Maple Baked Lentils with Sweet Potato – Healthy Comfort Food

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maple baked lentils 9961 thumb   Maple Baked Lentils with Sweet Potato – Healthy Comfort Food

Oh, January. Your detoxes, cleanses, juice fasts, diet commercials, and cellulite cream jeans are starting to get on my nerves. Just so you know I’m tuning you out, so don’t bother trying to lure me in with 6 easy payments or strict diet plans. It’s just not my thing. My approach to January – or any other month for that matter – is to eat food that makes me feel good and less of what doesn’t. But this approach doesn’t really sell, does it?

Soup, chili, and casseroles – these are the warm, comfort foods on my mind most days. Today, I’m sharing my take on maple baked beans, using hearty, chewy lentils for a fun twist. Lentils may seem boring to many, but I find them just the opposite. Their subtle flavour can blend into just about any vegan dish. Much like tofu, lentils are a great canvas for many different flavours, spices, and cuisines. I even adore them plain with a dusting of Herbamare and splash of vinegar. It’s a rather homely snack, but I’d devour the entire bowl before noticing.

Adding more fuel to my lentil loving fire – Canada is the world’s largest producer of lentils. It’s in my blood, eh? Their relative proximity, along with being a super cheap protein source, make them a regular staple in my diet. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that they are nutritional powerhouses too. One cooked cup provides around 17.86 grams of protein, 6.5 mg iron, and 15.64 grams of fibre (source) making it a stick-to-your-ribs plant food that can go the distance. Pair them with Vitamin C rich sweet potato and you’ll boost your iron absorption even more.

maple baked lentils 9966 thumb   Maple Baked Lentils with Sweet Potato – Healthy Comfort Food

Maple Baked Lentils with Sweet Potato

A bit of apple cider vinegar rounds out the sweetness of the dish and I encourage you to adjust the amounts to your own taste as you may like more or less pop from the vinegar. Serve this over some toasted bread, or even with a salad, and you have yourself a budget-friendly vegan meal during the peak of winter. To save on cook time, make the lentils beforehand and simply mix everything together and pop into the oven.

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Yield: 4-6 servings

2 cups dry green lentils
1 sweet onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 sweet apple, peeled and diced (I used Gala)
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced small*
14-oz can diced tomatoes (about 1.5 cups)
2.5 tbsp pure maple syrup
2 tbsp blackstrap molasses
2 tsp regular mustard
1/2-1 tsp fine grain sea salt + ground pepper, to taste
1-2.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar, to taste

1. Rinse and drain lentils. In a large oven-safe pot or Dutch oven*, add lentils along with 4 cups of water. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer for about 30 minutes, uncovered, stirring often. Add more water if necessary. Lentils are ready when they are just tender (but not mushy) and most of the water is absorbed.

2. Preheat oven to 375F. Add onion, garlic, apple, sweet potato, tomatoes (with juice), maple syrup, blackstrap molasses, mustard, salt, and pepper to the pot with the lentils. Stir well to combine. Add half of the apple cider vinegar (you’ll add the rest later if desired).

3. Cover with lid (or tin foil in a pinch) and bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven, uncover, and stir. Bake for another 8-12 minutes, uncovered, until the sweet potato is tender. Stir in the rest of the apple cider vinegar if desired and season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

4. Serve over toasted bread or with a salad.

Nutritional Info (without bun): based on six and four servings.

Notes: If you don’t have an oven-safe pot or Dutch oven, simply transfer the mixture into a casserole dish and cover with tin foil before baking. 2) Dice the sweet potato small to decrease cook time.

maple baked lentils 9957 thumb   Maple Baked Lentils with Sweet Potato – Healthy Comfort Food

What are your favourite vegan comfort foods?

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{ 238 comments… read them below or add one }

Becca January 18, 2013

Gah! The photography in this post is awesome! Love the styling and rustic look.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2013

Thank you, I had fun with it :)

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Suzy November 13, 2013

This dish looks amazing! My husband is allergic to all tomato products. Do you have any suggestions for substituting out the tomatoes?

