Monday, November 25, 2013

Homestyle Lentil Loaf

When I was growing up, my mom's meatloaf was my favorite. I could never understand why on TV they would portray meatloaf as this gross thing that should be dreaded for dinner. This was so much my favorite meal, that it became the standard for my Mom to make for me when I came home from college. After weeks away at CMU, home of some of the worst college dining in the country, I would come home to a warm plate of meatloaf, green beans, and boiled potatoes. Heaven!

This will be my first Thanksgiving fully vegetarian, so I have been searching for something that I could make and bring with me as the main course. You know, so that my Mom wouldn't get stressed about the lack of turkey on my plate. I came across this recipe for lentil loaf on Oh She Glows, but decided that, despite the lovely fall flavors, it wasn't quite what I was looking for. After a bit more thought, I decided that it would be great to vegetarianize my Mom's meatloaf, using the exact same recipe and spices, just substituting lentils for ground beef. Lentils are my favorite legume, so I had high hopes for this substitution. While I wasn't quite sure how many lentils would be equivalent to "1.5lb ground beef" I played a bit and here's what I got. The flavor and texture is very similar to my old favorite. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Homestyle Lentil Loaf

3 1/2c cooked green lentils
1 + 1/2T Vegemite (or 2 cubes vegetable bullion, if you don't happen to have it)
2 leeks, chopped
2 stalks of celery chopped
1/2c finely ground oat flour
1c quick cook rolled oats
1T cornstarch
1/2t baking soda
1/3c BBQ sauce or ketchup
1T Worcester or soy sauce
1T spicy mustard
2 cloves or 1T powdered garlic
1/2T ground black pepper

1. Starting from dry lentils, cook a 1lb package of lentils in a broth made up of 1T Vegemite (or bullion) in a large pot of water. This can be omitted, but it'll infuse your lentils with more "meaty" flavor.
2. Preheat oven to 350F.
3. Food process 1/2c rolled oats to make your oat flour. Add to a large mixing bowl with the cornstarch and baking soda. Mix.
4. Coarsely food process 3c lentils with the leeks, celery, garlic, black pepper, and remaining 1/2T Vegemite (or 1 cube bullion)
5. Add to mixing bowl with processed oats.
6. Add remaining 1/2c lentils, and 1c oats to mixing bowl, followed by remaining ingredients. I usually use my hands to mix this like working clay, as it is quite thick.
7. Press mixture into a greased loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour at 350F.
8. Top with an extra squiggle of BBQ sauce or ketchup and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
9. Let cool, slice, and enjoy!

Moving around the plate to cornbread stuffing with (vegetarian) sausage tomorrow!

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