Happy week of Thanksgiving ya'll!
I am very excited about this Thursday. As I have mentioned about a hundred times before...I love Thanksgiving! It is such a special day, getting to give thanks for those we love and all of the wonderful blessings in our lives. And, of course, getting to enjoy some pretty darn delicious food too.
Over the last week or so I have been sharing some of my favorite holiday meals with all of you, and today wraps up our main course with The Best Vegan Lentil Loaf. I absolutely love this lentil loaf. Not only around the holidays, but any time of year. It is the perfect "meat" substitute for any meal because it is hearty, filling, and full of healthy vegetables and protein filled lentils.
Lentils not only provide 18 grams per cup of lean protein but also 16 grams of dietary fiber, 358 micrograms of folate, and 87 percent of the iron men need daily and 38 percent of the amount a woman needs. They are also a great source of potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin and vitamin K.
This lentil loaf also comes complete with a sweet and tangy glaze that just takes it right over the edge. I highly recommend making extra so you can throw some more on your plate or directly on your slice of lentil loaf!
The Best Vegan Lentil Loaf
(Makes 6 Servings)
1 cup dry green lentils
3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
3 flax eggs (3 Tbs ground flaxseed + 6 Tbs water)
1 small onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 container mushrooms, chopped
1 medium carrot, grated or chopped
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (2 pieces whole grain or gluten-free toast)
3/4 cup rolled oats, ground into a flour + 2 Tbs rolled oats, left whole
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground cumin
a pinch of red pepper flakes
3 Tbs organic ketchup
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs pure maple syrup
1. Rinse lentils, checking for any small rocks or debris, then place in a pot with vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer until lentils are tender and the broth is absorbed. Stirring often so the lentils don't stick. About 40 minutes.
2. Mix 3 tablespoons flaxseed with 6 tablespoons water and set aside for at least 5-10 minutes to set and form your "eggs".
3. Sauté chopped onion and garlic in a nonstick pan until tender. Then add the mushrooms and carrots and sauté until soft. Add raisins, thyme, oregano, cumin, sea salt, and red pepper flakes. Cook all ingredients together for just a few more minutes then remove from heat and let sit.
4. Preheat oven to 350.
5. In a food processor, add 2 slices of toasted bread to form your breadcrumbs. Measure out 1/2 cup, then place in a bowl and set aside.
6. Now add 3/4 cup rolled oats to the food processor, and blend until oats form a flour. Place in the same bowl as the oat flour and set aside.
7. Once lentils have finished cooking, pour about 3/4 or 75% of the cooked lentils into the food processor and pulse a few times so the lentils are smooth but also have a few pieces still left whole. This is an important step to help bind all of the ingredients.
8. In a large mixing bowl, add all of the lentils (the ones in the food processor as well as the remaining 25%) then add oat flour, breadcrumbs, flax eggs, the veggie mixture, and remaining 2 tablespoons of whole oats and mix with a large spoon. Or get right in there with your hands!
9. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and scoop the mixture (a little at a time) into the pan. With each scoop, press down firmly on the loaf with the back of a spoon so everything cooks together really well and there aren't any gaps in the loaf.
10. Now prepare your glaze. Whisk ketchup, balsamic vinegar, and maple syrup in a bowl, then spread evenly over lentil loaf.
11. Place the "glazed" lentil loaf in the oven uncovered, and let cook for 45 minutes.
12. Let cool for just a few minutes, then remove loaf from pan and prepare slices about 1 inch thick.
13. Store in the fridge, covered, for up to a week. Also tastes good as leftovers thrown into a salad or on a sandwich or wrap!
I hope you all enjoy my recipe for The Best Vegan Lentil Loaf, and that it makes its way to your table not only this holiday season, but all year round!