Lentil Loaf

I had originally planned to make dolsot bibimbap tonight, but around 7 when I started thinking about dinner, I suddenly decided I was going to make a lentil loaf instead. Which was sort of a weird thing to think considering I’ve never made lentil loaf before. I’ve made a few different vegan “meat” loaves, but I don’t think any of them were predominately lentils. Which might explain why none of them stand out in my mind; if I’d used lentils I’d probably have liked them more. (If you haven’t noticed, I love lentils.) The loaf that transpired was not perfect – after an hour of baking and some time resting it was still slightly too moist – however, it tasted perfect. I’ll definitely make it again, maybe cutting back on the liquid slightly or baking it in a hotter oven, though the seasonings were spot on so there’s no need to mess with them. It went over very well with Mark as well.

Lentil Loaf

1 1/2 cups brown/green lentils
1/2 cup bulgur
4 cups vegan “beef” broth
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, small dice
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 whole wheat hot dog bun or 2-3 slices whole wheat bread
2-3 Tbsp brown sauce (like HP, or try Worcestershire sauce if you can’t find HP sauce)
2 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
salt to taste
1/4 cup ketchup

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place the lentils, bulgur, and broth in a pot and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for half an hour or until liquid is absorbed and lentils and bulgur are cooked.

Meanwhile, saute the onions and carrots in a skillet.

When the onions are translucent, add the garlic and continue to saute another 3 minutes or so.

Place the hot dog bun (I told you the other day I had some left over!) in a food processor …

… and process until crumbs.

Place everything but the ketchup into the pot with the lentils and bulgur …

… and stir well to combine. It should become mushy.

Place in a greased loaf pan – you may need to use two. I made more than I had really intended to and my glass loaf pan wasn’t big enough. I also put too much in it: it expands a bit in the oven and even before that happened, I could barely get the lid on. Leave a little room at the top; don’t do as depicted in this picture!

My mom’ s meatloaf had a ketchup topping, so it seems essential to me. Squirt some ketchup on top …

… then smear it around to cover the loaf evenly.

Here’s the small dish I put the excess into. I should have evenly divided it into two of the larger pans (and I even have two).

Cover the pan, either with a lid or aluminum foil, and bake for an hour. Here you can see what happens when you overfill your pan. This was actually taken after only about 10 minutes, when I realized I’d better put a cookie sheet under it to catch the mess. Boy is this going to be fun to clean. (It’s soaking now.)

Remove the lid or foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes. When I removed the lid from the big pan, I took the top layer of the loaf off with it because the ketchup had cooked onto the lid. That was disheartening, however, after returning it to the oven with a fresh layer of ketchup, I tasted what was stuck on the lid and it was awesome. Mark appeared on the scene just then and as he’s notorious for grabbing bites of whatever I’m working on, regardless of its stage of completion, he immediately scraped a bite of the lid as well. Then he said it was awesome. Between the two of us, we ate everything that was stuck to the lid while waiting for the loaves to finish baking.

Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

I wanted to serve it with gravy. Ordinarily I make gravy by making a roux and slowly whisking in “beef” broth and maybe some seasonings. However since I used “beef” broth in the loaf I scouted out some alternate recipes and found this one on All Recipes that is really good. I used Earth Balance for the butter, obviously, and I used a little less than it calls for, which you can get away with because you’re not making a roux: it’s thickened by the cornstarch, so the butter is mostly for flavor…and I don’t need that much butter flavor! I also added a little Kitchen Bouquet just to darken the colour. Kitchen Bouquet adds some flavor – a good one – but the gravy didn’t need it: it was good on its own. In fact, I like the gravy so much, and it was so easy, I’ll probably just use that recipe from now on.

As it turns out, however, the gravy was totally unnecessary because the loaf was very moist. A little too moist, in fact. It simply never dried out in the heat of the oven. So next time I either need to bake it longer or bake it hotter, or add more bread crumbs or do something a little different. Despite this it tasted great and the mushiness wasn’t that big a deal.

Here is the meal plated (on a new-to-me Fire King plate):

Mark, who is afraid of undercooked things, was a little afraid of it when serving himself, even though he already knew it was going to taste great. However, after eating his first serving, he disappeared into the the kitchen and returned with a sandwich containing a second serving. So even mushy this was a winner!