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Angela January 25, 2013

Made this tonight and LOVED it!! Very tasty and filling. My hubby came home from work and started eating from the dish and couldn’t stop. LOL

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Sarah January 18, 2013

I want this right now! It’s 55 degrees where I live (South Florida, I consider this freezing!) and this sounds so perfect.

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Mstar January 18, 2013

Yes I agree. I’m also in south Florida and trying to find a healthy warming recipe. This looks so good!

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Frauleinlola January 20, 2013

High of -11 here in Minneapolis on Monday! A perfect day to try this. :)

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Kristin January 21, 2013

Atlanta and 53. Also what we consider freezing!

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Christine Gillis January 18, 2013

It’s snowing here in Nova Scotia and this sounds like the perfect supper! I have a sweet potato waiting to be used up and (or course) lots of lentils! Thank you Angela!

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Erica {Coffee & Quinoa}\ January 18, 2013

Between a juice cleanse and lentils, I will choose lentils every time. Thanks for the recipe!

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Picky Nicky January 18, 2013

im also a canadian lentil lover :) i actually never knew canada was a huge lentil producer!

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Andrea January 18, 2013

Oh yum! Some of my favourite flavours, all in one – this is definitely going on my to-make list for this month. Question for you – do you think this would work in a crock pot?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2013

I can’t see why not :)

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Starr February 3, 2013

How would you adapt this recipe for the crock pot?

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Ashleyy January 18, 2013

haha that was going to be my question too! I think I am going to try it!

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Suzanne January 18, 2013

This looks AMAZING!!!! I so wish my husband liked sweet potatoes more cause I love them, butternut squash etc! And my boyz are so picky. Oh well – more for me :)
Love the idea of trying the crock pot too as I am looking for more CP recipes – thanks for the idea

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janet @ the taste space January 18, 2013

I am on the same wavelength as you, Ange.. down with detox/cleanses, on with whole foods! I made something very similar recently.. Nova Scotian baked beans with blackstrap molasses and pumpkin seed butter. I probably should try it with maple syrup at some point, too. Love seeing you using lentils.. They are definitely one of my favourites. :)

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Anele @ Success Along the Weigh January 18, 2013

Girl, your photography makes me wanna jump through the screen and dig in!! ;-)

Happy Friday!

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Misty January 18, 2013

This looks amazing! Yum! I’m excited to make this tomorrow!! I love your baked bean cornbread recipe, I actually made it for xmas dinner! Ps. Also made your crispy breaded tofu strips last night, they are now a staple for me! So good!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2013

I’m happy to hear you like the cornbread casserole! Thanks for trying it out.

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Suzanne January 18, 2013

Oh my – that was a great one – we all loved the maple bean cornbread mix! You are genius :-)

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Becky January 18, 2013

I echo the sentiment on your baked bean/pumpkin/cornbread casserole – I make it year roung – even in the summer. It’s probably my favorite recipe of yours so far – which is saying a lot because they are all so good!

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Emma January 18, 2013

Likewise on the pumpkin baked bean cornbread casserole. It was a hit with everyone at home- all omnivores except me. This recipe looks equally delicious. I love your refreshing attitude to eating too :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2013

Thanks ladies! I don’t know why, but I didn’t think that recipe had many fans. Glad to hear otherwise :)

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Mandi January 18, 2013

Is there a recipe for that bread???? Oh my gosh that bread looks so yummy! If there is a recipe, please post that as well!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2013

Sadly no, it’s just bakery bread. :)

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Morgan January 23, 2013

Aww that was my question. It look so good (along with your recipe, of course!)

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Lauren January 30, 2013

I was coming here to ask the same thing! That crusty bread looks amazing.

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Charity February 7, 2013

What is the name of that bread? What bakery? It looks totally delish and I want it when I make this dish!

