Lentils and walnuts give this vegan spin on meatloaf plenty of texture and chew. Most of the ingredients are likely to be in your pantry and fridge, so you can whip the loaf up easily and enjoy its leftovers (which get better with time) for a few days. —Gena Hamshaw
flax meal, mixed with 2 tablespoons warm water
ketchup, for glazing (optional)
Use a food processor to grind the walnuts into a meal. Set the meal aside.
Sort and rinse the lentils. Place them in a pot along with the vegetable broth. Bring the broth to a boil and lower it to a simmer. Simmer the lentils until they've absorbed all of the liquid and are tender but not mushy. Add more broth as needed. When the lentils are done, remove them from heat and set them aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrot. Sautee until the onion is clear and the carrots are tender (about 6 to 8 minutes). Add the garlic and cook it for another 2 minutes. Add the cooked lentils, along with the thyme, sage, rosemary, and salt. Check the mixture for seasoning and add more salt and black pepper as needed.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, walnuts, and the lentil mixture, along with the tomato paste and the flax mixture. Use your hands to combine it all thoroughly.
Press the mixture into a loaf pan (mine is 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches), smoothing the top over. Glaze it with ketchup, if desired.
Bake the loaf for 40 minutes, or until the top is browning. Allow it to sit for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.