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Lentil Keema Pav Casserole! 1 Pan Handsfree! A time consuming mince meat curry with dinner rolls, made into an easy-to-make, one-pot meal! It all comes together in a single pan. Think spiced and super flavorful Indian Sloppy joes. Gluten-free option

Lentil Keema Pav Casserole in the baking pan after baking
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Keema is an Indian minced meat curry. There are many variations depending on the region, like this Madras Keema, Green Keema, North Indian Keema naan. This version is adapted from the famous Mumbai keema Pav, which is a super flavorful street style keema served with fresh toasted and buttered dinner rolls. Think super flavorful and spicy Sloppy joes style sandwich. I often use lentils as a meat substitute for the ground meat in keema. Walnuts add great texture as well.

Making This Indian Street style sloppy joes – Mumbai Keema Pav, from scratch can be a task. BUT I Bake it all up in 1 PAN!
Bake whole spices and aromatics until golden, then add lentils walnuts and sauces and bake , then top with the dinner rolls and broil. Done!


There are a bunch of spices for the traditional flavor, use whatever you have, it will turn our flavorful and delicious!. Also for ease of using, think all spices as one ingredient, and it will be just 8 ingredients for the whole dish!

Normally, you’d simmer lentils from dry on the stovetop, but in this recipe, we are cooking them in the oven. You will still start with dry lentils, but you’ll bake them with liquid and flavorful keema spices right in the baking pan.

They come out tasty and tender! With no need to stand around the kitchen to sauté the spices and to keep an eye on the lentils!

Lentil Keema Pav Casserole on the plate with a bite taken out

Then, instead of making the pav — a soft, Indian bread — from scratch, we are using hot dog buns or pillowy dinner rolls. The buns have a similar texture, and we will brush them with melted vegan butter and spices to give them an amazing flavor.

You can make just the Aleena lentils and serve with bread, naan or rice. It is delicious every which way!

Lentil Keema Pav Casserole in the baking pan after baking

Why You’ll Love Keema Pav Casserole

  • One-pan meal made in 1 Casserole dish
  • Soyfree, easily made nutfree glutenfree
  • Easy to make.
  • Packed with flavor.
  • Topped with pillowy, buttery bread.

More Vegan Lentil Recipes

Read more: Lentil Keema Pav Casserole (Vegan Mince Curry bread bake)

Lentil Keema Pav Casserole (vegan mince curry bread bake)

5 from 3 votes
By: Vegan Richa
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 4
Course: casserole, Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Lentil Keema Pav Casserole! 1 Pan Handsfree! A time consuming mince meat curry with dinner rolls, made into an easy-to-make, one-pot meal! Spicy and flavorful Indian Sloppy Joes . Option for Gluten-free nutfree
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Equipment

  • 9×12" baking pan

Ingredients 
 

For the lentil keema:

  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 black cardamom pod, partly open (or use 2 green cardamom pods partly open)

For the aromatics:

  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1 green chili
  • 1/4 cup cilantro stems

For the ground spices:

  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves,, Kasuri methi
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage

For the lentils:

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 cup veggie stock, or more if needed
  • 3/4 cup dried lentils, washed and soaked for 15 minutes
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas and carrots mix
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons non-dairy yogurt, or cashew cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt,, divided

To top the keema lentils:

  • 4 vegan hot dog buns or 8 dinner rolls
  • melted vegan butter or oil as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Cilantro and lemon juice, for garnish

Instructions 

  • Cook whole spices: Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Place a 9×12” baking dish in the oven to heat up while the oven is preheating. Once hot, remove the baking dish carefully from the oven, add the oil and whole spices, mix well, and set it aside.
  • Bake the aromatics: Add the onion, garlic, ginger, green chili, and cilantro stems to a food processor, and process until everything is finely chopped. Then add this mixture to the whole spices mixture. Add the ground spices and 1/2 teaspoon salt, mix really well, and even them out. Bake for 15-18 minutes in the preheated oven, stirring once in between.
  • Once the mixture is somewhat golden, remove the baking dish from the oven and add the tomato paste, yogurt, and veggie stock, and mix really well.
  • Bake the lentils: Add the drained lentils, peas, carrots, walnuts, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and mix in. Even it out and cover it with parchment paper. Bake in the oven for 1 hour. Brown lentils take a little bit of time to cook.
  • Check at the 50-minute mark to see if the lentils are cooked to your preference, and if you need more liquid. add more warm water or stock (roughly 1/2 -1 cup).
  • Once the lentils are cooked to your preference, remove the baking dish from the oven.
  • Halve the hot dog buns or dinner rolls and place on top of the lentil mixture and brush them with oil or melted vegan butter. Sprinkle salt, paprika, and place the baking dish back in the oven to bake until the bread is golden, 10-12 minutes.
  • Remove it from the oven and add cilantro and lemon juice. Slice and serve immediately.

Video

Notes

To make this ahead, make the lentil mixture and keep the dinner rolls separately until ready to serve and then place the dinner rolls on top of the lentil casserole, brush with the oil, and bake as needed. You can also just make the lentil mixture and keep the dinner rolls separately to serve individually as needed.

Nutrition

Calories: 369kcal, Carbohydrates: 55g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 695mg, Potassium: 630mg, Fiber: 16g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 1387IU, Vitamin C: 11mg, Calcium: 172mg, Iron: 6mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you make this recipe? Rate and comment below!
lentils, spices, aromatics, and non-dairy yogurt in bowls on a kitchen counter

Ingredients:

  • keema spices – Indian Keema has an aromatic blend of spices including cumin and cardamom that lends and incredible flavor to lentils! Here, you’re using individual spices to make the keema mix, so no worries about having to buy a special spice mix.
  • aromatics – Onion, garlic, ginger, chilis, and cilantro depend the seasoning of this vegan lentil casserole.
  • lentils – We are using dried lentils here and baking them in veggie stock and tomato paste until tender as a substitute for the meat
  • non-dairy yogurt – This makes the sauce creamy. You can use cashew cream instead, if needed.
  • walnuts – You bake the walnuts with the lentils for added meaty texture, flavor, and protein. Use sunflower seeds for nutfree
  • hot dog buns or dinner rolls – This is your cheater pav! Use gluten-free buns for a gf variation.

Tips:

  • To make this ahead, make the lentil mixture and keep the dinner rolls separately until ready to serve and then place the dinner rolls on top of the lentil casserole, brush with the oil, and bake as needed. You can also just make the lentil mixture and keep the dinner rolls separately to serve individually as needed.
  • To make this nut-free, omit the walnuts. 
  • To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free dinner rolls or some gluten-free tortillas or flatbread to serve it.

How to Make Keema Pav Casserole:

Preheat the oven to 400º F, and place a 9×12” baking dish in the oven to heat up while the oven is preheating. Once the oven is hot, carefully remove the baking dish, add the oil and whole spices. Mix well, and set it aside.

oil and whole spices in the baking pan

Add the onion, garlic, ginger, green chili, and cilantro stems to a food processor, and process until everything is finely chopped.

onions, garlic, ginger, and chili in a food processor before blending

If you have a smaller food processor, like I do, process the onion, garlic, ginger, and chili first, then add the cilantro stems.

adding cilantro stems to chopped onions, garlic, ginger, and chili in a food processor
aromatics in the food processor after chopping

Then, add this mixture to the whole spices mixture in the baking pan.

chopped aromatics added to the baking pan

Add the ground spices and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, mix really well, and even everything out.

ground spices added to the chopped aromatics in the pan before baking

Bake for 15-18 minutes in the preheated oven, stirring once in between.

Once the mixture is somewhat golden, remove the baking dish from the oven and add the tomato paste, yogurt, and veggie stock, and mix really well. 

ground spices added to the chopped aromatics in the pan after baking
adding non-dairy yogurt and tomato paste to the cooked aromatics
baking pan after adding the liquids and stirring in the other ingredients

Add the drained lentils, peas, carrots, walnuts, and remaining salt and mix in. Even it out and cover it with parchment paper. Bake in the oven for one hour.

lentils added to the baking pan before baking

Check at the 50-minute mark to see if the lentils are cooked to your preference and also if you need more liquid. Add more warm water or stock (1/2 to one cup).

keema lentils in the baking pan after baking

Once the lentils are cooked to your preference, remove the baking dish from the oven.

Halve the hot dog buns or dinner rolls and place on top of the lentil mixture and brush them with oil or melted vegan butter.

hot dog buns placed on top of the lentils in the baking pan
hot dog buns sprinkled with cilantro and lemon in the pan before baking

Sprinkle salt, paprika, and place the baking dish back in the oven to bake until the bread is golden. This should take around 10-12 more minutes.

Remove it from the oven and add cilantro and lemon juice. slice and serve immediately. 

Lentil Keema Pav Casserole on the plate with a bite taken out

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this nut-free?

Yes! Just omit the walnuts. You can add some coarsely crushed sunflower seeds as substitute.

Can I make this gluten-free?

To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free dinner rolls or some gluten-free tortillas or flatbread to serve it.

About Richa

Hi, I'm Richa! I create flavorful plant based recipes that are inspired by my Indian upbringing, including many gluten-free, soy-free, and oil-free options.

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8 Comments

  1. Gila says:

    I absolutely love this! The flavours are so hearty, warming and aromatic. I just eat the lentils by the spoonful without any need for the rolls!

  2. Judith says:

    5 stars
    I loved this casserole! I did double both the walnuts and frozen veggies and buttered both sides of the hotdogs buns. First rate, flavorful comfort food. Requires a lot if spices and a food processor. But worth it.

    1. Richa says:

      Yay!

    2. Sally Sorrell says:

      5 stars
      Another easy and totally delicious recipe. The cinnamon stick added a wonderful warmth to the gently spiced lentils and paired perfectly with pillowy white bread rolls. Thankyou.

      1. Richa says:

        Thank you trying and loving the recipe!

  3. Mary says:

    Looks delicious! What brand of vegan hot dog buns do you use?

    1. Vegan Richa Support says:

      Food for Life, Rudi’s, Aunt Millie’s are good options!

    2. Richa says:

      Some local brands are accidentally vegan, so read ingredient list.