Always on the list of America’s top comfort foods, meat loaf was on our table a lot when I was a kid. It was inexpensive and my father loved it. Us kids, not so much. This version uses lentils to provide the hearty texture you seek in meat loaf, but without the drawbacks that come with eating meat.
Makes 6-8 servings
1 cup brown or green lentils, sorted, rinsed well
3 cups spring or filtered water
1 bay leaf
1 small red onion, finely diced
2 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
1 small carrot, finely diced
1 cup quick oats
¾ cup grated vegan mozzarella substitute
¼ cup whole wheat bread crumbs
5 ounces tomato sauce
1 tablespoon barley malt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Cracked black pepper
Place lentils, water, bay leaf, onion and garlic in a sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until lentils are soft, about 35-40 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf and drain away any remaining cooking liquid. Transfer lentil mixture to a mixing bowl.
Preheat oven to 350o and lightly oil a standard loaf pan.
Stir carrot, oats, mozzarella and bread crumbs into cooked lentils. Whisk together tomato sauce, barley malt, basil, oregano, salt and pepper to taste and fold into lentil mixture.
Spoon lentil mixture into prepared loaf pan and press the top firmly with a spatula. Bake 35-45 minutes, until the top of the loaf is firm and beginning to brown. Remove from oven and cool for about 10 minutes before inverting loaf onto a platter.