  1. Jennifer Said,

    August 9, 2009 @ 2:20 am

    This lentil loaf looks satisfyingly delicious. YUMMERS!

  2. Jain Said,

    August 9, 2009 @ 7:04 am

    I’ve wanted to try lentil loaf for a long time. This looks like a good one and I’ll make it soon.

    My current recipe uses Gimme Lean burger and sausage. I had the same trouble with a too-moist loaf. I switched to a shallower dish (7×10″), so the loaf isn’t as deep and it’s much firmer. I also leave the lid off for longer than recommended.

    Horseradish mixed with the ketchup topping is awesome.

    Love the Fire King plate!

  3. trinity Said,

    August 9, 2009 @ 12:04 pm

    looks delicious! i’ve made my fair share of veggie loafs, but using lentils is brilliant. i love your blog, thanks for posting!

  4. Courtney Said,

    August 9, 2009 @ 3:33 pm

    Oh my goodness…I *LOVE* lentils, and I have been looking for a good vegan “meat loaf” for years and years. If this works, you will be my new hero! I cannot wait to try it–thank you!


  5. Jes Said,

    August 11, 2009 @ 10:10 am

    Those baking dishes are so darn cute! And I have a carp ton of lentils to use up, perfect!

  6. Krys Said,

    August 11, 2009 @ 5:03 pm

    This looks terrific. I am definitely going t o make this. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Josiane Said,

    August 11, 2009 @ 9:39 pm

    Your lentil loaf sounds great, and it’s been way too long since I last made a vegan loaf, so I’m thinking this will end up on my table sometime soon! Thanks once again for the inspiration!

  8. NITA Said,

    August 19, 2009 @ 2:20 pm

    I just finished going through your entire blog and I absolutely LOVE IT!
    I am a wanna be vegan at the moment and have struggled to find manageable recipes but now I have your blog for the solution. I love how you DISPLAY what you use. That is so helpful, because I get a chance to actually see what these products are. I live in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia and we do not have diverse grocery markets like Wholefoods or Wegmans. We JUST got a Trader Joes down here and people are so estactic but they just don’t realize how much better the products could be if we had a local Whole Foods! I have been looking for items like Teese or Cheezly, Soy Curls, all kinds of stuff and this area is still so late when it comes to vegans. I almost cried when you mentioned how you went to your local WF and they had takeout vegan Chicken General Tsao, OMG!!! Any, you have an amazing blog, the best I have seen besides Vegan Dad but I must peg yours as the #1. Please keep up the work because I know you do not have to maintain this blog but people like myself greatly appreciate your time and effort that goes into your cooking and blog.

  9. renae Said,

    August 19, 2009 @ 3:33 pm

    NITA, thanks so much for your kind words! It’s nice to know that the time I spend taking photos and writing up the posts is well spent. I do feel sorry for you down there in Hampton Roads with few good grocery stores, however, you should know that I can’t actually get the three ingredients you mention up here in Northern VA either! I order all three of these items from Pangea (or I drive up to Rockville, MD and pick them up to save on shipping, but that involves getting on the capital beltway, which is always bad news). I get shipments from Pangea the next day, and you should too in your location, so it’s generally okay to buy the cheese items that way. (In the middle of the winter, I don’t even bother with their cold packs.) It’s not cheap though, so I too am waiting for stores near me to stock these items!

  10. froggythefrog Said,

    March 10, 2010 @ 11:57 pm

    I was looking for a recipe using green lentils and bulgur, so I am using your recipe as a guide. Thanks so much for posting!

  11. Bretta Said,

    August 13, 2011 @ 5:05 pm

    My family and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this Lentil Loaf. High praise from a family of a newly vegan, vegan when he eats at home husband, a very carnivorous teenager, and a meat loving 5 year old. This recipe turned my super picky, super carnivorous teenager into a lentil lover!

    Thanks for the great recipe, this is the best “meat loaf” type recipe I’ve tried. It has a dense texture, holds together beautifully, and makes super “meat loaf” sandwiches for left overs.

  12. renae Said,

    August 14, 2011 @ 10:26 pm

    Bretta, thanks for letting me know how much you enjoyed the recipe! I’m glad your family is enjoying it!

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