Now, I’m not a vegetarian.
I like my meat.
I’m not much of a steak person, but more of a hamburger and meatloaf person…
However, that being said, I don’t like red meat every day.
Maybe once a week or so.
I’m more of a fish/seafood kinda girl, really.
Sadly, being so far from the ocean, here in Oklahoma good seafood is quite expensive.
I love love love fresh vegetables though, and as my dad is a vegetarian, I’ve been making two or three vegetarian meals for dinner a week recently.
My vegetarian lentil loaf is good for those times when I want something meat-loafy, but I’m not really in a meat eating mood (does that even make sense?). It tastes similar to meatloaf, but it has its own flavors as well. It doesn’t have the same texture as real meatloaf, naturally, but it’s still really good. It pleases the vegetarians and the meat eaters in my family, and anything that does that is a winner in my book! Oh, and it’s healthy too!
First, cook your lentils. I always like to cook them in broth of some sort, but water works fine too.
It’s hard to make a picture of boiling lentils looks exciting, isn’t it?
Next saute one diced onion, one diced green bell pepper, 4 cloves minced garlic, and 1 diced carrot in a skillet with some olive oil until tender. I usually just throw everything in a food processor and whiz it up to save time.
In a large bowl, add the cooked veggies, the cooked lentils, 2 cups of cooked rice, 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 2 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, and 1 tsp. onion powder. Mix everything well.
Taste test it and adjust the seasoning to taste. Once you’re happy with the seasoning, add 1 – 2 eggs, and mix everything up again.
Smoosh it all into a greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. It should just fit. Like so. At this point, I like to refrigerate it for an hour or more so that it can firm up a little before baking. It also allows the lentils and rice to absorb the flavors more. You can make this in the morning and refrigerate it all day if you want. Of course, if you’re in a hurry, you can skip this step.
Bake the loaf for 1 hour at 350° F (175° C). When it’s done, take it out of the oven and let it cool for a good 20 minutes or so. This is important, because it allows the loaf to firm up more, so it won’t all fall apart as soon as you take it out of the pan. Again, if you’re in a hurry and don’t care if it looks pretty or not, feel free to skip this step. It’ll taste just as good. :)
When it’s ready to serve, place a serving plate on top of the loaf pan, flip it over, and tap the pan until the loaf comes out onto the plate. Cut into slices, and serve.
I served it with ketchup (of course), dressed asparagus, homemade batter bread, and baked sweet potatoes. Yum.
Vegetarian Lentil Loaf
(serves 8 – 9)
- 1 1/2 c. dried lentils
- 3 1/2 c. water or vegetable broth
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1 carrot, diced
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 c. cooked brown rice
- 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 1/2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 – 2 eggs
- In a large pot, bring the lentils and broth to a boil. Turn down heat, cover, and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 20 – 30 minutes. Drain any remaining liquid, and mash the lentils slightly.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and carrot, and saute gently until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
- In a large bowl add the vegetable mixture, cooked lentils, cooked rice, salt and pepper, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and onion powder. Mix well and adjust the seasoning to taste.
- Add the eggs, and mix well.
- Pour into a well greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pan, pressing it in firmly to prevent any air bubbles. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour and up to eight hours (optional).
- Pre-heat oven to 350° F (175° C).
- Bake loaf for one hour, or until top is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 20 – 30 minutes before removing from pan.
- Place an inverted serving plate on top of the loaf pan. Holding both plate and loaf pan, flip the loaf pan upside down. Tap the pan gently until the lentil loaf comes out onto the plate. Cut into slices and serve.