Mexican Lentil Stuffed Shells

by Kelli H. on February 24, 2012

This was another recipe I found on foodgawker that was beautiful and delicious! I made it on a Sunday night a few weeks back, and I’m glad I did it on a weekend. This recipe takes some time to make. I’m a huge lentil fan and David and I both love Mexican food, so this was perfect. I especially love making vegetarian Mexican food. This recipe fit that bill perfectly. Plus, you won’t even notice that it doesn’t have any meat in it. The lentil mixture is full of flavor and hearty!

If you decide to make these stuffed shells, just remember I warned you on the time frame! I would not call this recipe a weeknight meal. This dish also made great leftovers!

Mexican Lentil Stuffed Shells
Recipe by Cassie Johnston

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 packet/batch of taco seasoning (see below)
2.5 cups water
1 cup green or brown lentils
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup salsa
1 box jumbo shells, cooked
1 cup shredded cheese
1 cup enchilada sauce

1. In a medium sized pot, heat olive oil over medium heat, and add onion. Saute until soft. Stir in garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add taco seasoning, lentils, and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25-40 minutes or until lentils are tender and water is absorbed.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Once lentils are cooked, remove from heat, and stir in cream cheese & salsa.
4. Spread 1/4 cup enchilada sauce on bottom of a 13″x9″ casserole dish. Stuff each cooked shell with lentil mixture and  place seam side down in the dish.
5. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over them, top with cheese, and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until cheese is nice and bubbly. Serve with sour cream or Greek yogurt.

Notes: * Cassie’s recipe suggests using a large zip lock bag, cutting a hole in a corner of the bag, and using it as a piping bag for the lentil mixture to stuff the shells. I tried this trick but it took two people to stuff the shells. I filled the shells while David held the shells open. It’s worth a shot, but if you’re making this alone, you might not want to do it this way.
* I used the enchilada sauce recipe that Cassie provided in her recipe. I thought it was super easy to make and tasted delicious, but as a time saver, buying enchilada sauce would be best.
* My lentil mixture took the whole 40 minutes to cook. That’s one of the reasons I’d suggest not making this during the week.

Taco Seasoning
Recipe by Cassie Johnston

1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (see note)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika (see note)
2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper 

Mix spices together in a small bowl.

Notes: I used 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes and this taco seasoning was spicy! I mean, my ears were on fire! Next time I’ll use 1/8 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. If you’re sensitive to heat, leave it out completely.
I used Hungarian Paprika also known as smoked paprika because I never use regular paprika. Worked totally fine!

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Tiff February 24, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Yum! I’d be surprised if there were any leftovers in my house.


Annie @ Naturally Sweet Recipes February 24, 2012 at 4:03 pm

I’ve never seen a recipe like this, it sounds awesome!! I need to try it nd I have all the ingredients, yay!


my little celebration February 24, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Yummy! This looks delish. Like the perfect marrying of mexican and italian. Bravo!


Made in Sonoma February 26, 2012 at 9:46 pm

You should definitely give it a try!


Cait's Plate February 24, 2012 at 7:37 pm

Looks so delish! I love how creative it is 🙂


kathleen @ the daily crumb February 25, 2012 at 2:09 am

my mom used to make stuffed shells the night before my big swim meets in high school. love this spicy twist!


Genevieve February 25, 2012 at 5:41 pm

This sounds delicious (and worth the work)! Sounds like a great idea for a vegetarian recipe to feed a crowd, since it’s type where nobody would miss the meat!


meggoesnomnom February 28, 2012 at 1:21 am

Mmm, I love stuffed shells. I would never have thought to stuff them with lentils – but that sounds really good! The dish full of them looks so tasty!


Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic February 29, 2012 at 4:53 am

These sound delicious! I’m trying to find good lentil recipes so I’m glad you posted this!


David Wells March 2, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Oh hell yes, these were very tasty! 🙂


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