Maple Baked Lentils with Sweet Potato – Healthy Comfort Food

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on January 18, 2013

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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.

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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.

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What are your favourite vegan comfort foods?

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

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Tatum March 29, 2014 at 7:13 pm

Hey, was excited to find this recipe until I saw it has tomatoes in it. Can I leave them out or substitute with anything else? (I can’t eat tomatoes). Thanks.

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Patricia April 4, 2014 at 11:15 am

I think you could leave them out – they add some tang and moisture, but I bet the flavour would be fine without. If you have a favourite ingredient that fits the bill, give that a try! Just think of anything that would compliment a sweet, earthy dish – there’s no rules :)

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Patricia April 4, 2014 at 11:11 am

Thank you so much for putting the nutritional info on this! I’m watching my calorie intake (to keep it in check) and my iron intake (to ramp it up as recommended by my doctor). I cannot express how much this helps me, and how grateful I am for all your efforts on your blog.

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Jon April 26, 2014 at 6:34 pm

Made this for my wife and I tonight. It was amazing! We used Basmati rice with that Earth Balance butter substitute melted on it and for some reason, this ended up tasting like the best meatloaf I’ve ever had haha. I dont’ know how to explain it, but I’m not complaining either! mmm glad there’s leftovers.

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Lucy May 8, 2014 at 6:56 am

I have some Lentils already cooked in the fridge. About how many cups should I use? Should I add some water as well? Thanks!

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Melissa August 5, 2014 at 1:26 pm

I substituted Buttercup Squash (cut small-peeled and seeded) for the sweet potato. Mmm. Turned out amazing. Great recipe. Thank you. :)

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Joanna September 2, 2014 at 2:45 pm

I have precooked lentils ready for this recipe. Do I still need the 4 cups of water to put all the other ingredients into? Will this come out containing lots of liquid?

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Jessica November 6, 2014 at 8:47 am

Amanda, I am an avid follower, love your story and all of your recipes!

Let’s not worry about nutritional value!

I feel like this is one thing you have shown us! What matters most is that these are healthy, natural, REAL ingredients. Eat until you are satisfied and feel the glow. :)

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Amanda January 5, 2015 at 8:06 pm

Hi, this looks great. Silly question…is the mustard the one you’d put on sandwiches or the dried mustard (spice). Thanks!!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 7, 2015 at 11:04 am

Hi Amanda,

It is the regular mustard you would put on sandwiches.

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Amanda January 7, 2015 at 8:09 pm

Thanks! Making it as I type this. :-)

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Kathy January 31, 2015 at 7:04 pm

Hi.

Saw your cookbook at a friend’s a couple of days ago and it all looked so good, I have been searching out your recipes since!

We are regular omnivores (I have celiac disease) but I’m trying to add more fruits and veg gradually into our diet, with the hope to make big changes in the long run.

This is the first recipe I’ve tried, simply because I had the ingredients!

It’s wonderful! I added a can of drained chick peas, some garam masala and a few chili flakes for an Indian touch.

I didn’t chop my sweet potato and apple very small so have popped it back into the oven to get even more yummy, while I enjoy a bowl right now. My chef husband loves it and wants it over rice!

Thank you for your inspiration to eat healthier.
Bless you!

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Ericka September 26, 2015 at 11:48 am

Loved this! Thank you. I sautéed the onion and garlic in a tsp on coconut oil and doubled the sweet potatoe, apples, and sauce.

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Dominique November 4, 2015 at 1:18 pm

Hi,
I am a nutritionist and I have a blog that feature information about health, cooking, and recipes. Love your blog and book and recommend you to my clients all the time. I was wondering if it would be OK to feature one of your recipes on my blog. Once it is on the blog, I tweet and feature it on FB. The way I like to do it so it generates traffic for both of us, is I put a pic of the recipe on my blog, the give them a link to your blog to get the full recipes. The blog post will be about you and how wonderful your blog and recipes are. I will also draw their attention to the book.
Please let me know if this is OK with you.
Thank you.
Dominique

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Jenny November 20, 2015 at 7:01 pm

Just made this recipe and it’s tasty, although a bit sweet. Had issues with getting the sweet potato soft in the time specified. Next time, I will put it in with the lentils on the stove top for a bit before putting in the oven. I may also add less maple syrup and/or molasses. Thanks!

