Mushroom brown rice bake with caramelized shallots, crispy lentils and gremolata is a hearty and delicious vegan main course.
The inspiration points for this mushroom brown rice bake are found in both the typical pilaf cooking method as well as mujaddara, a recipe that first appeared in a cookbook in Iraq in 1226 (!!). Mujaddara, at its core, contains cooked lentils, rice (sometimes bulgur), and crisp caramelized onions. Lots of great information on this dish can be found here.
While I wasn’t aiming to create mujaddara or a pilaf specifically, the influence from both is apparent here and I just wanted to acknowledge that!
The structure and overall feel of this mushroom brown rice bake has a cozy, casserole vibe. The shallots get jammy and sweet. The mushrooms are super savoury. The fluffy brown rice fills it out. To top it off, we make some crispy and smoky spiced lentils and a sharp gremolata.
All simple techniques like sautéeing, roasting, and chopping come together to make this cozy and satiating savoury bake. If you live in a part of the world with some Spring-like weather but a baked meal like this seems extra appealing, this pesto, quinoa and white bean bake might be the thing for you.
Where we live, the cooler evenings make a supper like this extra appealing. Hope you’re staying well and taking care out there!
Mushroom Brown Rice Bake with Caramelized Shallots, Crispy Lentils & Gremolata
- 1 cup cooked brown lentils (I use Flourist Laird lentils)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
MUSHROOM BROWN RICE BAKE
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 5-6 regular shallots, sliced (185 grams or 0.4 lbs shallots total)
- 1 lb (454 grams) cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce
- ¾ cup brown basmati rice, rinsed
- 2 ½ cups vegetable stock (plus extra)
- 1 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
- 1 ½ teaspoons lemon zest
- 1 small clove of garlic, finely minced
- Look no further for a nice vegetable stock recipe: right here. No shame in a boxed one though!
- If you’re using dried thyme, dial the amount back to 1 teaspoon.
- French lentils or black beluga lentils would also work well with this crisping/roasting method!
- A 10-11-inch wide skillet that’s deep is ideal. A braiser also works! You can also saute everything and then just stir the remaining ingredients together in a greased casserole dish (3 Litre/Quart capacity)
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Drain the cooked lentils and spread them out on a clean dish towel. Blot them until they are as dry as possible. Transfer the dried lentils to the baking sheet. Toss the lentils with the 2 teaspoons of olive oil, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Spread the coated lentils out in a single layer and roast for 5-7 minutes, or until slightly crisped up. Set aside.
- Bring the oven temperature down to 350 degrees F.
- Place an oven-safe, deep skillet over medium heat. Once it’s sufficiently heated it up, pour in the tablespoon of olive oil. Add the shallots to the skillet and stir. Keeping stirring and sautéeing the shallots until they are lightly caramelized, about 15 minutes. Pour in splashes of water if the pan starts drying out.
- Once the shallots are lightly caramelized, transfer all of the mushrooms to the skillet and stir. Let the mushrooms sit for a full minute. Stir them up and season with ground black pepper. Again, let the mushrooms sit for another full minute before stirring them up again. At this point, they should be glistening and letting off moisture. Season the mushrooms with salt, and add the thyme and garlic to the skillet.
- Keep sautéeing the mushrooms and shallots until mushrooms are quite soft and starting to brown a bit, about 3 more minutes. Pour the balsamic vinegar and the tamari into the skillet and stir. Turn off the heat.
- Mix in the rinsed brown basmati rice and the vegetable stock. Sprinkle a few pinches of salt and pepper in and stir. Cover the skillet and transfer it to the oven.
- Bake the mushroom brown rice bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice has fattened up. I would start checking it around the 50 minute mark. At this point, if the rice appears to be undercooked with minimal moisture in the pan, just splash in a bit more vegetable stock.
- While the mushroom brown rice bake is cooking in the oven, make the gremolata. In a small bowl, stir together the parsley, lemon zest, and garlic. Set aside.
- Once the mushroom brown rice bake is finished in the oven, remove it and top with the crispy lentils and gremolata. Serve hot.