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table January 18, 2013

I’m with you on just eating good food in January. I just recommitted to eating good, clean foods. And vowed to drink a tad less wine. Lol!

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Kristen Waby/Kristensfitnessnook January 18, 2013

I am so making this on the weekend! How long would this take in a crock pot do you think?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2013

I think it would work just fine. Keep an eye on the moisture content though, as Im not sure it would dry out.

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Allie January 20, 2013

Cut up for the crockpot tomorow…let you know!

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Sarah @ Yogi in Action January 18, 2013

That looks delicious! I definitely want to try and make that. I also love lentils- it helps that my dad is a farmer and grows them. My favourite is when I get a bag of lentils from my dad’s farm!

My favourite vegan food is hummus. I love hummus and sometimes eat it straight. Delicious :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2013

I can get behind hummus as a comfort food for sure

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Heather January 18, 2013

Hahaha I saw the commercial for cellulite cream jeans and my first thought was ‘gross’ and my second thought was to buy better chapstick (Mick Jagger’s daughter is the model and her lips are ah-mazing).

Loving the rustic meal vibe :-)

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Chelsea January 18, 2013

This looks amazing!! You have the cutesy dishes:)

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Staci January 18, 2013

That bread looks AMAZING!! did you make that too, or where did you get it?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2013

Sadly no, it’s from a bakery :)

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Shundara@ SavyNaturalista January 18, 2013

I thought I was the only one annoyed by all the juice and detox fasts, I am happy to know I am not the only one. My favorite vegan food would half to be vegan lemon bars. This sub looks amazing especially since it is so cold and all you want to eat is comfort food :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2013

You know what’s weird, I don’t know if I’ve ever had a lemon square/bar before!

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Dutchgirlsam January 18, 2013

Hmmm, that looks amazing! I also love my fare share of lentils. So funny, I’m a Dutch foodie, but I’ve never seen a Dutch Oven, like ever. Had to Google it, to know what it is :-D.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2013

You aren’t alone…I just learned that term in recent months.

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j dahlberg January 18, 2013

Oh my goodness! That picture is so beautiful. I love the texture of the wood and placemat. I started following your blog a few weeks ago as I transition to more plant-based meals. I bought some red lentils two days ago and had no idea what to do with them, as I have never cooked with them before. Then…….POW! Here is a recipe for me to try. Thanks! I will try this out on our dinner guest this Sunday. God bless you in this wonderful journey of health and happiness.

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lea January 18, 2013

In case you are not aware….red lentils have a very different texture than the green lentils used in this recipe……

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j dahlberg January 18, 2013

Thanks so much Lea for helping in my “plant education” Until a month ago I had never even heard of cashew cream. Now I use it in many things instead of sour cream which I used to inhale. My husband grew up in the South and I grew up in the West raised on meat and potatoes, so this is quite a journey for me. Baby steps. Take care!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2013

Thanks for your comments! Firstly, congrats on the amazing changes you are making in your lifestyle. You are such an inspiration. I can relate to not knowing what to do with new ingredients….this has been my journey over the past few years. :)

Like Lea mentioned, red lentils do have a much different texture when cooked. Red lentils “fluff up” and get super soft, almost disappearing into the food. Green or brown lentils stay more intact with a better chew to them and they are my preferred lentil in dishes like this. I do have some red lentil recipes though, most recently a red lentil soup that has a lot of positive reviews: http://ohsheglows.com/2012/11/07/spiced-red-lentil-tomato-and-kale-soup/

Enjoy & goodluck!

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lea January 19, 2013

I made that soup ….. at the time I substituted spinach for the kale…its really good.

I had the Maple Baked Lentils last night…another big hit with me…I am having the leftovers tonight with coconut rice…

Thanks again Angela

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Angela January 19, 2013

Glad to hear that! Thanks for letting me know.

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char eats greens January 18, 2013

Yum sound so good Angela and I’m loving the rustic look to the pics too!!! And seriously, that bread looks mighty delicious to pair with this dish!!! I just used some green lentils in a soup last night but I think I know what I’ll be using them for next time ;)

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Lauren January 18, 2013

This looks AHH-mazing! Cannot wait to try it!

