RECIPE: Lentil Loaf (Gluten Free & Vegan)

Listening to the news this morning the preliminary stats are in….It’s the 2nd day of Veganuary 2020 & sales of pork & beef are waaaay down as an estimated 800,000 people in the UK turn to a plant based diet.

Wowzas.

Now I am not vegan myself, (I have tried it & it didn’t suit me), but I do base my diet around plant foods & regularly consume meals that are naturally free from animal products. Like this delicious recipe right here.

I personally believe that this approach offers a wonderful middle ground, & from a nutritional perspective, an increase in these abundantly health promoting ingredients within our routines will always be of benefit.

So I do hope that you give this one a try, it’s easy to make, adaptable & far & away less expensive than making a meatloaf. A bit of a winner all round.

I entirely understand that a switch over to a new way of eating can be daunting & purchasing small quantities of nuts & seeds from supermarkets at first may be a good way to test what you like, but ongoing I would advise bulk buying from places like Buy Whole Foods Online (see this post about why here). I personally get all my dry ingredients from them as linked below.

  1. Place your lentils in a bowl, cover with cold water & add a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar. Leave to soak for at least 4-6 hours but preferably overnight. Drain, rinse well & simmer gently in a pan of fresh water (add just enough water to cover the lentils then top this up throughout the cooking time) until tender (~25-30 minutes).
  2. Meanwhile dice the fennel & onion, add to a sauté pan with 1/2 tablespoon avocado or coconut oil & gently sweat on a low heat for about 10 minutes until well softened. Then add the shredded cabbage + 2 tablespoons of water. Cover with a lid, turn up the heat & steam for 2 minutes. Remove the lid, turn the heat back down, add the thyme & oregano & let any extra fluid evaporate off.
  3. Once the lentils are cooked let them cool for 5-10 minutes. Line a loaf tin with baking parchment & preheat your oven to 190C.
  4. Add the vegetables to a food processor with the lentils & pulse a couple of times (we want some texture left).
  5. Then add the walnuts, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, salt, pepper, 3 tablespoons of tomato purée & roughly torn up parsley. Pulse until you have a roughly combined mix, again making sure that you retain texture within the mix. Fold through the cranberries.
  6. Spoon into the loaf tin, smooth the top & then spread over the remaining tomato purée in a layer.
  7. Bake for minutes until firm to the touch. Leave in the tin for 5-10 minutes then use the parchment to lift it out to cool on a rack. It’s easier to slice if you leave it to go cold but it can be served immediately too.
  8. It will last in the fridge for 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Serve warmed in the oven, crisped under a grill or just at room temperature.

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