After a few attempts (five to be exact) at making this lentil loaf, I have finally come up with a veggie version that tastes pretty darn good and is extremely filling. I wanted to keep this easy with ingredients you may already have in your pantry. After doing a little digging I was able to piece this together from a few resources like the one from Made to Create which is wonderfully simple and also had good reviews from when I shared it on my Facebook page! And also this one from Oh She Glows which is a walnut version using apples and raisins but I wanted one with all veggies (Hers looks delicious and I will be trying it too). Last but not least, I referenced this recipe at My Vegan Cookbook.
I especially love the glaze for the top of this loaf. You could serve some extra on the side, or double the amount if you like and put a little extra on. And if you like spicy, you'll love the ground chipotle pepper in this recipe with the glaze, such a nice combo of sweet and spice! I found the higher amount of chipotle listed below to be just perfect for myself, adjust to your liking starting with the smaller amount if you're not a fan of spice. Be prepared, one slice will most likely fill you up, it does for me! I'm not kidding when I tell you this is one hearty and filling lentil loaf. Leftovers make for great sandwiches. Store the loaf in the refrigerator for up to a 5 - 6 days. Sub in other veggies if you like. Some have left comments of adding in zucchini for the bell pepper. You get the idea, you can adjust to what you have on hand or prefer. Now on with the recipe...make a loaf and share the love!
THE ULTIMATE VEGETABLE LENTIL LOAF
1 cup dry lentils (use green/brown)
2 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons flaxseed meal (ground flaxseeds)
1/3 cup water (6 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons olive oil for sauteing or steam saute using 1/4 cup water
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, finely diced
1 small red bell pepper, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced or grated
1 celery stalk, finely diced
3/4 cup oats (I used GF oats)
1/2 cup oat flour or finely ground oats (any flour of choice will work here too)
1 heaping teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 heaping teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon each garlic powder & onion powder...for good measure!
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper, optional
cracked pepper & sea salt to taste
3 tablespoons organic ketchup
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
Rinse lentils. In large pot add 2 1/2 cups water with lentils. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. It's ok if they get mushy, we are going to roughly puree 3/4 of the mixture when cooled. Once done, remove lid and set aside to cool (do not drain), they will thicken a bit upon standing, about 15 minutes is good.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In small bowl combine flaxseed meal and 1/3 cup water, set aside for at least 10 minutes, preferably in the refrigerator. This will act as a binder and will thicken nicely upon sitting.
Prepare vegetables. In saute pan heat oil or water over medium heat. Saute garlic, onion, bell pepper, carrots and celery for about 5 minutes. Add spices mixing well to incorporate. Set aside to cool.
Using an immersion blender or food processor, blend 3/4 of the lentil mixture. For me this was an important part, I tried it other ways and this worked to help as a binder. If using an immersion blender, tilt your pot slightly to the side for easier blending. Alternately, you can mash the lentils with a potato masher or fork.
Combine sauteed vegetables with the lentils, oats, oat flour and flax egg, mix well. Taste, adding salt and pepper as needed, or any other herb or spice you might like. Place mixture into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper, leaving it overlapping for easy removal later. Press down firmly filling in along the edges too.
Prepare your glaze by combining all ingredients in a small bowl, mix until incorporated. I recommend making each tablespoon heaping so you have plenty of this great sauce on top. Spread over top of loaf and bake in oven for about 45 - 50 minutes. Let cool a bit before slicing.
Your work is done...except for the dishes...maybe you can delegate that to someone else. :)