Lentil Walnut Loaf

November 10, 2014

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes:

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

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 thyme, dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon sage, rubbed
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary, dried and crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • black pepper
  • 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)
In This Recipe


  1. Use a food processor to grind the walnuts into a meal. Set the meal aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Bake the loaf for 40 minutes, or until the top is browning. Allow it to sit for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

More Great Recipes:
Bean|Breadcrumbs|Carrot|Celery|Lentil|Sage|Thyme|Walnut|Make Ahead|Serves a Crowd|Fall|Thanksgiving

Reviews (18) Questions (1)

18 Reviews

okaykate February 3, 2018
Has anyone tried freezing this? What would be the best method? Thx!
allison June 22, 2018
I was wondering the same thing. Did you ever try freezing this?
Ttrockwood January 6, 2018
I have made this a few times and it's been a big hit with non vegetarian friends. Definitely add the ketchup on top, i use a thick layer more than 1/4c. Surprisingly this works even better with canned lentils which i hate yet use for veggie burgers and they held this together great. Absolutely better the next day
SMarsh March 11, 2017
We made this and it turned out delish! Used a ground chia seed egg substitute instead of the flax. Also used panko bread crumbs and ground up corn flakes because we didn't have enough! Glazed with homemade bbq sauce which made it even more savory. Definitely recommend letting it sit before slicing it, as it helped it stay together. Ours was moist and not crumbly at all. Already planning on making again.
Marsha G. August 19, 2016
This was all right. It's a nice recipe to have because you can make it from pantry ingredients, so when you're broke or you're snowed in, it could prove helpful. It was a bit dry, so have some gravy handy. It was also a bit crumbly. <br /><br />http://www.what-marsha-eats.tumblr.com
Teri G. February 10, 2016
Planning to make this tonite. Looks delicious. I have read that you can use chickpea juice (like the stuff you drain out of the can) as an egg substitute. The article I read said it beat all of the other subs. Going to try it instead of the flax meal.
Lynnsy October 24, 2016
It helps to soak the flax meal in warm water in equal amounts for about 15 minutes. It will be a good egg substitute and hold the loaf together better than just stirring it in dry.<br />
MargaretB January 7, 2016
This was the unexpected star of our Thanksgiving. Even the meat eaters loved it. A bit dry, but nothing a good vegan gravy couldn't fix. Also: I used hoisin instead of ketchup on top, which I thought went with the lentils very well and added a great umami kick.
Linda O. November 9, 2015
Do you think one could substitute almonds?
Jess November 15, 2015
I think you could -- I liked the walnuts in it very much, but if almonds are your preferred nut/what you have, I would say try it out.
Jess January 24, 2015
Second time making this tonight, and it's just as terrific as the first go. I never ate or prepared vegetarian nut loaves before this, but I often see them mentioned in discussions of earlier eras of vegetarian cooking. So making and eating this delicious meal feels a bit like a way to access that nostalgia -- fun!
Leanne J. December 26, 2014
Made this tonight with a few changes. Omitted the walnuts, and used two egg whites instead of flax. Consistency was like meatloaf. Sliced perfectly! Will definitely make this again!
Sue H. November 26, 2014
Thanks for the temp and time!!!
learnoff November 16, 2014
Just made this and it's another Food52.com winner in our home! I followed the directions exactly. Other than the lentils definitely needed more than 2 cups of liquid and I added a 1/4 cup ketchup to the mixture and then just spread additional on top. It's a great substitute for the real deal - i can see this straight up on a plate or as a sandwich. I did 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Yum. On,y wish I could post a photo of the recipes I make from this web site. Thanks again food 52!
Whats4Dinner November 16, 2014
MeMecooke: how did 350 work out? okay? should I try 375??
Kandy K. November 15, 2014
Oven temp needs to be added to the recipe please.
AG November 13, 2014
Oven temp?
MeMecooke November 15, 2014
I did mine at 350..but u r right..no temp in recipe