Before we get to the recipe for this warm, cozy Lentil Picadillo Arepa Casserole, I have some exciting news to share with you. Today, I am heading to California for the We All Grow Latina Summit! I am so excited to attend this conference. This will be my very first conference and I am a little nervous, but I can't wait to experience all the amazing speakers and events planned. This is also my very first trip to California! I'll be very active on all my social media accounts this week. If you don't already be sure to follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and of course Facebook. I'm looking forward to sharing my experience with you!
Now, let's talk about this Lentil Picadillo Arepa Casserole.
I love a good casserole. Growing up in the Midwest, casseroles were always present at dinner. I am always on the hunt for new vegan casserole ideas. Last year I came across a recipe for a Picadillo Casserole Recipe from Epicurious. The base of the casserole was a traditional beef picadillo and arepa biscuits. If you have followed me for some time, you'll know that I love arepas. I was inspired by the Epicurious recipe to make my own vegan version.
The lentil picadillo base of the casserole is lightly adapted from my Lentil Picadillo recipe that I shared last year on the blog. This is actually one of my most popular recipes on the site and I really hope that you enjoy this casserole version.
I tested this recipe four times before I got the arepa biscuit topping just right. I first tried using cold vegan butter and milk, but I just didn't like the texture of the biscuits. I also thought that the butter overpowered the corn flour flavor. I finally got it right after I used warm water and just a little bit of vegetable oil. This result was a tender, light and fluffy arepa biscuit topping.
This Lentil Picadillo Arepa Casserole is:
Cozy & homey
One pan meal
Packed with plant-based protein
For the Lentil Picadillo:
- 8 ounces Brown Lentils
- 3 Cups Water
- 1½ Tablespoons Grapeseed Oil
- ½ Large White Onion, finely chopped
- 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1 Jalapeno, finely chopped
- 1 15 ounce Can Tomato Sauce
- ¼ Cup Water
- ½-¾ teaspoon Salt, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon Black Pepper
- 2 Medium Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled & dice into ¼-½ inch pieces
- 1 Large Carrot, diced into ¼ inch pieces
For the Arepa Biscuits:
- 1 Cup PAN Harina
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Baking Soda
- ¼ teaspoon Sea Salt
- 1 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Warm Water
- 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
- Sort and rinse the lentils. Place them in a medium saucepan and cover with the 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Cook until done, about 20 minutes. You just want them to be tender, not mushy.
- When the lentils are done season with a pinch of salt, drain and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- In a large deep sided cast iron skillet heat the oil over medium heat. Once hot add the onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the jalapeno and garlic. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Add the cooked lentils and stir everything together. Add the cumin, salt, and pepper. Stir to throughly mix together.
- Pour in the tomato sauce and water; stir. Add the diced potatoes and carrot. Stir. Bring to boil, reduce heat to a low simmer and cover.
- Cook until the potatoes are nice and tender, about 20-25 minutes. Stir a few times during the cooking time. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and make the arepa biscuits.
For the arepa biscuits:
- In a large mixing bowl, add the PAN Harina, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir to combine the ingredients.
- Pour in the water and oil. Stir until you have a smooth dough. If the dough seems too dry, add in another tablespoon of water.
- Divide the dough into six portions. Roll each portion into a ball and gently press down. Place the shaped arepa biscuits on top of the lentil picadillo.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until the biscuits are done and lightly golden. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.