the stove top and usually include vegetable or chicken stock. Some recipes use other liquids such as port as part of the sauce.
Many recipes for lentil casserole are not vegetarian or vegan-friendly because they feature sausages and chorizo, but some can still be found for non-meat-eaters. Potatoes are often used as a replacement ingredient in vegetarian and vegan meals, along with root vegetables such as parsnips and carrots. These are generally cooked in the casserole along with the onions and garlic before the lentils are added to the mixture.
Sausages and chorizo are popular additional ingredients in lentil casserole, and are used to provide some additional flavor to the dish. Chorizo is a cured, Spanish sausage which is very similar to salami and pepperoni. Chefs usually fry the sausages and chorizo before any vegetables are added when making lentil casserole. Generally, the sausages will be cooked until they have browned on all sides and then removed for the next part of the cooking process.
After the sausages and chorizo have been fried, the onion and garlic are usually added to the pan. Chefs allow them to cook until the onions begin to soften, and then add any other vegetables such as carrots or parsnips. The sausages are returned to the pan, and then some chefs put the lentils in to allow them to absorb flavor. Chicken or vegetable stock is then added and the pan is covered with a lid to keep moisture in. Most chefs leave the mixture to simmer for around half an hour before serving.