This protein-filled, plant-based lentil & walnut loaf is hearty, delicious, and satisfying. Try making a double batch so you can freeze a loaf for later, feed the family, and have leftovers to crumble over salads or put in sandwiches for lunch throughout the week.
- 1 cup uncooked green lentils
- 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped and toasted
- 4 tbsp ground flax + 3/4 cup water
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1.5 cups diced onion
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 cup grated carrot
- 1 cup finely chopped mushrooms
- 1/3 cup peeled and grated sweet apple (use a firm variety)
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries or raisins
- 1/2 cup oat flour – or almond meal for even more protein
- 3/4 cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs
- 2 tsp fresh thyme (or 3/4 tsp dried thyme)
- salt & pepper, to taste (2 tsp sea salt )
- red pepper flakes, to taste
Balsamic Apple Glaze:
- 1/4 cup ketchup (replace with 3 tbsp tomato paste, 1/2 tsp salt, and an extra tbsp of balsamic vinegar if avoiding processed sugar)
- 4 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 325F. Walnuts: Toast walnuts at 325F for about 8-10 minutes. Set aside. Increase oven temp to 350F.
2. Lentils: Rinse and strain lentils. A rice cooker makes cooking lentils very easy. But if you don’t have one, place the lentils and 3 cups of liquid in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium/low and simmer, uncovered, for at least 40-45 minutes. Stir frequently and add a touch of water if needed. The goal is to over-cook the lentils slightly so you can easily mash them with a spoon.
3. Flax: Whisk ground flax with water in a small bowl and set aside.
4. Veggies: Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sautee the garlic and onion for about 5 minutes. Season with salt. Add in the chopped mushrooms, diced celery, shredded carrot and apple, and raisins. Sautee for about 5 minutes more, then remove from heat.
5. Glaze: Whisk the ingredients together and set aside.
6. Mix: In a large mixing bowl, carefully mix together the mashed lentils, flax mixture, veggies, and dry ingredients. Adjust seasonings to taste.
7. Loaf Pan: Grease a loaf pan and line with parchment paper that sticks out far enough for you to be able to pull the loaf out easily. Press the mixture firmly and evenly into the loaf pan, compressing as much as you can. Spread half of the glaze on top of the loaf, and reserve the rest for a dipping sauce.
8. Bake: at 350F for 40-50 minutes, uncovered. Edges will be lightly brown. Cool in pan for at least 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack, and cool for another 30 minutes. If the loaf is sliced while warm, it may crumble slightly, but it holds together well when fully cooled.