Cheesy lentil pie with cornmeal pastry (vegetarian recipe)

Cornmeal pastry cheesy lentil pi

Lentil pie was my mum’s signature dish when we were little. I have fond memories of the smell wafting through from the kitchen after school.

Chatting with her this week, I decided to give it a go. The original recipe was from Rose Eliot’s ‘The Bean Book’, we think, but we don’t see to have it anymore, so I improvised.

My recreation of the protein-rich recipe comes pretty close to the warming, delicious flavours I remember, but has a rather special cornmeal pastry that I developed in another recent experiment. As a family we now prefer it over traditional shortcrust for pies like this.

Lots of people expect not to like lentils, but I wholeheartedly recommend trying this recipe – even my meat-eating husband, son and daughter wolfed it down and every one of them asked for seconds.

Here’s what to do…


For the pastry:

  • 200g salted butter, cubed
  • 300g plain flour
  • 250g fine corn meal
  • Up to 60ml ice cold water
  • 2 whole eggs
  • A large quiche / flan tin

For the filling:

  • 350g red lentils
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 350ml vegetable stock
  • 175g mature cheddar cheese
  • 2 salad tomatoes

For the top:

  • 1 beaten egg


1. A few hours before, rinse the lentils well and then leave them in warm water to soak

2. To make the pastry, put the flour, cornmeal and cold, cubed butter into a bowl and rub into a crumb

3. Add the eggs and cut into the crumb with a round knife

4. Add the water a little a time until you can press the mix together to get a manageable dough

5. Bring together and knead into smooth ball, wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge for 15 minutes

6. Get out your pastry and roll out 2/3 of the dough to about 2mm thick, line the tin/dish and set aside, leaving the pastry untrimmed

How to make a cheesy lentil pie with cornmeal pastry

7. Now start the filling, finely chop the onion and garlic and fry with the oregano and oil in a large saucepan over a low heat until soft

8. Drain and rinse the lentils and add to the pan, then stir in the stock and turn up the heat. As soon as it boils, turn down to a simmer, cover and leave for 10 minutes – the lentils should absorb all of the liquor and turn soft and pale

9. Take off the heat, stir in the grated cheese, season to taste then stir in one beaten egg

10. Pop the two tomatoes in boiling water and leave for a couple of minutes, then plunge into ice cold water. Peel, de-seed and chop roughly into eighths, add to the mix and leave to cool

11. Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan assisted

12. Tip the cooled filling into the pastry-lined dish and brush the pastry edges with water or milk

Lentil pie with cornmeal pastry

13. Roll out the remaining pastry and roll on top, pressing the edges with a fork to seal, then trim the edges and make a couple of slits in the centre with the end of a sharp knife

Lentil cheese pie with cornmeal-pastry

14. Brush the top with beaten egg

Cornmeal pastry lentil pie

15. Bake for 40 minutes until golden brown and cooked through – serve with buttered new potatoes, green beans and carrots. Yum!

Cornmeal pastry cheesy lentil pi

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  1. says

    Have just bought lots of lentils as it seems the weather now for healthy comforting meals with lots of pulses – and they’re so cheap! I had in mind some Indian curries and a pumpkin and lentil bake topped with cheesy mash – but this looks great. Added to my list to bake. Your pastry looks so perfect, it makes your pie look so scrummy!

  2. Mary Mac says

    Thank you very much Emily for your very fast and precise reply. Now I’ll know what to look for when I go shopping! It may take a while before I actually try your recipe but it is a MUST DO. Thanks again.


  3. Mary Mac says

    You were signposted on Onions and Paper blog, so here I am. Your pie looks wonderful – I’d love to have a go but I’m not sure what ‘corn meal’ is. Would ‘corn flour’ be the same product or a good substitute? I’ve seen recipes use it in sweet pastry but its usually used as a thickener.
    Many thanks.
    Mary Mac

  4. says

    just found this via jane willis and love the sound of it. Rose Elliot was one of my favourite cookbook authors from the time I became veg and I thought I had the bean book – even had a quick look but it is not there or I would check out this recipe. But I suspect I would prefer your cornmeal pastry – I have a cornmeal pastry for a quiche that I love and the pastry looks great and easy to handle from the photos. Am bookmarking this for the cooler weather

  5. Jane Willis says

    I made this last night and it was gorgeous.I love the cornmeal pastry – it’s far easier to handle than shortcrust yet not at all tough, as easy to handle party often is. And the filling was delicious – incredibly cheap to make too. Definitely one I’ll be making again. I might try varying it by adding some lightly fried mushrooms next time.