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Julia January 18, 2013

I agree-lentils are the best comfort food and work great in many dishes that call for meat preparation (stews, casseroles, hummus). My all-time favorite use for lentils is in my grandmother’s Lebanese lentil soup, which I have eaten and loved since I was a child (I suppose I was destined to be vegan from the start). Your reference to maple baked beans reminded me of a woman who was seated at our dinner table on a cruise and kept referring to her unwanted lentil side dish as “beans”. I had to restrain myself from chuckling at the mistake (and from scooping the “beans” off her plate and onto mine :) ).

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2013

poor little lentils heh

ps- Im now googling Lebanese lentil soup

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Herbivore Triathlete January 18, 2013

I agree that the photography is gorgeous, very rustic, which I love! I could eat lentils the way you described, plain out of the pot. I boil mine with Herbamare and a bay leaf, so good!

I also adore hummus and will eat it plain with just a spoon (or my finger!).

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Lindsey MM January 18, 2013

Oh this looks so yummy!!! I love warm foods in the winter and lentils are great!! One of my favorite comfort foods is curry — definitely love curries :) and also oatmeal. I am on a serious oatmeal kick lately mixing peanut butter, chocolate, molasses, a touch of maple syrup, crumbled up bread/muffins, and flax milk. I’m obsessed its crazy! I also added your freezer fudge to oatmeal recently and it was awesome!

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Anne January 18, 2013

I need to bring a winter comfort food dish to a potluck. I’m bringing this one! Thanks!

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Kathryn January 18, 2013

What would the equivalent measurement be if I used canned lentils instead? (Btw, I absolutely adore your blog and recipes!)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2013

Hey Kathryn, I think 1 cup dry lentils makes around 2-2.5 cups cooked? So you’d need roughly 4-5 cups cooked lentils. Hope this helps!

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Margaret January 18, 2013

This is exactly the sort of food I crave this time of year. I appreciate that this is a fairly simple recipe, with things that I always tend to have around the house. I’m excited to try it! Plus, one of my favorite vegan comfort foods is lentil soup!

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Nikki W. January 18, 2013

Who knew lentils could be so stunning? Beautiful photos and a delicious looking meal. I didn’t know about the lentil + Canada connection, but that’s awesome too. Definitely bookmarking this one. I love the addition of molasses, mustard, and ACV. Yum.

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Marielle | Vega in Vianen January 18, 2013

A Dutch oven?! Please enlighten this Dutch girl!

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Dutchgirlsam January 18, 2013

Hey Marielle, you can find it on Wiki. Never seen it before too! Strange, isn’t it? Hahaha!

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Marielle | Vega in Vianen January 18, 2013

What an education! Shame on us, he? :) Of all people, we should have one of those lying around! I’ll check my grandma’s storage room, just in case… :P

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2013

Interesting :) So tell me what do you call them? Cast iron pots or something else?

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Dutchgirlsam January 18, 2013

Have you ever seen a Dutch Oven before, Marielle? I sure didn’t! It looks a bit like a Hans and Gretel’s witch pot to me :). But sorry Angela, I don’t have a name for it. Cast iron pot is a good name, I guess :).

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Marielle | Vega in Vianen January 19, 2013

No, never! And it does look like something from a fairy tale. There are plenty of websites though, trying to bring back this ‘ancient’ way of cooking. Very in line with all the conservatism going on these days ;) But I would also go with cast iron pot, they look quite similar.

It’s funny how some things are apparently Dutch and I had no idea. Like Dutch processed cocoa. I have no idea whether the cocoa brand I use is Dutch ;) or what Dutch processed even means. I thought the only thing we did well was bipartisan politics (we do that “well” at the moment though) and building dykes, re-claiming land. And develop television programmes..Mmm… I should reconsider my patriotism ;)

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Dutchgirlsam January 19, 2013

Hahaha! Yes, funny isn’t it! And when traveling abroad they frequently ask my husband and I if we use drugs. We use what!? Eeeh, no thanks! :) About the Dutch cocoa, I asked myself the same question. Maybe there are mostly blends in Canada/ USA, with sugar or milkpowder in it or something? Not sure eighter….

