Monday, March 21, 2011

Vegan Lentil Walnut Loaf


1 cup dry green lentils
3 cups vegetable broth
2 large eggs or 3 Tbsp. ground flax seed mixed with 1/2 cup warm water - This is an egg substitute to make this recipe vegan, but if you aren't vegan you could use two large eggs instead
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup sweet onion, diced
1 celery stalk or green onion, chopped finely
1 large carrot, grated
254g Cremini mushrooms, chopped finely
1/3 of an apple, peeled and grated (makes 1/3 cup grated apple)
1/4 cup raisins (optional)
1 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
1 and 1/2 tsp. salt
Black pepper, to taste
2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. ground caraway
1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs, homemade or storebought

Sweet Apple Maple Glaze Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. ketchup
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. apple butter or apple sauce


Step 1 - Cook the lentils: In a medium-sized pot, bring the vegetable broth to a boil. Add the lentils, bring back up to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the lentils are tender. Be sure to stir the lentils frequently so that they do not stick to the bottom of the pot. Once the lentils are cooked, remove from the head and set aside to cool.

Step 2 - Toast the walnuts: Toast the chopped walnuts in a skillet over medium heat until they are lightly browned and fragrant. You could also toast them in a 350 degree F oven for about 6 minutes. Keep an eye on them and stir frequently so that they do not burn. Set aside to cool.

Step 3 - Make the flax egg: Mix 3 Tbsp. of ground flax seed with 1/3 cup warm water and stir well to combine. Set aside for at least 5-10 minutes so it can gel up. *Omit this step if you are using a regular egg.

Step 4 - Prepare the vegetable mixture: In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the onion and minced garlic for about 5 minutes, being careful not to burn them. After the onions are tender, add the carrot and mushrooms and saute for another 2-3 minutes. Add the grated apple, raisins, and chopped walnuts and cook for another couple minutes. Add the thyme, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.

Step 5 - Process the lentils: Once the lentils are cooled, place about 75% of them into a food processor and process them until mostly smooth. Scoop the processed lentils in a large bowl and mix with the remaining 25% of the whole lentils.

Step 6 - Make the breadcrumbs: To make your own breadcrumbs, lightly toast 2 slices of bread, tear them into smaller pieces, and pulse in a food processor until they break down into small breadcrumbs. Set aside. You could also use storebought bread crumbs instead of making your own.

Step 7 - Mix everything together: Stir together the breadcrumbs, egg, vegetable mixture until well combined. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary.

Step 8 - Preparing the glaze and cooking: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line a loaf pan with parchment paper so that the paper hangs over the edges by about 2 inches. In a small bowl, combine all the glaze ingredients. Dump the lentil mixture into the loaf pan and spread out with a spoon. Press the mixture firmly and evenly into the pan with your hands. Spread the glaze evenly over the loaf and bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes. 

Step 9 - Serve!: Once cooked, cool the loaf for approx. 10-15 minutes, then slice and serve. Makes about 8 thick slices.

*Recipe adapted from Oh She Glows

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