Meatless Monday Lentil Loaf

Ahh, the New Year.  A time for restarting, redefining, and of course resolutions!  This is the time when most people declare that they are going to start eating healthier, exercising, and getting more sleep with less phone time.  But now that we’re nearly half-way through January already, that resolve tends to fade. 

Statistics show that by the 2nd week of January, nearly 25% of people have abandoned their New Year’s Resolutions.

Lentils are amazing little things. They’re high in fiber, complex carbs (the good kind of carb!), and are an excellent source of protein, making them a great gluten-free meat alternative.

Don’t become a statistic! Stay engaged and on track by trying new things and keeping your menu interesting! Among the many popular New Year’s diets, Meatless Mondays is super common. Years ago, I jumped on the bandwagon and tried making a Lentil Loaf. I failed miserably. I was unfamiliar with lentils at the time, and new at making vegetarian dishes. I’ve been determined to come up with a better way, so I have been working diligently on a new and improved lentil loaf recipe. And when I say diligently, I mean I have made 3 of these in the past 3 days. Diligently, I tell you! And eureka, I think I’ve finally done it!

Compared to white rice, quinoa has substantially fewer calories and carbs and about twice the amount of protein. A great addition to any dish!

One challenge of the lentil loaf is getting it to stick together. Most recipes call for rice as a binding agent, but one of my resolutions is to avoid pasta and other carb-heavy foods for a while, so I turned to my favorite rice alternative: quinoa. Does it do as great a job at binding? Honestly, no. But the health benefits alone are worth a little crumble, in my opinion. Plus, it tastes great. I tried various low- and no-carb ways of binding, including chia seed “gel,” cooking the lentils in more liquid and for longer, even in a water bath. The chia taste was off-putting and overall the consistency of all those loaves came out super mushy. I suppose I could have just kept on baking them, but who wants to bake dinner for 2+ hours? Not me!

So after all that, I’m sticking with my original recipe. It does not hold together like a true meatloaf, but the lentil, pepper, and onion taste and texture make up for that. My husband, daughter, and I could barely stop eating it. And without those bulky carbs, we weren’t stuffed. I hope you enjoy this new and improved lentil loaf recipe as much as we do!

Here’s to keeping up those resolutions!

Meatless Monday Lentil Loaf

  • 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed (I used tri-color lentils)
  • ½ cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 3 cups chicken broth, separated 1 & 2
  • ½ cup green pepper, diced
  • ½ cup red onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp BBQ sauce (see recipe below)
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 egg
  • dash salt & pepper
  • dash onion & garlic powders

Bring 2 cups of chicken broth to a boil and add lentils. In a separate pot, bring 1 cup chicken broth to a boil and add quinoa. Simmer both until tender, about 35-45 minutes. Reduce heat as liquid is absorbed and stir frequently to avoid scalding on the bottom of the pot. Lentils should be mostly soft and quinoa should not have any crunch left. If all liquid is gone before this happens, add a very small amount of water to continue cooking until you’ve reached the desired consistency.

While lentils and quinoa are cooking, dice your peppers and onions, then prepare your BBQ sauce.

BBQ Sauce

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp agave (or brown sugar)
  • dash salt & pepper
  • dash onion & garlic powders

Combine all ingredients together and wisk until smooth. Adjust to taste as needed. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Once cooked, combine lentils, quinoa, green pepper, red onion, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, egg, and seasonings in a large mixing bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the BBQ sauce. Mix thoroughly.

Pour into a loaf pan and top with enough BBQ sauce to create a thick layer. Any leftover BBQ sauce can be used for dipping later.

Bake at 350° for 60-70 minutes. Loaf should look firm, edges slightly browned, and toothpick should come out clean. Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes before slicing.

I served the lentil loaf on top of a bed of wilted arugula along with a side of my Sweet & Spicy Roasted Cauliflower. It was a hearty and satisfying meal, and I was able to stick to my New Year’s goals!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s