When I was a kid, my mom used to make an amazing meatloaf. I know it's not every kid's ideal meal, but damn it was tasty, and I loved it! It was so juicy, full of flavour and always satisfied our bellies. I remember the crispness of the crust like it was yesterday. My brother liked it too, and it was an effective way for my mom to get him to eat something healthy with hidden veggies. He was NOT a fan of veggies, and he used to hide them behind the fridge. I remember giggling about this when I was a kid and knowing his little secret.
I've created a totally plant-based version of that meatloaf with inspiration from my mom, and adapted a few ingredients from another recipe on the blog - Not Your Mama's Meatloaf . The sauce on this loaf is essential.
It is bursting with flavours from cinnamon, ginger and cloves which are warming to the core and incredibly rich in antioxidants.
You'll be so happy if you've got leftovers of the sauce so you can use it for dipping. And if you love this sauce, you're gonna LOVE my Best-Ever Homemade BBQ Sauce which is insanely good.
Beyond the sauce, this Magical Lentil Loaf has so much flavour in it from super healthful ingredients. Made from all simple and wholesome ingredients, this loaf is packed with nourishment!
Lentils are what replaces the meat that you'd have in meatloaf. But they are a wonderful addition because not only are they super easy to prepare but they are superfoods in their own right.
Health benefits of lentils
- Gut-friendly fibre: Lentils lead the pack in terms of how much fibre they contain. Half a cup of lentils has 7-8grams of fibre, that's more than spinach or kale. Fibre is essential for blood sugar balance and as nourishment for the microbiome. Eating high fibre-foods like lentils can reduce the risk for heart disease, reduce IBS symptoms and relieve constipation.
- Good source of folate and magnesium: Many North Americans are deficient in both these nutrients as people continue to eat the Standard American Diet full of processed foods, sugar, salt and bad fats. Folate, a B vitamin is heart-health-friendly as it helps to lower levels of homocysteine. This is important as it can damage artery walls and is considered a risk factor for heart disease. Magnesium is the master anti-stress mineral and it's nature's own calcium channel blocker. This means that when enough magnesium is present veins and arteries can breath more easily and studies show it reduces the risk of heart attacks.
- Boost of energy: Lentils being a source of both iron and blood sugar balancing fibre I just mentioned helps to maintain good energy levels. Iron is an essential component of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen from the lungs to all body cells and is integral in energy production and metabolism.
- Great source of plant-based protein: If you've read my recent post about choosing the best protein powder then you'll be happy to know that you can ditch the protein powder for the day if you plan on making this Magical Lentil Loaf because it is PACKED with protein. In fact, just half a cup of lentils is nearly 10 grams of protein.
- Gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free
- Plant-based / vegan
- Rich in gut-friendly, and blood sugar balancing fibre
- Oozing with flavour and soul-satisfying
- Very easy to assemble
More on the egg-free part... You've likely noticed that I use eggs in most of my baked recipes. I know many of you do not eat eggs or have kiddies with allergies, which is why I decided to make this totally egg-free. The flax egg works perfectly to bind everything together.
I love how easy this recipe is to put together. Green lentils cook pretty quickly and easily, and then you just have to sautee some of the veggies. Toss it all into your blender or food processor and give it a whirl!
Then just spoon it into your loaf pan and flatten it with a spoon. Magic really!
Here is the recipe for my Magical Lentil Loaf just in time for Canadian Thanksgiving!
Mains & Sides
Magical Lentil Loaf
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- 1-1/2 cups dry green lentils
- 3-1/2 cups water
- 2 small onions, chopped
- 1 cup carrots, chopped
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup almond flour
- 2 tbsp tamari
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp ground flax
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 (5.5oz / 156mL) can tomato paste
- 4 tbsp real maple syrup
- 1/4 cup tamari
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Rinse lentils with water in a wire mesh strainer. In a large pot on the stove, bring lentils and 3 1/2 cups water to a soft boil and reduce temperature to low and cook lentils for 15-20 minutes until soft, but not mushy. Drain any excess water once finished cooking.
- In a large fry pan, heat olive oil to medium and add onions and 2 garlic cloves (reserve the other two for the final step). Sauté for 3 minutes. Add carrots and sauté for five more minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine flaxseeds and 1/4 cup water in a small bowl and let sit for 10 minutes to make a "flax egg".
- Transfer sautéed mixture and cooked lentils to a food processor or high power blender. Add the almond flour, tamari, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, dried Italian seasoning, sea salt, flax egg and remaining two garlic cloves to the food processor.
- Blend for 60 seconds until well combined. It should be a consistency that will hold together if you form a patty.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the glaze ingredients with a whisk until fully combined.
- Pour mixture into loaf pan and coat the top with some glaze. Bake for 30-40 minutes and remove from oven and coat with more glaze. You should have some left over for serving. Bake for 5 more minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before removing from the loaf pan.
- Pull out of the pan and slice into 2-inch thick slices. Serve with glaze.
- Store in the fridge for up to 1 week.
You could serve this alongside a big beautiful salad like my Juicy & Crunchy Kale Salad or my Roasted Cauliflower Salad - perfect for the season!
And then have my no bake pumpkin pie or pumpkin spice cake for dessert!
Whether you're celebrating Thanksgiving weekend in Canada or not, I hope this Magical Lentil Loaf brings magic to your lunch or dinner plate! I'm certain if you make this for dinner that you'll be looking forward to lunch the next day too with those yummy leftovers.