This comforting lentil loaf is vegan, gluten free and packed full of flavor and nutrition. This lentil loaf will quickly become a dinnertime favorite all year long. Serve it alongside a kale salad or sweet potato fries for a hearty meal.
What are Lentils?
Lentils are one of the most versatile foods you can add to a vegan or vegetarian diet. Not only are they cheap and filling, but they can be used to create some of the tastiest meat-free dishes.
Available in red, brown, green, beluga, puy, and yellow versions, lentils are a high protein food that are a delicious addition to any diet. But what exactly are lentils? Lentils are a part of the legume family, which means they are basically edible seeds. Lentils are cousins to beans, chickpeas, soybeans and peanuts. The name “lentil” comes from the Latin word for “lens,” which makes sense since the dried bean looks like a little lens.
Are Lentils Healthy?
Per cup, lentils contain more than 18 grams of protein and a large amount of a person’s daily recommended allowance of many vitmains and minerals including: 37% iron, 90% folate, 18% vitamin B-6, 18% magnesium, 21% potassium, and 17% zinc. This little legume packs a powerful nutritional punch!
How do I eat lentils?
Lentils are a popular legume choice because of their nutritional value, but also because they have a relatively short cooking time. Red lentils take less than 10 minutes to cook, and the heartier green lentils take 15-20 minutes. They also do not need to be soaked like other dried beans require, so adding lentils to your daily diet can be a quick and easy process.
Lentils can be used to recreate dishes that would traditionally contain meat. Use lentils in place of meat in meals like spaghetti bolognese, shepherd’s pie, sloppy joes, soups, and this delicious lentil loaf. Meatloaves were a family staple for many generations in the USA because they were inexpensive and healthy. The good news is, even if you don’t eat meat, you can get all of those benefits by eating a delicious lentil loaf instead.
Great for those cold winter nights when you want something comforting to eat, but just as good served cold with salad during the summer, my lentil loaf will soon be your go-to dish. Quick and simple to make, it goes great with all of the usual meatloaf fixings but it’s arguably even healthier and far tastier than the dish from which it takes its inspiration.
Have you ever used lentils before? What’s your favorite thing to make with them? Tell me in the comments below!
Tips for Lentil Meatloaf
Spinach is full of water and tends to add too much moisture to meals making them soggy. To eliminate the chance of a soggy meatloaf, saute the spinach first and then wring it out in a kitchen towel. You can find more information wringing out your spinach in this article on kitchen hacks on Redfin’s blog.
Comforting Lentil Loaf
- 1 1/2 cups red lentils
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup celery chopped
- 1/4 cup onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups mushrooms diced
- 1 tablespoon dried sage
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons tamari or coconut aminos
- 2 cups kale chopped
- 2 cups spinach chopped
- 2 cups oats
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Place lentils and vegetable broth in a large pan and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, or until lentils are soft.
- In another pan over medium heat, add a couple tablespoons of water and cook with celery, onions, garlic, and mushrooms until softened, adding more water as necessary to prevent sticking. Add the sage, rosemary, thyme, salt, tamari, and kale and cook until kale is wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
- When lentils are done cooking, pulse them in a food processor until smooth. Add the mushroom and kale mixture, oats and spinach and pulse until thoroughly combined.
- Scrape the lentil mixture into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Lightly spread the ketchup over the top with a spoon.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the lentil loaf starts to lift away from the sides and the top starts to brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then slice and enjoy!