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Beef and Lentil Irish Nacho Bake [Grain-free]

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We’ve always loved Tex-Mex and Mexican food, but since moving to Texas, I may have finally found our food culture. We now seem to eat some type of Tex-Mex just about every day. Tacos, beans, salsa, guacamole, big salads stuffed with homegrown cilantro, onions, and cumin… the list goes on.

So, I’m always looking for different ways to incorporate these favorite ingredients into a hearty, filling dish good enough for my hungry homesteaders. This dish fits the bill.

I roast a good number of potatoes in lard or coconut oil until golden and crispy. Then, I top it with grass-fed beef, lentils, and cheese. The dish is finished with green onions and toppings like avocado and fermented salsa. It’s enough to feed us for a meal and then some, and I can toss whatever vegetables are coming out of the garden next to it.

Plus, it’s one more way to get my Tex-Mex fix.

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I make this differently every time. You can omit the lentils, or replace them with more meat. You can use as little or as much cheese as you like. You can replace some or all of the potatoes with sweet potatoes.

However you make it, you’re going to want to try this simple, satisfying dish.

The Players

  • 6 large Russet potatoes
  • 1/3 cup lard, tallow, or coconut oil (where to buy lard & tallow from grass-fed animals)
  • 1 lb grass-fed beef
  • 2 cups cooked lentils
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 8-12 oz pepper jack cheese
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced
  • tomatoes, lacto-fermented salsa, cultured cream, or avocado to serve

The How-To

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt lard, tallow, or coconut oil in a large 9 x 13″ baking dish in the oven.
  2. Cut unpeeled potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes. Remove pan with melted fat in it and toss in potatoes. Mix to thoroughly combine fat and potatoes. Sprinkle with sea salt. Return to oven and roast for 30-45 minutes or until tender inside and golden brown and crisp around the edges.
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, place ground beef in a skillet over medium heat and brown, breaking it up as it cooks. When mostly cooked, stir in lentils, cumin, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt to taste and remove from heat.
  4. Once potatoes are cooked, remove from oven. Sprinkle beef-lentil mixture evenly over roasted potatoes. Top with as much cheese as desired and return to oven for approximately 10 minutes to allow cheese to melt.
  5. Remove from oven and top with sliced green onions. Serve with desired toppings and enjoy!
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Shannon lives on a two acre off-grid homestead in Central Texas with her husband and four small children. Their family is attempting to create a simple, sustainable way of life from scratch. They like to call it agrarianism. Chickens, gardens, managing life in a small home, lots of food fermentation, homeschooling, and writing about it all make up the full and wonderful days of this life that she writes about at Nourishing Days.

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16 Responses to Beef and Lentil Irish Nacho Bake [Grain-free]
  1. Body Rebooted via Facebook
    June 4, 2014 | 12:26 pm

    I heart Mexican and Italian, but then I found out I was allergic to chili pepper and tomato! EeeeK! Now, I just love anything I’m not allergic too ;)

  2. Andi | greenbasket.me
    June 4, 2014 | 12:28 pm

    This looks really delicious and an economical way to feed a big family. I’ll have to try this with the pastured goat meat we have in the deep freeze.

  3. Amanda Woods-Osman via Facebook
    June 4, 2014 | 12:37 pm

    Love tex mex! The hotter the better too!

    • Phil
      June 5, 2014 | 2:46 pm

      Looks good and I like that there is no grain. But is there anything less starchy I can substitute for the potatoes.

      • Shannon Stonger
        June 17, 2014 | 9:13 am

        Phil – How about sweet potatoes, winter squash, or summer squash?

  4. Tony Chang via Facebook
    June 4, 2014 | 1:17 pm

    yumyum! hey, that’s some really old corningware! on the order of 40 years?

    • Shannon Stonger
      June 17, 2014 | 9:14 am

      Tony – That is a pan handed down to me by my Father when my Grandmother passed away recently, so it probably is quite old. It is beautiful, but more than that it reminds me of her every time I use it.

  5. Allison
    June 5, 2014 | 3:07 am

    What kind of lentils do you use? Red? Black? Other?

    Thanks!

    • Shannon Stonger
      June 17, 2014 | 9:15 am

      Allison – I usually use green, because they are the most economical, but black would be a little sturdier.

  6. Roxanne
    June 5, 2014 | 1:01 pm

    You will want use whatever whole, un skinned lentils you can find. Don’t use the typical split yellow or red lentils. They break down into mush. I love, love, LOVE charro beans, so I usually use them instead of lentils (cause I tend have charro beans hanging out in my fridge).

  7. These look really tasty. I am pinning and hope to try in the next few weeks.

  8. Mary
    June 5, 2014 | 8:06 pm

    Do you cook the lentils before adding, or do they cook in the mixture? We’ve made a similar mixture using black beans and meat….I do cook the black beans before adding them to the meat. It’s yummy too!

    • Shannon Stonger
      June 17, 2014 | 9:16 am

      Mary – Yes, these are pre-cooked lentils. I usually use some leftovers from a previous meal’s lentil dish.

  9. Kristen B.
    June 22, 2014 | 6:27 pm

    Yum! We just made this tonight, and it was a hit! I’m thinking of adding diced zucchini and peppers next time for some more yum. The recipe as is, is perfect though. :)

  10. Joy
    July 25, 2014 | 11:51 pm

    Made it for dinner! Yum! Thank you, Shannon! I always love your recipes! They are simple, economical and delicious!!!

  11. Gayle
    September 14, 2014 | 7:24 pm

    My friend made this for me after I had my baby last month, and it was delicious!! I’ll definitely make this for my family again.

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Who Am I?

My name is Kristen Michaelis. I'm a nutrition educator, author, and mother of three. I adore hats, happy skirts, horizons full of storm clouds, the full-bodied feel of wind as I ride motorcylces, reading in my hammock, and a hearty shot of Caol Ila scotch. I'm also a rebel with a cause.