There are days when soup simply won’t do. Days when the hunger is ravenous and you really need something to sink your teeth into. It is on these days that I often find my vegetarian repertoire unable to meet my needs and I find coming back to my carnivorous ways. (What? I’m not strictly vegetarian. It’s allowed.) “No more!” I exclaimed last week. It was time for a better solution; something hearty and filling. Of course what better to be a part of said solution than lentils in the form of a tasty “meat” loaf.

The Color Red

I loved Mom’s meat loaf as a kid, always taking a thick slice to go with my extra large helping of mashed potatoes and corn. (Corn goes with everything. It’s been proven.) Delicious. It’s been a while since I’ve had that glorious loaf of meat and it occurred to me that this might be part of the problem with my current diet: not enough comfort food. There was (is?) a significant lack of balance.

Looks Great, Doesn't It?

The term lentil loaf does not sit well with me. There are just too many… connotations with the word ‘loaf,’ however that is exactly what this is. I scoured the wonders of the internet for inspiration, including my personal hero, Alton Brown, to concoct this delicious recipe. I was very pleased with the result. The only significant issue is the texture. This recipe is not as solid as a traditional meat loaf, but won’t fall apart as you cut into it with your fork. Perhaps another egg would help…

Lentil "Meat" Loaf

Vegetarian Lentil “Meat” Loaf
adapted from Alton Brown and My Vegan Cookbook.
3/4 cup green lentils; cooked and drained
1/2 cup brown rice; cooked and drained
3 cloves garlic; minced
1 yellow onion; chopped
1 large carrot; chopped
1 red bell pepper; chopped
1 egg
1/4 cup bread crumbs, corn meal or vital wheat gluten
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Preheat the oven to 325°.

While the lentils and and rice are cooking saute the garlic, onion, carrot and bell pepper in a pan on medium heat until onions are translucent; approximately 5 minutes. Let cool then chop in a food processor into finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl and chop the lentils (once they’ve cooled) in the food processor into a paste.

Combine all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl then move to a glass baking pan, forming it into a loaf. Bake for 45 minutes until heated through.

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4 Responses to “Something to Sink Your Teeth Into – Vegetarian Lentil "Meat" Loaf”

  1. I am not convinced. Things that masquerade as meat can never replace meat. I’m looking at you, soy crumbles.

    …and no fair bringing up the turkey loaf.

  2. Chef Edwin says:

    You’re right, this will never replace a REAL meat loaf. However this was quite tasty in its own right. Give it a shot. I promise it’ll come out better than the turkey loaf incident. 😉

  3. Alton Brown is also a personal hero for me. In fact, I’m watching Iron Chef America right now…not as good as Good Eats, but still has Alton.

  4. Chef Edwin says:

    I love Alton Brown, possibly so far as to have a bit of a man crush. The guy is awesome. If only everyone on Food Network could be as entertaining an informative as him…