Thursday, July 12, 2012

Vegan Lentil "Meatloaf"

It occurred to me recently that I haven't had meatloaf in over three years. We ate it a lot when I was younger because it was cheap, easy, quick, fed a lot of people, and everyone in the house would eat it. This is crucial when you have two small children and have an assisted living home in your house. But when my parents changed jobs, Mom became allergic to beef, and my brother became pickier than ever, meatloaf fell to the side. Turkey and lamb didn't cut it for my brother, and buffalo is too expensive. A few years later, I became vegetarian, rendering the point moot for me.
Unfortunately, I started craving a protein-and-vegetable-filled loaf. My only real requirement was that it involve ketchup. Also, it needed to use ingredients I actually have, which does not include cheese. Annoyingly, this limited me to vegan recipes that are specifically called "vegan" because all the "vegetarian" ones use about a pound of cheese. Which I don't have.

I found this recipe on Eat, Live, Run and adapted it to my ingredients. All I really did was use almonds instead of walnuts and add ketchup to the mix. I'm not adverse to trying other recipes, but this one was so successful that I'd rather not until I run out of  panko bread crumbs and need to find a recipe that doesn't need them. Oatmeal might do the trick, though.

Vegan Lentil Loaf


1 c lentils
3 c water
1 cube vegetable bouillon
1 large onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 large carrot, grated
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 c chopped almonds, toasted
1 tsp mixed herbs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cornstarch egg (or flax or real; 1 tbsp cornstarch in 3 tbsp water)
1 c breadcrumbs
1/3 c ketchup
2 tbsp ketchup
1/2 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp bbq sauce


Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Bring water to a boil and add lentils. Don't add the bouillon until the lentils are pretty soft (about 20 min).

Dice onion and celery, add to a medium skillet with olive oil and saute until celery is tender.

Grate the carrot finely and mince garlic. Stir the lentils and onion/celery skillet from time to time.

When the celery is tender, add carrots and garlic. It will look horrifyingly fluorescent, but it's okay. Stir it around from time to time.

 Chop almonds pretty small.

Toast almonds. Do not do anything else except give the skillet a stir every now and then or you will burn your almonds. I'm serious. Don't even get your breadcrumbs ready and take a picture of them. Don't stir your skillet of fluorescent vegetables. Don't do it.

Add the almonds to the skillet after picking out the burnt bits. Give it a stir.
Add the salt, herbs, and pepper. Stir in very well; it will be very salty, herby, and peppery. Transfer to a large bowl.

Make and add your egg. If you use a real egg, beat it slightly before adding it. Stir well, or your breadcrumbs will get all soggy. Make sure your lentils are tender. If not, wait until they are before adding breadcrumbs.

Add breadcrumbs and stir.
Drain any excess water out of the lentils.

Add lentils and stir. It will want to form a segregated lump, but don't stand for that. Stir and squash the resistance out of those lentils until it's all mixed together.
Taste it. Decide that it needs ketchup.

Add ketchup, stir well. Press into a greased loaf tin, or 9" pie tin, or a muffin tin. Or something.

Mix ketchup, bbq suace, vinegar, and maple syrup together. Trust me on this. I hate bbq sauce, but it turned out quite nicely.

Pour and spread ketchup mixture over the loaf.

Bake for 40 minutes or so, until the edges pull away from the side of the tin.

Eat with vegetables, and probably a grain. Although, if you use whole grain bread for your crumbs, it might be okay.

It doesn't really taste like meatloaf. It doesn't really feel like meatloaf. However, it's close enough for me.

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