Thursday, December 12, 2013

Adventures in Vegetarian Cooking: Lentil Loaf

I've been meaning to try this cranberry-orange lentil loaf for awhile now and decided to give it a whirl on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Here is what I did and what I would do differently:

I had most of the ingredients on hand, and subbed where I needed to.  I used my trusty super-pot to pressure cook the quinoa and the lentils.  I looked up how long to pressure cook lentils (9 minutes) but needed to double the time due to the amount of liquid the recipe called for (ended up taking 20 minutes to absorb).  I assume this was to make the lentils more mushy and "meatloaf" like, and it did work.

The recipe calls for you to sautee the carrots, celery and onions all at once.

I did this but wished I had started the onions in some olive oil earlier to carmelize them.  I heart carmelized onions but feel lukewarm about regular old onions, so this would have been an improvement.  Lukewarm is a big step up since up until recently I disliked regular onions and would only eat them carmelized.  I also don't really like celery so next time I would sub out something else or leave them out completely.

I used eggs instead of the chia seed mixture she uses in the vegan version.  I was smart enough to let the mixture cool completely before mixing the eggs in.  I learned this during the polenta crust disaster. If you add eggs to a hot mixture, they just scramble, which is not what you are looking for.

[I'm sparing you the picture of the mixture before it cooked - it did not look appetizing.]

I also used pecans instead of sunflower seeds and mixed regular salsa with fruit salsa.  We had some fruit salsa left over from our Gypsy Burritos but not enough to coat the pan completely.

It made a huge pan! We were eating this for a solid week. The first night I paired it with roasted brussel sprouts and left over mashed potatoes from Thanksgiving.

I liked it okay, and will probably make some variation of it again, but there was something missing. It needed more spices and I thought it too much on the sweet vs. savory side.  Between the orange juice, the cranberries, pecans, and the fruit salsa it was quite sweet.  While it is unlike me to say something is too sweet, I would stick to regular salsa next time.  I also might switch up the orange-cranberry combination and try something else.  What did the meat lover think?


He agreed it was okay.  Not off the "to make again" list but definitely won't appear on regular rotation in our house.


  1. Oooh lentil loaf--can be hit or miss! I don't know if you're actually looking for recipes, but this one has gotten raves at our house: (especially if you add an extra egg and use a bit more sauce)

    1. Ooh, thanks! I will bookmark that and try it (with the modifications you recommend). Will let you know how it turns out!