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Bread-free Vegan Stuffing

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My Thanksgiving main dish was amazing!

The mashed lentils acted almost like a thick gravy over the flavorful veggies.

lentil stuffing


Really, this is more like pot pie. But I already have a Vegan Pot Pie Filling.

So for the above recipe title, I needed to get creative. Got creative with the actual recipe as well. It was originally Shepherds Pie. Potatoes aren’t my favorite veggie, but flipping through my cookbooks, I thought the filling sounded good. By the time I was finished cooking, my “stuffing” looked nothing like the one in the cookbook. However, it still tasted absolutely delicious!

bread free stuffing

In fact, it was so delicious that I’ve already made this again. The second time, I decided to add zucchini (which is why there’s zucchini in the second photo but not the first).

Vegan Lentil Stuffing  (Bread-Free)

(or pot-pie filling)

  • 1 medium onion, sliced (175g)
  • 1-2 cups spinach (I used 60g)
  • 2-4 carrots, cut into coins (I used 140g, but feel free to use more) (I actually recommend non-organic carrots for this, as they tend to be much sweeter.)
  • 1/2 can diced tomatoes
  • Optional: 1 zucchini, cut in coins (I used 280g, but I steamed 1/2 separately and mixed them in later.)
  • 1 stalk celery, cut into coins (I used 65g)
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup cooked lentils, drained and mashed (I used 110g Westbrae)
  • 1 1/2 tsp dry basil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp olive oil, or more if desired (You can omit this, but you’ll lose the yummy, buttery taste!)

Heat oil, then add carrots, zucchini, onion, and celery. Cook a few minutes (like 10), then add spinach, lentils, spices, and tomato. Cook 2 more minutes. Add the water, bring to a boil, then cover and lower to simmer for 45-50 minutes, or until the carrots are soft and stuffing is flavorful. Without the optional ingredients, this makes around 3 cups, or around 2 servings. (However, if you follow my personal gram measurements, it makes quite a bit more.)


The ingredient list might seem long, but this recipe comes together surprisingly easily. (It helps to have a sweet mom willing to chop all the veggies for you.)

What’s your favorite way to eat beans?
Yes, I know lentils are technically not beans. But just go with me here. Some of my favorite bean recipes include bean soups, salads, refried beans on sandwiches, and bean chili.

All CCK bean recipes can be seen here: 50+ Healthy Bean Recipes.

Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 
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  1. YUM! I love lentils! I like throwing a bunch of veggies (this mix would work!) into the crockpot and letting it stew all day until the lentils are nice and soft :)

    My favorite bean, though, are black beans!!! Soooo good :) Especially with mexican food :) :)

    1. By the way-you and your mom look beautiful! I love that scarf and your mom’s top!

    2. Woah, I want to try that now. Do you season it at all, or just throw the veg/beans in the crockpot?

  2. I looooove beans. Black bean burgers are one of my most favorite foods! 😀 That picture of you and your mom is GORGEOUS, Katie!

  3. Albizia says:

    First thing to do: stop staring at the stuffing.
    Second thing to do: bookmark a.s.a.p.

    I love all kinds of legumes and eat beans/lentils more often than anyone else I know. Regarding lentils, dal is my all-time favorite although I haven’t cooked it for long. I love putting tons of garlic, cumin and coriander in it :) . And beans… I don’t know where to start. Baked beans, bean salads, dried peppers stuffed with beans, beans with cabbage, scrambled eggs with beans and onions, chilli, just beans directly from the can… I am a pro 😀 .

  4. Eric Jaffa says:

    Do you buy organic carrots?

  5. Jennifer - jcd says:

    What a great meal for Thanksgiving! Yum! Stuffing is always the best part of the meal, I think, and yours looks amazing.

    Beals, legumes, lentils – love them all! My husband really likes chickpeas and lentils, so we eat those a lot. My favourites are probably black beans and mung beans, but I like them all. We love making three- (or four-) bean chili, kabocha black bean stew, and lentil soup. Mmm… sounds like yummy winter fare to me!

    Have a great week!

