Today: A vegan version of a childhood classic.
I wasn’t a big meat eater growing up, but I was a big meatloaf eater. It was one of my favorite and most-requested childhood dishes, which pleased my mother, who typically had to brace herself for battle when meat was on the menu. Ironically, one of the reasons I liked my mom’s meatloaf so much was that it was always chock full of the vegetables I loved so much, even as a kid: carrots, celery, and onions.
This lentil loaf highlights those same vegetables, along with brown lentils, ground walnuts, and breadcrumbs. I think it evokes the dense texture of traditional meatloaf nicely, but I appreciate the kick of aromatics (garlic, sage, thyme, and rosemary) and the fact that lentils give it more texture and chew than any meatloaf I can remember (sorry, mom).
More: Make a double batch of lentils, and turn some into sloppy Joes.
As with traditional meatloaf, you can serve cold slices of this loaf on toasted, grainy bread for a hearty leftover lunch or dinner; the leftovers will keep for at least four days in the refrigerator and can be frozen for up to a month. A ketchup glaze is optional, but I love the tangy sweetness it adds to an otherwise earthy dish -- plus, it makes the loaf look super authentic. I like smothering it with my vegan gravy and serving it with some garlicky sautéed greens. Needless to say, it’s a great holiday dish: It serves a crowd, and it can sit proudly at the center of any table.
Makes 8 slices
1 1/2 cups walnuts, toasted
1 cup green or brown lentils, dry
2 cups vegetable broth, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups diced white or yellow onion
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrot
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon sage, rubbed
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups breadcrumbs
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon flax meal, mixed with 2 tablespoons warm water
1/4 cup ketchup, for glazing (optional)
Photos by Mark Weinberg
Gena's new book Choosing Raw: Making Raw Foods Part of the Way You Eat is a thorough, relatable guide to incorporating raw and vegan foods into any diet. It's full of no-fuss recipes for every meal, which range from fully raw to mostly cooked, with plenty of snacks and desserts to keep everyone happy.