Thursday, August 4, 2011

Favorite Dishes: Lentil Loaf

Today's favorite dish was actually one of my first attempts at vegetarian cooking. I love meatloaf (I mean with that name how could you not be appetized) and had enjoyed my mom's version of this, so I decided to give it a shot. I'm proud to say that I managed to top my mom's dish (a rarity for sure) with this surprisingly moist loaf.

Lentil Loaf
Adapted from Vegetarian and Vegetable Cooking by Christine Ingram
Servings: 6
Time: 150 minutes (inactive for 60)

1 cup red lentils
1 cup hazelnuts
1 cup walnuts
4 baby carrots
1/2 onion
4 oz baby bella mushrooms
1/4 cup butter
2 tsp curry powder
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp ground mustard
2 tbsp Kitchen Bouquet sauce
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp salt
2/3 cup water

  1. Soak the lentils in cold water for an hour and drain well. 
  2. Grind the nuts in a food processor until fine and set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375.
  4. Chop the veggies then process in the food processor until finely chopped.
  5. Sauté the veggies in butter for 5 minutes then add the curry powder and continue cooking for another minute. Let the mixture cool.
  6. In a large bowl, mix the lentils, nuts, veggies and remaining ingredients.
  7. Line a 2 lb loaf pan with waxed paper and pour the mixture into the pan. Press to spread it well.
  8. Bake for 60-75 minutes or until it starts to become firm. If the top starts to burn, you can cover it with a buttered sheet of wax paper.  Let stand for 10 minutes then serve. Make sure you remove it from the pan after 10 minutes or it will stick to the wax paper.

Unlike your usual meat loaf, I wouldn't recommend dousing this in ketchup to serve. Instead use gravy and add the usual sides of mashed potatoes and peas or corn.

I've been trying to make this taste a little more bold by adding fennel to the mix. Fennel pairs pretty well with nuts, so it seems like a natural fit. Unfortunately, the fennel has a tendency to be overpowered once baked, and I'm always too worried to put too much fennel.

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