  6. i’m not a huge fan of beans but i’d love to try subbing in more squash. this looks amazing! i didn’t have stuffing at my table since i’m gluten intolerant wish i would have seen this sooner!

  7. That picture of you and your mom is super sweet!! And I looooooove beans, pretty much anyway I can get them!

  8. That recipe sounds great – bookmarked it. :) What type of lentils do you use in the recipe?

    I love beans and lentils. My favourite bean recipe is a bean casserole recipe I’ve making a lot recently. I love beans in soups as well and in vegetable chilli.

      1. I meant green/brown or red. Sorry if I wasn’t clear! :)

        1. Ooooh :)
          Green or brown. Just make sure it’s 1/2 cup AFTER they’re cooked, if you’re not using canned.

  9. This recipe sounds fabulous – the lentils really sold me on it. Love them. :)

    And I originally missed your post on Pinto Bean Pudding and am very intrigued by how that one tastes. I’ll have to give it a whirl. Beans are great because of their versatility (which it appears you’re quite experienced in getting creative with them).

  10. Emily says:

    Love the photo of you and your mom! So gorgeous!

    I love beans; my fave way to eat them is in hummus. :)

  11. Another great recipe Katie!

    I love beans, legumes, whatever! I’ve been making my own refried beans by mashing 1/2 a can of pintos and mixing it with sauteed veggies, spices, and salsa. And a quick go-to dinner for me is quinoa and lentils with a ton of curry powder and some roasted squash!

  12. I like plain green beans actually with a bit of garlic. Sounds a bit strange I suppose ha. With a lot of my veggies I like to just have them steamed or eaten plain.

    You and your mother look beautiful and as many people have said-I love your scarf!

  13. Wow, this looks SO good! I love the idea of using lentils like a “gravy”! Are mashed lentils sort of like mashed chickpeas? I’m wondering if I could make something similar using chickpeas… I guess that would be sort of like hummus!

    So many things to try! I was just trying to decide what to make for dinner tonight. I might have to try this!

    1. Hmmm… I looooove your thinking! Now I want to try it with chickpeas too. If you make it, let me know how it goes! :)

  14. I wasn’t too keen on beans before but I fell in love with kidney beans this year.. them + mango… deeeeeeelish!

    Cute pic, Katie :)

  15. Namaste Gurl says:

    Sounds yummy and non- surprisingly easy (coming from you, most of your recipes are delectable, but so simple)! Definitely give this one a shot next time I have my hands on some lentils…..

    I LOVE beans– can’t go a day without them. My fav would have to be black beans. Yes, my heart goes out to them, as I guess it has to do with the Mexican in me :)

  16. I love chickpeas, either in curries or on top of a huge salad with sunflower seeds!

  17. Debbie C says:

    The stuffing looks delicious, have to try it.I also want to tell you how much I enjoy the Single Lady cupcakes.I have made them several times.I was wondering if you have a recipe for Single Lady cookies, where I could just make 2-4. Molasses type cookie maybe?

    1. Oh I am so going to have to try!
      (And hehe I’m giving you a shout-out in my post for Wednesday :).)

  18. yum this looks yummy! I’ve NEVER cooked with lentils! i really want to though.. i didn’t realise they cooked in such a short time!

  19. Stefanie says:

    I eat beans everyday. It is a great source of protein. My favorite beans are chickpeas and pinto beans but I’ll eat whatever bean I have. Mostly, I eat chickpeas in hummus and pintos in stirfries and tacos/burritos. Now I need to try spoonfullofsugarfree’s idea of lentils and veggies in the crockpot. Have a great day. :)

  20. That looks awesome!!!! I love veggies in any form!

  21. This looks awesome!
    I am a huge fan of beans, especially black beans. As you may have heard, they are the magical fruit :) Bahaha, I am so mature!

  22. Melissa says:

    Um… YUM. In my mouth, please, now. :)

  23. Annette says:

    Thanks for another great looking recipe!!

    I wonder if you have caught up with all of these blogs lately with vegan bloggers switching to omnis? Just wondered what you thought about it. I realize you might not want to do a whole post about it because it could be controversial.