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Carie January 26, 2013

Dutch process cocoa is alkalized cocoa. It has a neutral pH, as opposed to the acidic pH of regular cocoa. It doesn’t mean it has sugar or milk powder.

Christine @ Shot Bun January 18, 2013

This looks delicious! I have a butternut squash sitting on my counter at home so I think I’ll swap the sweet potato in your recipe with the squash and try this recipe out tonight.

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Kristin January 21, 2013

I have a butternut that needs using too. Please let us know how your swap turns out.

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Bethany January 18, 2013

I’m not trying to ruin what looks like the PERFECT comfort food meal… but what about baking some kale or spinach into those lentils along with the sweet potatoes? Would that be a weird texture?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2013

Oh yea that would work Im sure :)

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Stephanie January 18, 2013

I love when I already have all the ingredients to one of your recipes. Plus, I live in Chicago (we’re hitting single digits next week), so this will be coming out of the kitchen VERY soon.

Thank you!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2013

It’s getting chilly here too -perfect time for warmer foods! Its been so mild here so far this winter.

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Carley @ OptimisticHealth January 18, 2013

Sold. Lentils first timer over here!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2013

Nice, let me know how it goes

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allison January 18, 2013

yep gonna make this tomorrow night :-) my girls love sweet potatoes :-) we are loving lentils, I made a delicious lentil taco salad filling last week, definately a go to meal in our house. tasted soooo yummy.

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Bruna January 18, 2013

my favorites are veggie soups!!!

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Averie @ Averie Cooks January 18, 2013

Maple baked anything is always a win and I bet your house smelled amazing! I am loving that earthy, grainy, texture-filled loaf of bread too! The perfect kind!

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Mary January 18, 2013

Wow – how did you know those ingredients are just what I picked up at the grocery store yesterday (with no intent in mind)? I’m putting it in the meal rotation for this weekend. :)

I also greatly appreciate and empathize with your reaction to the January fads. How crazy would it be to see an infomercial touting that yes – it’s January – as good as a time to make a fresh start as any! Here are some small steps you can take on a lifetime path of wellness! And you don’t have to send us any money!

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Karen January 18, 2013

Heeeeey girl, whatta winner you have here, MUST do! OMG, I sooo wanna add something like cauliflower…and/or brussels sprouts or something – what do you think?
Much love!
Karen

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Jack January 18, 2013

I think you should post the recipe for the amazing bread in those photos!!! By the way, yay Vegan Canadian Women! :) Even in the small city Im from in Ontario its nice to know there are other proud vegan canadians out there! :)

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Christina January 18, 2013

Hey Angela! Absolutely love your website. It’s my go-to for amazing food and I always direct people to it. If I don’t have the blackstrap molasses, will it make a huge difference? Any suggestions for modifying the recipe? Thanks and hope you stay warm!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 18, 2013

Thank you Christina!
Generally maple baked bean recipes are made with either blackstrap molasses or regular molasses. I really can’t comment on how the flavour would change by omitting it or subbing it for regular molasses as I’ve only had it this way. If you try anything let me know how it goes! Goodluck.

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Erica January 18, 2013

I used brown sugar in place of molasses. It was the only thing I didn’t have! It’s still in the oven baking up, so I’ll come back to report later!

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Michelle January 24, 2013

Erica, How did it come out with the brown sugar substitute?

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scissors and spice January 18, 2013

Yum! I want to lick the screen. This is my favorite way to eat and two of my favorite foods!

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Cindy February 16, 2014

Delicious! I made this exactly to the recipe….next time I will add more sweet potato! I wasn’t able to get the nutrition value. Can you repost it for me?

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