Lentil Loaf is the ultimate vegan entree. It’s hearty and satisfying, with great flavor. And you can serve it topped with vegan gravy, a side of mashed yams and your favorite green vegetable.

It’s easier than you think to make your own Lentil Loaf. I’m going to show you just how easy it is.

And might I add that Lentil Loaf is a nutritious option! Besides being tasty, it’s filled with nutritious ingredients like flax seeds and fiber-rich oats. So let’s go over what ingredients you’ll need.

Ingredients for Lentil Loaf

I found all of the above ingredients at my local natural food store, Basil Bandwagon Natural Market. As you may know, I’m a huge organic fan. So you’ll see all of those types of ingredients in the photo above. But feel free to substitute other brands of your choice.

The Lentils 

Lentils cooking in a pot on the stove

To make my lentil loaf I cooked my own from scratch using dried green lentils. However, you can also used canned lentils. Whether you’re cooking them yourself or using canned, just be sure to drain them well. Because we don’t want too much moisture in our lentil loaf. Otherwise it won’t be a nice sliceable consistency. 

In the recipe below I provide you with instructions on how to cook lentils using the dried ones.

Sesame Oil 

I used unrefined sesame oil to saute the onion and garlic, but you can substitute avocado oil or a splash of vegetable broth if you prefer. Just don’t heat the sesame oil too much. It’s a more delicate oil that should not be heated above medium heat.

Onion and Garlic

I chose a nice sweet yellow onion, but white and red onions will work too. Even leeks can be used if you like. Make sure to finely mince your garlic and onion. A good sharp stainless steel knife comes in handy for such tasks. Or you could take a short cut and use a mini food prep tool designed to chop onions, or a mini food processor.

Sea Salt

Sea salt adds healthy trace minerals to any recipe (over 84 to be exact) and it helps to bring out the flavor of the other ingredients. Your food shouldn’t taste salty, but add enough to make the recipe pop!

If you want to try the Redmond brand sea salt that I used in the video they are offering 15% off for the Natural Kitchen Cooking School community. Use the code “NaturalKitchen” when checking out.

Carrots and Celery

Besides the onion and garlic, I like to add a little diced carrot and celery for color and flavor. The culinary combination of onions, carrots and celery is a classic in French cooking known as “mirepoix.” It adds a perfect touch to this savory entree. Is your mouth watering for the recipe yet? It’s coming!

Seasoning

I chose to use dried thyme, poultry seasoning (which is vegan by the way), onion powder and black pepper. But by all means, if you prefer to add in some other dried herbs like dried parsley, or even spices that would give a little kick like cayenne, fee free to do so.

The Binding Ingredients

Flaxseed Meal

Flaxseed meal is simply ground up flax seeds. Now you can buy them already prepared this way, or make them yourself. To make them yourself, you would need a spice grinder or small coffee grinder. I keep one dedicated for this purpose. When the right ratio of flaxseed meal is combined with water, it creates a vegan egg alternative that helps to bind the loaf together.

Oats & Flour

Besides the flaxseed mixture, ingredients such as gluten free rolled oats and gluten free 1-to-1 baking flour or gluten free all-purpose flour will also help this loaf to stick together and set up properly. If you’re not following a gluten-free diet you can substitute regular rolled oats and all purpose flour.

Topping Ingredients

Apple butter, maple syrup and balsamic vinegar on a marble kitchen counter

To me, this is what really makes a lentil loaf perfection. Some use tomato paste while others swear by barbecue sauce or ketchup. Me? I prefer to make mine free of nightshades, so I skipped the tomato ingredients. Instead I mixed together Eden brand no-sugar apple butter with balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. Simple and oh so good!

Key Steps in the Recipe

Saute the vegetables

Sauteing the veggies before adding them to the cooked lentils is important. Not only does it build flavor but it also softens the vegetables so they do not have a crunchy texture in the finished loaf. So don’t skip this step!

Sauteed carrot, onion and celery in a skillet with a bowl of lentils and flour sitting on a marble kitchen counter

Prepare your Loaf Pan

Prep your loaf pan by either lightly oiling it with some sesame oil or avocado oil using a silicone brush. OR, you can line the loaf pan it with a trimmed piece of parchment paper that hangs over the sides. This is good if you plan to lift out the whole loaf at once to present it on a platter.

Oiling a glass loaf pan with a red silicone brush and a bowl of lentils on a marble kitchen counter

Smooth the Top

Once you have your lentil loaf prepared you will transfer it into your prepared loaf pan and smooth the surface on top before adding the sauce for the topping. So it will look something like this.

Lentil Loaf in a glass loafpan on a marble kitchen counter

Let it Rest Before Slicing

Once your lentil loaf has baked for the right amount of time, let it sit at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes to “set” a bit before slicing. This is because the more it cools the easier it is to slice. But you also want it to still be warm so use your judgement.

Slice of Lentil Loaf with Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Bok Choy on a plate with flowers, a fork in orange napkin and glass of water

Serve with Gravy and Sides

Any of your favorite side dishes will nicely compliment this hearty vegan entree, but mashed sweet potatoes and sautéed green vegetables are the best choices in my opinion. Of course, a mushroom gravy or any other nice gravy is the perfect touch to this satisfying meal.

Slice of Lentil Loaf with Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Bok Choy on a plate

Enjoy making this recipe for Lentil Loaf!

 

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Lentil loaf, mashed sweet potatoes and bok choy on a plate

Lentil Loaf


Scale

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked lentils, drained* (use canned or follow directions below to make using dried lentils)
  • 3 tablespoons flaxseed meal
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup carrots, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme 
  • ½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • ½ cup gluten-free baking mix or all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons no-sugar apple butter
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Place the cooked lentils in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Place the flaxseed meal in a small bowl. Add the ⅓ cup of water and stir well. Let this mixture sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and a pinch of the sea salt.  Cook and stir for a few minutes, stirring.  Add the carrots and celery.  Add the thyme, poultry seasoning, onion and black pepper. Cook and stir for another 5 minutes. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. F. 
  4. To the cooked lentils, add the remaining sea salt, sauteed vegetables, rolled oats and baking mix. Stir well.
  5. In a small bowl, stir together the no-sugar apple butter, balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. If you want more topping you can double these quantities.
  6. Lightly oil a large glass loaf pan.  Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan. Smooth the top with a spatula.  Top with a thin layer of barbecue sauce.  Bake at 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes or until the loaf is firm and set.  (It will firm up more as it cools.) Slice and serve while still warm, with vegan gravy.

To Cook the Lentils From Scratch Using Dried Lentils: 

  • 1 ½ cups uncooked green or brown lentils 
  • Optional: 1 1/2-inch size piece kombu sea vegetable
  • 3 ¾ cups water
  1. Rinse the lentils in a strainer.
  2. Place the rinsed lentils in a medium saucepan. If you are using the kombu, place it in a small bowl with cold water to cover it. Soak it for 10 minutes, then drain.
  3. Add the 3 ¾ cups of water and the drained kombu to the lentils. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. 
  4. Reduce the heat to simmer on low, covered, for 40 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Keep an eye on the liquid amount while the lentils are cooking. If the lentils get dry add a small amount of extra water. Drain off any excess liquid that remains at the end. 

If you enjoyed this recipe, you’ll love these recipes too:

Vegan Scalloped Potatoes is a delicious side dish that goes well with this recipe.

Green Bean Casserole is another classic dish that goes great with Lentil Loaf, especially for holiday meals like Thanksgiving.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, no holiday meal would be complete without Pumpkin Pie, and this vegan one also has a Keto option.

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