    Have a good day!

    1. Woah, I actually don’t know anything about this! Any bloggers in particular? lol now I’m curious. As strange as it may seem, I don’t have many food blogs in my Reader… I just got tired of reading about food all day!
      As for posting on it… well, I kinda LIKE controversial posts, because they get the most fun comments :). Plus, sometimes people with differing views end up enlightening me and changing my opinion about something!

      1. Melissa says:

        The only one I know is that the voracious vegan is now voracious eats.
        Lindsay of Happy Herbivore posted her take on it – not specifically that ONE blogger, of course! -apparently there have been a rash of ex-vegans in the blogosphere lately? I’m out of the loop, too!

      2. Annette says:

        Yes, the Voracious Vegan is the main one I am speaking about. But she also linked on her post (Vegan No More) to other food bloggers who have switched from Vegan diets back to omni. It’s kind of crazy to read!

        1. Annette says:

          Oh and she also made reference to several vegan food bloggers who really aren’t even vegan behind the scenes. I was like OMG, now that’s just really wild. It’s an interesting blog post to read if you have time (it’s really, really long).

          1. Wow, I just read it.
            Wow some more times. Thanks for showing me this post, Annette. I think I might just have to respond. Might take me a few weeks to get something together, though… there’s a lot of info in her post!

          2. Annette says:

            Katie – I look forward to reading your response! Especially since you’ve been vegan for a very long time and she was for 3.5 years. It’s interesting how different people can be.

  24. Dianne says:

    That sounds so good. Mushy lentils and veggies are just made for each other! That’s a really lovely photo of you and your mom, by the way :-)

  25. That’s really similar to a recipe that I make all the time. I usually use yellow split peas and garam masala (I just can’t get enough).

    I LOVE beans. I hated them with a fiery passion until a few years ago but now I love all kinds, prepared all ways. Black beans with wild rice… bean burritos… re-fried beans… bean soup… everything.

  26. Love beans!
    Favorite way to eat them is in a burrito.
    Sweet potato black bean burritos = Yum!

  27. great breadless stuffing! makes the GF vegan in me very happy!

    i would call this one sauteed veggie & lentil mash. LOL I love naming things. Well, not always, but ya know.

    I like beans but beans do not like me so I need to be veryyyyyy careful w/ how many i eat and am very careful as to how i prepare them. Or else…



  28. This is awesome!! I love stuffing, but I’d say my least favorite part of it’s all the bread. Yeah, the MAIN part of stuffing lmho. Thanks for this!

  29. Lentils in stuffing sounds amazing, I will have to try that. I love lentils. Whenever I eat them I forget how much I like them!!

    That is a great picture of you : )


  30. ytotheummy says:

    pinto beans are my favorite! i like eating them in mexican-style food yuuuuuum.

  31. I could eat curried lentils cooked in coconut milk with every meal!

  32. BroccoliHut says:

    Yum! I love me some beans! I keep a constant stock of those Westbrae lentils, so now I have a new fabulous use for them:)

  33. Claire says:

    Love lentils and beans! They’re simply delicious.
    By the way, I was in the mood for a boatmeal today (we were out of berries *tear*) so had to get creative (this happens when the fridge is running low :P) and settled on carrot cake boatmeal. Well when I say ‘carrot cake’ it was more just an addition of grated carrot rather than cake 😛 I’m thinking a few savoury varieties including carrot and zucchini could be happening in my kitchen this week. I’ll let you know how it goes 😀

    1. Ooh definitely keep me updated, girl! :)

  34. Ashley says:

    Hi Katie,
    This recipe looks amazing! I will be making this for dinner tonight, it is perfect for a cold winters night!

    PS I love your site! I look at it daily, just tried you banana pb butter, and it was ridiculously good! Thanks for the great recipes!


    1. Awww thanks, Ashley! Your sweet words made my day :). Let me know what you think of the lentil dish! And be sure to use non-bitter carrots. I make this at least once a month, but last time I made it, I unfortunately got some bitter carrots and it totally ruined the dish :(.

