I’d forgotten how absolutely yummers lentil loaves can be. That is until I was combing through my recipe collection for not only a main dish for Thanksgiving, but for something that I would also be able to slice for fast, hearty sandwiches.
Honestly, it’s been awhile since I’ve made one of these loaves, defaulting usually to my World Burger recipe from the Plant-Based Blueprint for veggie burgers, sandwich fillers, and salad sides.
[pullquote]Lentil loaves are one of the best plant-based standbys there is. [/pullquote] They make a hearty staple and are an excellent transition-to-plant-based-eating choice because they pinch hit so well for the traditional American meat loaf. The lentil loaf recipes I’ve used in the past usually include some rolled oats, nuts, carrots and/or celery and onions – that goes as well for the variation I’m sharing with you today.
I came across this lentil loaf variation in my recipe notebook and for the first time I cooked it in a loaf pan lined with parchment paper – and it came out beautifully! It made the whole process from loaf to slicing board so tidy – next on my wishlist is a silicone pan for even greater ease. I doubled this recipe to make two full bread-pan sized loaves (one’s gone already!). I sliced and served leftovers the next day with baby spinach, grated carrots, and sliced beets with a sweet balsamic dressing (photo). My recipe is very similar to Chef Aj’s Hearty Lentil Loaf. To help with your preparation, you can watch the episode of The Chef and the Dietitian linked below to see a lentil loaf being made on video.
I first cooked the lentils and carrots in my Instant Pot, cooking them separately. The lentils took only about 20 minutes. As for the carrots, I peeled about four giant carrots, quickly cut them into chunks, and pressure cooked them in the Instant Pot for four minutes.
Savory Lentil Loaf
1 1/2 cups cooked green or brown lentils
1 cups cooked carrots or sweet potatoes
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely ground
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats, coursely ground
1 large sweet onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 bunch parsley
2 cloves garlic or 2 teaspoons garlic granules
1 six- oz can tomato paste
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- Coarsely grind the oats and nuts in food processor or blender.
- Coursely puree the cooked lentils in food processor or blender
- Coarsely puree the carrots or sweet potatoes in food processor or blender
- Chop the vegetables with knife or food processor
Stir (translate: knead!) everything together in a large bowl. I like to process the tomato paste with the lentils to provide more even flavor coverage before the lentils are added to the ‘mix it all together’ bowl.
Place in a loaf pan lined with parchment paper or silicone baking pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 – 60 minutes.
Savory Lentil Loaf slices easily for sandwiches – note picture above right. Fortunately I had just baked a loaf of bread – or at least my bread machine had!
Holiday Recipes from The Chef and The Dietitian
Watch lentil loaf being made on video! Darn close to my recipe, this in from Chef Aj and Julieanna Hever will show you step-by-step how to make a lentil loaf PLUS many other recipes – twice bake sweet potatoes, spinach waldorf, and more.
Have you a lentil loaf secret ingredient to share? Please do so in comments below!
Add a few drops to 1/4 teaspoon of liquid smoke to your mix. And perhaps a few dashes of Smoked Paprika. Voilà! Smoky Lentil Loaf. 🙂
YUMS and what perfect suggestions! I ran out of liquid smoke a long time ago yet have plenty of smoky paprika. Perfect and thank you for sharing!
I add poultry seasoning and mushrooms, too. Your recipe looks like a great one to try. Thanks for sharing it.
LOVE the mushrooms idea! Cook them first? Have you tried it? And what do you use for ‘poultry’ seasoning?
Thanks for the contribution!
This is fabulous! I finally treated myself to the Instant Pot – oh my gosh – my new favorite appliance next to my Vitamix! It is so quiet you almost don’t know it is cooking – no loud noise, and best of all no pressure steam heating up my kitchen. That will be a huge plus during the sweltering southern summers! I cooked the lentils for 8 minutes under pressure and then the carrots for 4 minutes. Can’t wait to try the other features! Thanks for such a great recipe Lani and for recommending the Instant Pot.
Hi Maureen! I can see we share the Instant Pot enthusiasm! I now consider it indispensable – heaven help me if the power goes out!
I’m making lentil loaf with carrots today – prepping the veggies in the IP just as you did. Fantastic!
Thanks for sharing your story. Oh, I love the quiet of the IP too! I hope you took advantage of the $45 coupon code: fitquickies. What a bargain!
Hi Lani,I made your lentil loaf it was very good. To my surprise my husband
even liked it.I just wanted to ask you if the center of the loaf is suppose to be
Hi Sharon! This is great news!
Yes, it is soft BUT here’s how you change that as needed. After it cools, it is easier to slice – then if it mushes up at all, you can just press it out flatter – THEN I like to heat it on a non-stick pan – you can make it drier is you like. This makes great sandwiches! Or you can even reform into a veggie burger.
I make lentil loafs, love them. I have never pureed the lentils though, neat idea. My favorite lentils are sprouted French lentils, and about the same amount of Indian glutinous millet; best texture I have found without the nuts. Other ingredients are mostly the same (no carrots or tomato due to an allergy in the family) plus mushrooms and multicolored peppers. During the holidays I use lots of fresh sage, thyme, rosemary and parsley. And always make two!
Hi Super Nurse Sandy! Your ideas sound amazing – thanks for the tips! I don’t know anything about glutenous millet, not usually a millet fan but maybe there’s something there after all.
Just wondering whether you’ve ever cooked the loaf in your IP rather than baking it in the oven. I have a similar recipe to yours and was thinking about doing this. I don’t need a ‘baked’ finish, just for it to be cooked. If you’ve done this, how long did you cook it in the IP? If you haven’t, what kind of timing would you think would be about right? Sorry for picking your brains like this. I’ve got a whole load of visitors coming and some of them are vegetarians and I haven’t got oven space to accommodate food for everyone.