Add nutritious lentils and luscious cheese to mashed potatoes to turn them into the star of your next meal. They just blend right in with the creaminess, adding flavour to take them 'next level'! (Skip to recipe.)
My mom has never really liked potatoes, so all the years growing up, I thought I didn't like them either.
It's not that we never ate them. She cooked them often because my dad liked them, and because we grew them in the garden, and because they were a filling, cheap staple, and because she had a large family to feed. You just ate potatoes because they were an expected part of most meals. They were on every farm family's table. It wasn't until I became an adult and started cooking potatoes myself, that I learned they are much more than just a starchy side dish. I realized how wonderful potatoes can be.
Now I crave potatoes. I can't get enough of them. They are the ultimate comfort food. Boiled, baked, fried, roasted, hashed, smashed, scalloped, french fried, chipped, pancaked, noodled, or mashed . . . especially mashed - creamy and warm and deeply soul-satisfying.
Mashed potatoes are the perfect vehicle for all sorts of wonderful additions: a blob of melting butter, lashings of rich cheese, a sprinkle of spices, a handful of garlic and onions mellowed to subtle savoriness, and lentils - earthy, nutty little lentils. The two go together like a couple in love.
Red lentils cook into a soft mass that melds beautifully with the creamy potatoes. Lentils are a truly welcome guest in the potato bowl; the kind of guest that comes bearing useful gifts, like abundant fiber, iron, folate, minerals, protein, and low-fat full flavour.
You might want to invite a few lentils to your next dinner gathering . . .
. . . they always behave themselves, taste great, and get along well with all the other guests.
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Kitchen Frau Notes: These potatoes can be made several hours or a day ahead. At serving time, reheat them at a low temperature in the saucepan, and add water, milk, or chicken stock until they are creamy again.
For vegan/dairy-free version: use olive oil or vegan margarine instead of the butter, and replace cheddar cheese with 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast.
Cheesy Lentil Mashed Potatoes
- 2 lbs potatoes (900gms/about 4 medium-to-large-sized ones)
- 1 cup (180gms) red lentils
- ¼ of a medium onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 cups (480ml) water
- 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 cup shredded extra-old cheddar cheese (120gms/4 oz.)
- sprinkle of parsley or snipped chives for garnish, optional
Peel the potatoes and cut them into about 1½-inch (4cm) chunks. Dice the onion and peel the garlic cloves.
Place the potatoes, lentils, onion, garlic, and water in a medium-sized saucepan.
Bring to a boil, then cover the saucepan and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the lid and continue cooking the potatoes until most of the water has been absorbed, and there's only a bit of mushy liquid left at the bottom of the saucepan, about 5 minutes longer, watching that they don't burn. You should be able to scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon and see a clear path that doesn't fill back in with liquid for a few seconds.
Add the salt, pepper, mustard, nutmeg, and 2 tablespoons of the butter. Mash with a potato masher until the potatoes and lentils are smooth and creamy.
Add the shredded cheese and mash until it is incorporated into the potato mixture. If the potatoes seem a bit dry, add a few tablespoons of water or milk to loosen the mixture.
Place into a serving bowl and add the remaining tablespoon of butter on top. Sprinkle with parsley or chives.
Makes 6 cups, serving 6 to 8 generously.
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I created this recipe for the Canadian Lentil Recipe Revelations Challenge.
You might also like some of the other lentil recipes I created for this contest:
. . . or these lentil recipes from last year's contest: