Luscious Lentil Loaf. Lentils are a favorite staple in my kitchen. Even my dog loves them. My Lentil Marinara Sauce for pasta is a regular on my #MeatlessMonday menus. I came up with my recipe after trying several other popular lentil loaf recipes over the past few years. Some of the other recipes were pretty bland to me. I like a lot of flavor in my meals. This lentil loaf is very filling and will please even the most devoted meat-eaters in your family.
My Luscious Lentil Loaf is completely plant-based and uses no oil. Whole Food Plant Based No Oil (WFPBNO) diet purists will want to use whole grain brown rice rather than the quick cooking kind. I like the quick cooking rice when I’m in a hurry to make dinner on weeknights although I’m aware that it’s considered to be “processed.”
NOTE:I didn’t get a photo of each step and then forgot to take photos upon testing this recipe, so please follow the recipe (below) instead of following just the photo steps.
Start out by cooking some brown rice. While the rice is cooking, also cook some red lentils.
In a chef’s pan or skillet, cook some finely chopped purple onion in vegetable broth until the onions have caramelized slightly. Add chopped cremini mushrooms, minced garlic, and dried thyme and cook until the mushrooms have softened.
Then, add diced tomatoes and a bit more vegetable broth and cook until the tomatoes have softened.
Cube some cooked butternut squash and cooked beets in half-inch dice and add them to the pan. Then add some frozen or fresh spinach. Stir until warmed through. Your mixture should not have any remaining liquid as you want a drier result in the lentil loaf.
Pour the cooked rice and lentils into a large mixing bowl. Stir in some chopped parsley.
Add the vegetable mixture and some flaxseed meal to the lentil rice mixture and stir until evenly mixed. Season with salt. Spoon the mixture into a nonstick 9 x 5 loaf pan.
Bake the lentil loaf for 60 minutes in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven until the top is crusty.
Remove the loaf pan from the oven and let cool. The lentil loaf will be easier to cut when it’s cooler. Cut into slices. Take care as slices can easily fall apart if your mixture was too wet prior to baking.
Serve a slice of Luscious Lentil Loaf with mashed potatoes and drizzle on some mushroom gravy. My vegan mushroom gravy recipe is upcoming.
After chilling the loaf in its pan overnight in the refrigerator making it easier to slice, freeze the lentil loaf in individually-wrapped slices. Remove from freezer and thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Broil in the oven until browned for a quick weeknight meal.
Slices of chilled lentil loaf are tasty in sandwiches, too. Put a couple of thin slices of lentil loaf on your favorite bread, add your favorite condiment such as vegan mayo, mustard or ketchup, top with sliced tomato and lettuce leaves, and maybe some thinly sliced raw onion. Top with a second slice of bread, cut in half and serve.
From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….
Luscious Lentil Loaf
1 c quick-cooking organic brown basmati rice (I use Trader Joe’s)
2.5 c water
1.5 c red lentils
2.5 c water
2 c no-oil vegetable broth, divided (Trader Joe’s vegetable broth contains no oil yet their vegetable STOCK does contain oil)
1 purple onion, finely chopped
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 t dried thyme
2 medium tomatoes, diced or 2 c canned diced tomatoes
1 c diced cooked or roasted butternut squash (1/2 inch dice)
1/2 c diced cooked or roasted red beets (1/2 inch dice)
1 c thawed frozen spinach (squeeze to remove liquid) or 2 c fresh spinach, packed
2 T chopped Italian parsley leaves
2 T flaxseed meal
2 t salt
Special equipment: 9″ x 5″ non-stick loaf pan
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Cook the brown rice in water in a pot according to the package directions.
3. Cook the red lentils in their water in a separate pot while the rice is cooking.
4. When the rice and lentils are done, set them aside.
5. Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium heat, saute the purple onion in a few tablespoons of vegetable broth until the onions have softened and slightly caramelized. Add a bit more broth if the onions get too dry.
6. When the onions are soft, deglaze the pan with a bit more vegetable broth. Add the mushrooms, garlic and dried thyme. Cook over medium-low heat until the mushrooms have softened.
7. Add the tomatoes and some more vegetable broth. Cook until the tomatoes soften.
8. Add the cooked butternut squash and beet cubes and stir.
9. Add the frozen spinach and warm through. If using fresh spinach, stir and cook until the spinach wilts. You want a fairly dry mixture without any liquid remaining.
10. Put the cooked lentils, brown rice and parsley into a non-metallic bowl.
11. Add the vegetable mixture and the flaxseed meal to the lentils and rice. Mix well and season with salt.
12. Put the mixture into a non-stick loaf pan, pressing down with a spatula to ensure a solid loaf.
13. Bake the loaf at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 60 minutes until the top becomes crusty.
14. Remove the loaf from the oven and let it sit for a few minutes. It will slice better when cooler. If you are making it for the next day, refrigerate the loaf in the pan overnight. Then remove and slice when you are ready to broil the slices in the oven. Or you could serve cold. Either way is delicious.
15. And serve!
Serves 6 hungry diners. Offer with BBQ sauce or ketchup or a nice mushroom gravy. Serve with warm mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes and a salad.
Variations: Use regular brown rice instead of the quick-cooking kind. Try black or green lentils instead of the red. Add other veggies such as cooked carrots and celery, cubed sauteed regular and sweet potatoes, peas, steamed broccoli, etc. Substitute herbs de provence for the dried thyme. Serve chilled at a picnic. You could serve a slice of lentil loaf on sliced bread or a bun as a sandwich or in a wrap with raw veggies and your favorite condiment. Freeze individual slices for future meals. Just thaw and then broil in the oven until browned and slightly crispy and serve.
Order a non-stick 9 x 5 loaf pan with removable bottom from Amazon:
Order some bulk organic red lentils from Amazon:
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