In College Station, Texas, when it rains, it pours. When it pours, it floods. Why? Because the water doesn’t drain at all here. Luckily, I have some bright yellow rain boots that make me feel like a little kid again as I plunge through every puddle I see, unafraid of the consequences. Except for if I don’t wear them that day, like yesterday. Yesterday, the day that it rains so hard that rivers are flowing down the sides of the street and I half expect Pocohantas to come “just around the river bend” (yes, I’m a big fan of Disney movies…I’m still a kid at heart).
Because, let’s face it, if I had worn my rain boots as a precaution, it would have been a beautiful, sunny day. It’s what I call irony. But irony is more fun to study in a literature class than through personal experience. So when I came home from class dripping wet, I decided irony makes me cold and hungry. The solution? That would be this meatloaf, or rather, vegetable lentil loaf. I found this recipe on The Simple Veganista and knew I had to try it. It’s gluten-free, lactose-free, and vegan. I’m not any of those, but I had the ingredients, so that was a win.
My favorite part of this recipe is the sauce by far. I definitely doubled the original recipe, and would even consider making this recipe again in muffin tins just to allow a higher sauce to meatloaf ratio. Plus muffin-shaped things are fun to eat. But this meatloaf was very filling and stuffed full of vegetables and goodness!
Now to start! I prepped ahead of time for this by chopping up all of my vegetables and cooking my lentils so I could get right to cooking when I was ready to make it.
When you do start, don’t forget to preheat your oven to 350 degrees. I always forget to do this and it drives me crazy. After that, you’re just going to sauté all the vegetables in oil on a skillet until they’re soft. While you’re doing that, you can go ahead and combine the ground flax seed with water and let it sit for 10 minutes. You’ve gotta love multi-tasking.
Next up, blend up ¾ of those lentils! This will help bind the loaf together so it doesn’t just crumble apart. I confess that I decided to mash them up with a spoon so I wouldn’t have to wash our blender afterwards, but it would have been much easier and less time consuming to just stick them in the blender. So I guess it depends on whether you have some anger you want to take out on your lentils or not for which method you use!
Time to introduce your ingredients to each other! Combine your vegetables, lentils (both whole and mashed), the flaxseed meal, oats, and oat flour (or whatever flour you want). You can add salt and pepper here if you want to. Once they’re nice and mixed up, scoop the mixture into a loaf pan that has been lined with parchment paper so that it’s easier to get the loaf out later.
And now it’s finally time for my favorite part: the glaze. Like I said, I doubled the original glaze ingredients, so feel free to change up the amount you make too, as long as you keep the proportions the same. So mix together your ketchup, balsamic vinegar, and maple syrup until they’re well incorporated and pour it over the top of your loaf.
Now it’s the oven’s turn to do its part. Stick the loaf in there for 45-50 minutes. Once it’s done, let it cool a little before your slice it up. Now all that’s left to do is to eat it! Enjoy!
Vegetable Lentil Loaf
- 1 cup dry lentils (use green or brown)
- 2 ½ cups water or vegetable broth
- 3 Tb flaxseed meal (ground flaxseeds)
- 1/3 cup water (6 Tb)
- 2 Tb olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 1 small red bell pepper, finely diced
- 1 carrot, finely diced
- 1 celery stalk, finely diced
- ¾ cup old fashioned oats
- ½ cup oat flour or any other type of flour
- 1 heaping tsp dried thyme
- ½ heaping tsp cumin
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ¼ – ½ tsp ground chipotle pepper, optional
- cracked pepper and sea salt to taste
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 2 Tb balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tb maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Rinse your lentils, and then add them to a large pot with 2 ½ cups of water. Bring them to a boil, and then reduce heat and cover, simmering for 40 minutes. Then remove the lid and let them just hang out for about 15 minutes. Once they’re cooled, take ¾ of the mixture and puree it.
- In a small bowl, mix together the flaxseed meal and 1/3 cup of water. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes, in the fridge if possible.
- Add oil, garlic, onion, bell pepper, carrots, and celery in a pan over medium heat and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the spices to the mix and set aside to let them cool.
- Take ¾ of the lentils and blend them until they are smooth. You could also mash them by hand if you want.
- Combine vegetables, lentils, oats, oat flour, and flax seed. Mix well, adding salt and pepper to taste. Place mixture in loaf pan lined with parchment paper, and pat it down.
- Now the glaze! Combine the ketchup, balsamic vinegar, and maple syrup together in a bowl and stir until blended. Spread it over the top of the loaf, and bake for 45-50 minutes. Let it cool and then eat it up!