Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
Hannah McKenzie, Cary, North Carolina, USA
Good nutrition means eating a well-balanced and varied diet of foods in as close to their natural state as possible.
Lentil loaf is a savory go-to meal made with simple flavorful ingredients for our vegan friendly family. It lends itself to substitutions or additions depending on what vegetables or fruits are available and in season. Canned or fresh tomatoes would be a lovely substitution or nuts that are grown or available in your region. Pecans are plentiful in North Carolina, so they are often found in desserts and dinners in our home. Sometimes we use fresh apples and dried cranberries as the pizazz rather than tomatoes. Add herbs of your choice to customize the flavor. The oat flour glues the loaf together so don’t omit this key ingredient!
Double the recipe to make one loaf for your family and another for friends. It freezes well and can be prepped in stages if you are chasing children while cooking. Toddlers love scooping, dumping, and mixing ingredients alongside you. They can even wield a table knife to cut this grown up meal.
1 Tbsp olive oil, preferably from sundried tomatoes
½ onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
Minced garlic to taste
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and chopped
1 cup uncooked dry green lentils, rinsed and soaked for an hour in refrigerator
3 cups water
Add the following to the cooled bean mixture:
1 Tbsp flax meal + 3 Tbsp water soaked for 10-15 minutes
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup rolled oats, pulse into flour in food processor
½ cup corn meal or bread crumbs
6 oz tomato paste
Salt to taste
Combine and rapidly simmer the ingredients for 40 minutes or 7–9 minutes in a pressure cooker and let the pressure release naturally.
It should be a thick pudding consistency once all the ingredients are combined. If not, add more oat flour or cornmeal as needed. Press into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit/180 C/Gas mark 3 for 45 minutes.
Serve as the main attraction with fresh fruit or as a hearty side dish, slathered with spicy mustard or ketchup. If you omitted all tomatoes and added chopped fresh apples and dried cranberries to the cooled bean mixture, a balsamic reduction is delicious on the finished loaf. No one will notice that it’s vegan.