It may not be the prettiest dish in the world, but it is probably on my top ten list of favorite meals, and on the top five list for sheer nostalgia. I grew up eating Cajun’s Delight – apparently one of my dad’s patients gave him the recipe once upon a time. So hearty, warm, it satisfies all the tastes, and the textures, oh the textures! Crunchy, smooshy, gooey, firm… this is the definition of comfort food to me. And it’s pretty good for you, too. Shoot, when I was vegetarian I probably ate this at least twice a month. Now I’ve made a few alterations, improving in my opinion the taste and nutritional value. Got a picky vegetarian in the family? Give this baby a whirl…
- 1/3 c. dry lentils
- 1/3 c. dry lima beans
- 1 c. dry rice (I like a wild rice blend, like Lundberg’s)
- 3/4 c. celery, chopped
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 c. pecans
- 2 T. sesame seeds
- 1 t. sea salt
- 2 T. barbecue sauce (gluten-free)
- 3 T. oil
- 1 c. tomato sauce
- 1 1/2 t. sriracha!! (I’m sorry, I just can’t say/type sriracha without shouting gleefully 🙂
- 6 to 8 oz. sharp cheddar, shredded
For the beans and lentils, I prefer them sprouted, in which case, start them the day before (a post on sprouting will be coming soon). If you’re not sprouting them, soak them for 2 to 8 hours before you start preparing dinner.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Cook rice. Cook beans and lentils (it’s okay if the limas are still a little bit firm, it adds a nice texture). Drain if necessary and pour into a large mixing bowl. Add all other ingredients, but reserving about a third of the cheddar cheese to the side (for topping later). Mix well.
Pat mixture evenly into a 9-inch square casserole. Bake on center rack for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle remaining cheese evenly over the top, then bake for another 10 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving, if you can stand it. I usually end up burning my mouth in my eagerness, so fair warning.
Serves 6 to 8. Enjoy!