Our good friends (J&A) are staying with us right now (they are in between houses). When J saw me making this recipe, he just shook his head. He is a meat and potatoes and junk food kinda guy. He doesn’t like anything remotely out of the ordinary or anything that is the least bit healthy. Just pizza. Candy bars. Steak. Burgers. Mountain Dew. You know, all the healthy stuff. Once, when he saw me pile a bunch of sprouts on my veggie burger, he called my sandwich “hairy.” And when we forced him to taste a batch of homemade vegan banana ice cream, he thought it was disgusting. I’m convinced there is no hope for him.
Now, A, on the other hand, is game for just about anything. Yesterday I made us each a wrap for lunch. I filled the wraps with a variety of leftovers in the fridge, including some leftover Lentil “Meat” Loaf. You would have thought I made her a gourmet lunch. I can never tell when she doesn’t like something cuz she’s always so gracious and says she loves it like ten times. She ate it, so that says something.
I found this recipe on a blog called Healthful Pursuit written by Leanne, a holistic nutritionist. The recipe was in a guest post written by Beth from Tasty Yummies. I was searching for a vegan, gluten-free “meat” loaf recipe. Hubs loves real meat loaf, so I was hoping to find a healthy alternative that he would like just as much. Unfortunately, he wasn’t overly impressed with it, but he did say, “I’m sure there are a lot of vegans out there who will love it.” (He still ate it and even had leftovers the next day.) Personally, I liked it. It’s very moist, holds its form, has some great flavors and best of all – it contains no meat, gluten, dairy, refined sugar, yeast or corn. It is no easy feat to come up with an alternative meat loaf recipe that contains NONE of those ingredients. Nicely done, Beth!
2 Tbsp. ground flax seeds
6 Tbsp. boiling water
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup mushrooms, diced
2 cups fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, roughly chopped
¾ cup spicy vegan BBQ sauce (I used Beth’s recipe.)
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups cooked green lentils, cooled and split into 1½ cups and ½ cup*
1 cup gluten-free rolled oats, divided in half*
½ cup almond flour
I used red lentils instead of green because that’s what I had on hand. In regards, to the oats – according to Beth, if you don’t eat grains of any kind, you could try to exclusively use almond flour (adding in more) instead of including the oats.
Unfortunately, the days are growing shorter. I started this recipe too late in the day to take step-by-step photos. I had to rush to make sure there would still be some natural light when it was complete.
Preheat the oven to 375°. Add the ground flax seeds to a small bowl, pour the boiling hot water over and stir to combine well. Set aside; allow it to thicken and cool.
Heat olive oil in large sauce pan over medium heat; add onion and garlic; sauté for 5-8 minutes, until onions are tender. Add in mushrooms and cook another 3-5 minutes, until tender. Add in thyme and spinach and cook until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. Add in ½ cup BBQ sauce; stir to combine and turn off the heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Process 1½ cups of the cooked lentils and ½ cup of the oats in a food processor until smooth (some whole bits may remain, that’s okay). Spoon the mixture into a large bowl, add in remaining lentils and oats, plus the flax “egg”, almond flour and sautéed vegetable mixture. Stir really well to combine. Use your hands to make sure it is mixed/mashed together well.
Line a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving a bit of paper hanging over the sides for easy removal after baking. Spoon mixture into pan, then press it in really well with your hands. Brush the remaining ¼ cup of BBQ sauce over the top.
Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes at 375°. Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes; pull loaf out of pan using the parchment paper “handles”. Allow it to cool an additional 5-10 minutes on a cooling rack. Slice and serve.