Lentil Loaf of Love

You know what I love? Ease and flow. Things in life that are ready and waiting for me when I need them. A rainbow of vegetables in neatly arranged containers, all chopped and ready to toss into a salad. Homemade salad dressing, prepared in advance, in a clearly marked jar. Walking into my kitchen, opening the refrigerator, and seeing something delicious and wholesome that I have prepared in advance, so that I can eat a lunch or dinner with no drama.

You know else I like?  The idea of a “loaf.” A thing I can slice, and serve with a side salad. Or just eat standing there at the fridge.  A nice meal waiting for me feels like a gift that I’ve taken the time to give my future self.

I have never loved the lentil. I know it’s good for me, with all the protein and fiber and whatnot but it just always seemed so mud-colored and unappealing. The green or orange ones are better I guess, but no version of a lentil has ever grabbed my attention. That is, until I met this loaf. This recipe came to us from Bridgette Becker, co-founder of Taproot Energetics, and it is absolutely yummy, with many colorful chopped veg and spices, and a positively decadent glaze on top.

And when I make it, there it is waiting for me in my fridge. A gift to myself I can count on. Comforting and lovely, to the very last slice.

Serves:

6 – 8 (or 1 for many days)

Total time:

About 2 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • 2 medium carrots, grated or diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 cup dry lentils, green or brown
  • 2.5 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 Tablespoon Flax meal / ground Flax seed
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1 heaping teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 heaping teaspoon cumin powder
  • cracked pepper & sea salt to taste

Glaze Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoon Grade B maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 6 Tablespoon organic ketchup

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Prepare a loaf pan by lining it with parchment paper.
  • Rinse lentils in cold water, and combine with broth in large pot.
  • Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer, for about 40 minutes, until lentils are soft.
  • Once done, remove lid and set lentils aside to cool.
  • In the meantime, combine the flaxseed and water in a small bowl. (This is the vegan equivalent of an “egg” – it will bind the loaf. Cool, right?)
  • Dice and chop all your vegetables.
  • Heat a small amount of olive or avocado oil in a sauté pan on medium heat. Sauté onion, celery, carrot and red pepper until soft (about 5 minutes). Add garlic last because garlic burns easily.
  • Add the spices to the vegetables and stir.
  • Place cooked lentils in the bowl of a food processor, and process until somewhat smooth (not overly pasty). Add the sautéed vegetables and process once or twice until just combined.
  • In a large bowl, combine oats, oat flour and flax mixture. Add the lentil and vegetable mixture. Combine with a wooden spoon.
  • Press mixture into the prepared loaf pan.
  • Mix all the glaze ingredients, and spread on top of the loaf.  (You can keep some separate to serve with, or you can always make more!)
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