Holiday Lentil Loaf 

What does a vegan who is nursing a toddler who’s allergic to soy, wheat, and cashews have for Thanksgiving? Lentils! I actually had this last year too before Jack developed his food allergies, because it’s that good!

I posted a lentil loaf recipe before, and I still make that one often. It’s more of a meatloaf than a holiday dinner.

I should have posted this last week, but life got in the way. My apologies! But this is good for any holiday as a poluty substitute. I actually assembled the loaf the night before and baked it the next day. It is very allergy-friendly and tastes great! Even my  meat-loving husband took several bites!

Holiday Lentil Loaf IMG_0439
1 cup red quinoa
2 cups brown lentils
2 carrots, chopped fine
2 stalls of celery, 
chopped fine
1/4 finely chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic, 
minced
1/4 tsp fresh rosemary, 
minced
1/4 tsp fresh sage, 
minced
1/4 tsp thyme, minced
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1/4 gluten-free flour
1/4 nutritional yeast
1/2 cup coconut aminos
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste 

Cook lentils according to directions on the package.

Cook lentils according to the directions on the package.

While those are cooking, sautée the carrots, celery, and onions in a little bit of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Then remove from heat and set aside.

In a small bowl, add all remaining ingriedents, expect the salt and pepper, and whisk together.

Drain both the lentils and quinoa, add to a large mixing bowl.

Add the sautée vegetables and mix well.

Add the liquid mixture and also mix well.

Spray a roasting pan or baking sheet with cooking spray. Form a loaf on the pan with the lentil mixture.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until heated through and a light crust forms.

Cut off a slice and top with some vegan gravy. Enjoy a taste of the holiday season everyone can enjoy!

Lentils With Toasted Walnuts

The other day Jack was super clingy and only wanted to sleep on me. I didn’t have anything better to do so I let him. However, as I reached for the remote, I dropped it out of my reach. It changed to the Cooking Channel with French Food At Home. I am not a big fan of this show because she makes stuff that is really not vegan friendly, but I was not about to reach for the remote and wake Jack up. But just my luck she was making vegetarian dishes, and some really good looking ones too!

The minute she said lentils with walnuts, I knew what I was making for dinner. I followed the basics of her recipe, but changed a few things. I left out the goat cheese obviously. I did not use walnut oil because I didn’t have any on hand. I also used brown lentils, not the french ones she calls for because once again, I did not have any on hand. I also added celery for some added green color.

Lentils With Toasted Walnuts
1/4 cup raw unsalted walnuts
1 cup brown lentils
1 and 1/2 cup water
1 tsp Herb de Provence
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 white onion, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

Spread the walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes in the oven. They will be slightly brown and start giving off that nutty smell when ready. Remove from the oven and set aside.

In a saucepan over medium heat, add the lentils, water, and Herb de Provence. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Cook until the lentils are soft and the water is all absorbed.

While that cooks, heat the oil olive in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and celery, cook until soft.

Add the garlic and cook for just a minute.

Add the vinegar and mix together well. Add more oil or vinegar as needed to make a very light and runny dressing (I needed a splash of each).

Once the lentils are cooked, turn off the heat. Pour the vinegar dressing over the lentils. Add the walnuts and toss together well.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with some more raw walnuts and a few sprigs of thyme if you have it.

We had this a big piece of bread and added a few shakes of red pepper flakes. It’s very rich and filling, a lovely hearty dinner!

Slowcooker Dhal

Forgive me for being tardy to VeganMofo! I volunteered to be the Chapter Advisor for the UC Santa Cruz chapter of my sorority, Gamma Phi Beta. This week was recruitment, and for those of you who are not Greeks,  all I can say is it is insanely time consuming. It was well worth it though. I am more than happy to help share the love of Gamma Phi to the next generation.

Anyways, a few days ago I made another one of my go-to meals: crockpot dahl. When I was still in college, I used to do this over the stove but it really does come out better in a slow cooker. I have posted a recipe about lentils before, and I eat them often because they are so versatile. There are so many ways to prepare them, but this is just my basic version.

Crockpot Dahl
3 cups of dry lentils, rinsed and picked over
2 cups vegetable broth or water
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, diced
3 large carrots, diced
1/2 tbs of curry powder
1/2 tbs of cumin
1/2 tbs of turmeric
Chili powder, to taste (I used about 1 tps because I like it spicy)
3 medium tomatoes, diced
Salt and Pepper, to taste.
Cilantro

This recipe is so easy.

Rinse and pick over the lentils.

Mince the garlic.

And dice the onion carrots, and tomatoes.

Another lovely treasure we have uncovered in the house!

Now add all the ingredients into a crockpot.

Set the crockpot to simmer or another low setting.

Check it every once and awhile to make sure nothing is burning. Add more water if needed.

It is ready when the lentils are soft and it has the consistency of a thick soup.

I served it over rice and top it with cilantro and  this amazing tamarind chutney Michael’s mom makes.

Thank you Mrs. Reddy!

Easy, delicious and healthy!

Lentil Loaf

I must confess, I have a love for infomercials.  My new favorite is that meat loaf pan that supposed to make the perfect loaf every time.  I question if the thing works but it made me want a delicious lentil loaf.  Meat loaf was one of the few meat dishes I actually liked when I was growing up, so I was kind of skeptical to see if a lentil one would compare. And I was surprised that it did! Now I make them often. Savory, a litte “meaty” and if you make them right, they can even be a little juicy.

Lentils are a pulse (don’t worry, I had to look that up too) that is part of the legume family. Their seeds are little lens-shaped pods that are high in protein, vitamin B, and fiber. They were consumed by neolithic Middle Easterners as far back as 13,000 years ago. And, surprisingly Canada is the top producers of lentils today.

Now, don’t judge this dish until you try it. It does not taste like a big pile of bland beans at all. Cooked lentils have a slightly “meaty” texture, which is why I love to put them in pasta sauces to create a heartier dish. The key to making a good lentil loaf, just like a meat loaf, is getting the consistency right. Make sure there is enough liquid and gluten in the mixture so it will stick without being mushy.

Lentil Loaf
1 cup dried green lentils
1/2 tbs vegan butter
1 cup vegetable stock
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup cooked oatmeal
1 tps Italian seasoning
2 tbs tomato paste (or ketchup works just fine)
1 tbs soy sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste

Pick through the lentils and throw out the bad ones. Soak the lentils overnight.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the vegan butter.

Drain and rinse the lentils. Add to skillet. Cook until the lentils are slightly golden.

Add the vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. Cover and let cook until all the liquid is absorbed, about 40 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a sheet pan with cooking spray (I didn’t use a loaf pan because I think it is a pain to remove the loaf in the end).

In a large bowl, add the cooked lentils, cooked oatmeal (it must be already cooked, it will help the load adhere together) and the onions. Mix together well. Mix in all remaining ingredients.

Shape into a loaf on the sheet pan. Feel free to top with ketchup like a meat loaf before you pop it in the oven if you like. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the top is a little golden.

I ate mine with some steamed green beans and some ketchup. So delicious. It makes nice leftovers the next day too. I think I will make a simple gravy for it tomorrow night, and maybe some mashed sweet potatoes.