Lentil Sausage Bake


Early this afternoon I took a look in the pantry and was uninspired.  “What am I going to do for dinner tonight?” I thought.  While working through the rest of the afternoon, I let this little conundrum roll around in the back of my head.  Inspiration usually hits me if I just let my subconscious work like it’s wont to do.  And it did not let me down.

I have a shload of lentils in the pantry, which is where I wanted to start my dinner theme.  How could I incorporate lentils into tonight’s dinner but not have it be the overwhelming flavor?  (Don’t get me wrong, I love lentils, but I was not in the mood today for a lentil-heavy dish like a dal or something like that.)  My subconscious said, “Add sausage.”  Hubby would certainly like that, so I plucked a 1 pound package of bulk sausage from the freezer to thaw.

Side note: The bulk pork sausage is from the half hog hubby and I bought earlier this year.  Our local butcher makes incredible breakfast sausage, and I use it in all sorts of dishes, not just fried up with eggs and pancakes for breakfast.

What else was in my pantry?  Ah, I just bought some sweet potatoes the other day.  I love sweet potatoes, and they are such a nutritious addition to a meal.  I cooked the lentils and roasted the sweet potatoes early on, once I decided they were going to star in the meal.  Then I let my brain finish assembling the ingredients into something delicious.  I have a ton of chopped, frozen kale in the freezer from the CSA this summer.  Things were beginning to solidify in my head.  Onion.  I would definitely need some onion.

When I began cooking dinner, I wasn’t exactly sure where I would end up, but I figured I would wing it and make it work out one way or another.  That’s just how I roll in the kitchen.  I ended up tossing in a few herbs–thyme, rosemary, and some homemade garlic powder.  And that was it.  It came together nicely and hubby was pretty stoked at how good everything tasted together.  We both agreed that it was the perfect meal for a chilly evening.  It was something like peasant food, we decided.  Not really a casserole, but not really a skillet scramble, either.  It’s hard to classify just what it is–except delicious.  And I was really pleased that hubby liked it.  Sometimes when I mention ‘lentils,’ he gets a pained look on his face.  Or kale.  Or sweet potatoes.  But the lentils weren’t overwhelming.  The kale wasn’t obtrusive.  The sweet potatoes weren’t too sweet.  And there was sausage in it.  How can you go wrong with sausage, some would argue?  There was a nice range of flavors, textures, and plenty of vitamins and minerals to go around.  In fact, lentils, kale, and sweet potatoes are considered ‘super foods,’ chocked full of good stuff (come to think of it, I’m sure there are plenty of people who would argue that sausage is, in fact, a super food).  I don’t get too wrapped up in all the super food hype, I just eat food because I like it.  I also try to eat a well-balanced, vitamin/mineral/fiber rich diet, but I don’t stock my pantry with any particular item just because it is trendy.  But I have to admit, I was a little proud of my combination tonight.  It felt like a ‘Nailed it!’ moment.  I’m definitely looking forward to leftovers tomorrow!

Want to give it a try?  Find the recipe here.