  35. Rebecca says:

    Made this for dinner – yummy!

    1. Aw, I’m so glad you made it! It was actually my dinner last night too! :)

  36. Crafty lil vegan says:

    Sooo not fair! I love this recipe and used to love lentils too! But a few months ago i accidentally ate some undercooked ones (all it took was one mouthful tasting if they were done yet!) and i got a bad case of food poisening from them! I tried eating them again (Cooked to HELL!) about a month later, but no luck =( They don’t like me anymore!
    Mean lentils… you are now off my christmas card list….
    So! BEWARE! If you’re cooking them from dried, make sure to cook the hell out of them!
    (which you probably know, but since the “incident” i’m warning everyone!) Same goes for all dried beans, kidneys beans inparticular, which are EVIL if undercooked!
    Thanks for all the lovely recipes Mrs.CCK!
    Muchos love

    1. Oh no :(. But I understand how a favorite food can quickly go to the naughty list when you get sick after eating it. That happened to me with snickers bars… and corn dogs. Hehe luckily I can’t eat either of those anymore now that I’m a vegan. I definitely don’t miss them lol.

  37. paula says:

    In anticipation of my favorite holiday, I tried your breadless stuffing today. It was the first time I have cooked with lentils! The recipe came out great. I threw in some cubed eggplant instead of the zuccini. Delicious!

    1. I am so so excited you liked it! :)

  38. Ana says:

    Katie, I am sorry…I am have left you two comments in the same day! I can’t help it, everything I make from your site has been a success! I read (somewhere) that you don’t really like to add nutritional info to your recipes, soooo…. forgive me for asking, but can I get a ballpark of the nutritional info for the stuffing? Please?
    I asked nicely :]

    1. Anonymous says:

      Katie? Nutritional info? Pretty please?

  39. Marci says:

    Hi Katie,
    Can’t wait to try this. Apologies if someone already asked but what size can of tomatoes do you use?
    Thanks! Marci

  40. I just so happen to have a cup of leftover cooked lentils and some fresh spinach, so today I ran to Whole Foods to pick up other ingredients! Can’t wait to make this tomorrow… nothing wrong with a Thanksgiving dish in February, right?

    1. Hey, it’s soon going to be Lent. What better for Lent than LENTils? 😉

  41. Shelley says:

    mmm I made that for dinner, and it was delish. Very filling too, and I forgot about the lentils. I guess I’ll just have to make it again.

    p.s. it also made my apartment smell AMAZING.

  42. Hollie says:

    I’ve been meaning to try this recipe for awhile and finally made it last night. It’s so delicious and easy to make! I made extra to take for lunch today, but my boyfriend ended up eating all the leftovers. I think I’ll have to make some more tonight :)

    My bf is trying to increase his caloric intake so I calculated the calories if anyone is interested. Assuming the recipe makes 2 servings, each serving comes out to 213 calories. This includes the zucchini and 1.5 tsp oil.

  43. ursula says:

    I made this today. Awesome!!!

  44. Ashlee says:

    What would you suggest to use other than lentils? My daughter has pku and has to be on a low protein diet so no meat, dairy, beans, nuts, regular flour. Pretty much just fruits and veggies and special low protein food, Thanks

    1. Sorry, I’ve only tried this recipe with lentils, so I don’t know what else would work. :(

  45. Paige says:

    I made this recipe the other day and it was so delicious!!! This was the second CCK non-dessert recipe that I’ve tried, in addition to the sweet potato chili, and both were amazing. I substituted brussel sprouts for the zucchini and I also added about 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast for an extra kick of B12 and flavour. YUM! Thanks Katie!

  46. Bella says:

    Absolutely DELICIOUS katie!!! you two are GORGEOUS!!

  47. Amy says:

    AMAZING RECIPE!!! Thank you!

  48. Jacinda says:

    This is probably my third time making something from your online “cookbook” 😉 …Im in the process of making this for Thanksgiving and the aroma in the air is heavenly! Thank you so much for the healthy options! Happy Thanksgiving!

  49. Lorena says:

    I tried today and is the best recipe ever