When I was a young and novice vegetarian, I spent most of my time trying to come up with meals for dinner that emulated classic meat entrees.
I guess that’s a good way to transition yourself from the ways of eating meat to the ways of not eating meat. New vegetarians may suffer from the panicky thought of “where’s my main course!?” when they remove meat from their diet and rightly so: meat is generally the center of attention in most meals.
Before I became a vegetarian my husband and I didn’t eat a lot of meatloaf. After I became a vegetarian, we ate a lot of meatloaf. This meat-free lentil-loaf quenched my desire to have a main course and it is something I would whip up along side the Omnivore’s real meatloaf. I’d bake them off side by side in the oven and when we would sit down for dinner our plates would look remarkably similar (something that was sort of important to my husband!).
Eventually I got to a point where I was tiring of cooking two main entrees and since I was doing the cooking the meaty entree was on the chopping block.
My husband is the first to confess his love of ‘loaf’ (he refuses to call it anything other than simply loaf). Though I’m back into eating meat, this is one recipe that I make time and time again. I first blogged it way back in 2009 so if you feel like you’ve seen it before, you have.
Lentil Loaf – vegetarian meat loaf
3 cups cooked lentils (about 1.5 cups uncooked), divided
1 small onion, diced
1/4 cup tomato sauce, plus more for topping, if desired (I actually use leftover spaghetti sauce most often)
1/2 cup oats, ground or 1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 whole egg + 1 egg white, beaten
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I’ve used tons of variety here)
- Bring lentils (cleaned and picked over) to a low boil in about 5 cups of water.
- Cook 20-25 minutes or until soft.
- Drain water and remove 1 cup of lentils, set aside.
- Mash remaining 2 cups of lentils thoroughly with a potato masher or in a food processor.
- Fold in remaining lentils and diced onion. Mix.
- Add tomato sauce, bread crumbs, basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper, and shredded cheese. Mix thoroughly.
- Add beaten egg mixture and mix thoroughly.
- Prepare a loaf pan by spraying it generously with cooking spray or lining it with aluminum foil and spraying that with cooking spray.
- Spread lentil mixture into loaf pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes or until top seems a little dried.
- Garnish with additional tomato sauce, if desired.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 1 hour(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4