Paprika Spiced Lentil Loaf

Okay, this was my very first lentil loaf as a vegan and I can't believe it's taken this much time (five years!) to make one. Maybe because traditional meatloaf was never a favorite of mine — I ate it if my mom made it, but never enjoyed it. However, the world of food and culinary totally opens when you go plant-based! Things you never thought you'd eat again are now fun, exciting and taste incredibly good when created from plant-based foods. 

I adapted this recipe from Ambitious Kitchen since it was my first time and I didn't want to end up with a bad experimentation. 

It's a hearty dish that is popping with flavor and can serve your entire family or, if you make it for yourself, you'll have leftovers for lunch and can freeze some for later. I would also add some chopped kale or spinach to the next loaf just to ensure greens are included in this delicious meal. Or, you could include a side of sauteéd greens or a salad. P.S. The instructions look long, but don't let them fool you. This dish is fairly simple and it's the type of meal you can recreate easily over and over again. 

Ingredients
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons flaxseed meal
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tsp olive oil (or other plant-based oil)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small white or yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced, optional
  • 1/2 cup gluten free oats
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil (about 2-3 leaves)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp ground chili pepper
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika (add an extra tsp if you like it smokey)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne papper (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt plus more to taste (depending on your taste)

 For the Sauce

  • 1/3 cup ketchup (you could substitute tomato paste or sauce as well — I didn't have it in the house and finally found use for some organic ketchup my husband bought for a summer party years ago! If you use pure tomato paste you might have to add an additional teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and maple syrup.)
  • 1 tablespoon brown mustard
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp coconut aminos or Braggs amino acids
  • 1 tsp hot sauce, optional
How to Make
  1. Rinse the lentils in a large mesh strainer. Add 2 cups of water to a large pot with a dash of salt and bring to a boil. 
  2. Add lentils to water and bring to a boil again.
  3. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 35-40 minutes or until lentils are soft. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  5. Oil a 9 inch loaf pan or line it with parchment paper.
  6. Mix the flaxseed meal with 1/3 cup water, stir well then place in the refrigerator while you make the rest of the loaf. 
  7. Heat a wok or pan over medium heat with 2 teaspoons of olive oil.
  8. Add garlic, onion, bell pepper, carrots and jalapeno.
  9. Sauté for 5-7 minutes or until onions are translucent and carrots begin to soften. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in spices, sea salt and basil. Mix together then set aside.
  10. Using a blender or food processor, blend 1/2 of lentils to a creamy texture. If there is a bit of water in the lentil mixture use it to help with blending.
  11. Transfer the pureed and whole lentils to the bowl with the sauteéd veggies
  12. Add the oats, almond flour and flaxseed meal from the fridge. Mix together well.
  13. Taste and add salt and pepper or more spice as desired. 
  14. Add mixture to prepared loaf pan, pressing and smoothing to the side to make sure it bakes evenly.
  15. Bake loaf for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for 5-10 minutes.
  16. While the loaf is cooking prepare your glaze by mixing all of the ingredients together in a small bowl.
  17. Once the lentil loaf is finished, spread the glaze over top while the loaf is still warm or cut the loaf into servings and pour the glaze over each serving.  


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