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Rachel December 1, 2015 at 9:08 pm

I have been wanting to make this recipe for quite awhile and tonight I had all the ingredients on hand so I went for it. It was very good but mine didn’t seem to look like your picture.. It’s not that big of a deal but it was just the ratio of sweet potatoes to lentils.. It seemed like yours has more sweet potatoes than mine did. I didn’t know if I did something wrong like maybe I was supposed to use 2 cups cooked lentils?

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DeDeNYC December 6, 2015 at 8:37 pm

This was sooooo yum! I don’t have a Dutch oven so I made this in a big cast iron frying pan, which carries the added bonus of providing some high-quality iron in your diet! It also let me cook the lentils on the stove top, mix in the rest of the ingredients, and then put everything right in the oven. Easy-peasey! And ohhhhh was this good. Reminded me of the baked beans that my mom used to make that were usually the beneficiary of a hefty dose of bacon. Now there’s no bacon, no grease, no guilt–just total flavor! Sweet and deep with just the right kick. Made these tonight for a friend, thought she was going to kiss me when she saw the pan coming out of the oven (lol!). Definitely a keeper :)

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Mary Beth January 16, 2016 at 6:30 pm

I was looking for something filling and nutritious that used sweet potatoes, and remembered this! This is one of my faves from your website
Having a little red wine while the lentils cook, gonna add the sweet potatoes early since I have found they take a long time to cook in the oven. Cold tonight, about 5 degrees, so this will be warm and yummy :)

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Andrea January 16, 2016 at 6:53 pm

Hi Angela,
I’d like to include this delicious, healthy, seasonal recipe on our blog on our website, I’m sure our customers will LOVE it! Thank you so much! Is this OK with you? We will credit you and link to your blog of course.

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Stephanie January 18, 2016 at 1:23 pm

Where did you get that lovely bread from? I have never seen anything so beautiful and wholesome looking. Thank you for your response.

Steph

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Ranee Franti December 9, 2016 at 7:10 am

This looks the perfect comfort food! It combines one of my favorite this is sweet potato. I can’t wait to try this because it is the best recipe of my husband and me also. I want to surprised him to cook lentils. To night I will make this and tell you my experience. Thank you for sharing.
Take care Angela.

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Lissette January 16, 2017 at 1:36 pm

This looks amazing! I was wondering if the blackstrap molasses are absolutely necessary or if there is a substitute for it? Thanks for all your great recipes :)

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Angela Liddon February 22, 2017 at 8:41 am

Hi Lisette, Classic maple baked beans are generally made with either blackstrap or regular molasses. As I tend to make this recipe with blackstrap molasses, I’m not sure how the flavour would change if you used regular molasses, but I would think that substitute would work well overall. Other readers have omitted molasses altogether, or swapped it for a bit more maple syrup or brown sugar. All seem to have enjoyed the end result! If you try something, please let us know how it goes. :)

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Sue January 25, 2017 at 10:54 am

This recipe looks wonderful. Any chance this can be made in a slow cooker?

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Angela Liddon January 25, 2017 at 11:35 am

Hi Sue, I haven’t tried it myself, but I can’t see why not! I think some other readers may have tried this recipe in a slow cooker and had success, too. If you give it a try, please report back!

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Ameeta January 14, 2018 at 6:10 pm

Hi! Just wondering is there any sub for molasses if I do not have molasses? Thanks so much :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 15, 2018 at 10:21 am

Hi Ameeta, I think since it has such a distinct flavour, I don’t think there is a sub for it. Sorry about that!

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