It seems everything is pumpkin-this, spice-that as of late, doesn’t it? Soon enough it’ll be gingerbread this, candy cane-coated that. I’m not entirely mad about it, but I thought it might be time to switch things up with none other than a Veggie Lentil Loaf! In all honesty, loafs used to freak me out – meat loafs that is. There didn’t seem to be too much appeal in condensed meat in the style of a loaf. Who’s with me? That all seemed to change when I first dove into my first Veggie Lentil Loaf.
All that to say, this recipe is killer awesome! It’s not often that I can meal prep a dish and eat it day in, day out for 5 days straight. I would totally fail at being one of those fitness-buff girls who portion out all of their food into tupperware containers and eat chicken, rice and broccoli for weeks straight (but seriously – kudos to you gals!)
Something I hear a lot is that healthy eating is too expensive. Sure, when you’re buying everything from your vegetables to your underwear organic, alongside all of the superfoods, grass-fed meats and organic free-range eggs – things are going to add up really fast. My motto is more on the simple side: health is a journey – take it one step at a time. What does this mean?
– Choose one thing to become awesome at.
– Master it.
– Choose another new thing to become awesome at.
– Never stop.
What this might look like is only buying one serving of fish or grass-fed meat for the week and resorting to plant-based proteins for the remainder of the week such as lentils, black beans, cashews, almonds and chickpeas to keep costs down but your grocery cart hormone, pesticide and antibiotic-free. It might mean switching your canola oil for coconut oil when it comes to high-heat cooking, or using the Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen as your guide for shopping organic. Moral of the story, it doesn’t have to happen all at once.
Lentils are one way I manage to keep my grocery bill on the lower side, while working an ample amount of protein and fibre into my diet. Since it’s so high in soluble fibre, it can also help to lower cholesterol naturally and stabilize blood sugar (helpful for those who are diabetic, insulin resistant or hypoglycaemic). I prefer to buy them dried in bulk to keep the costs even lower, but you can resort to BPA-free canned lentils as well (which is actually what I used in this recipe). While you might not believe me, this recipe wasn’t as toot-inducing (yup, I said toot) as you might expect. If you tend to suffer from said toots when you start toying with legumes in your diet, you might want to try soaking them overnight to reduce the amount of oligosaccharide content (which is what tends to cause the digestive upset/bloating). Alternatively, you can add kombu (a type of seaweed) to the water when you’re cooking legumes which helps with the digestibility (a fun little fact I scooped up at a cooking class!)
Veggie Lentil Loaf
- 2 cans BPA-free lentils
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 1 cup mushrooms, diced
- 3 tbsp ground flaxseed
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 onion, diced
- 1/2 can corned, drained
- 6 basil leaves
- 2 tsp chilli powder
- 1 cup gluten-free oats
- 3 tbsp gluten-free barbecue sauce (Simply Natural’s Tangy Organic Barbecue Sauce)
- 1 tbsp grape seed oil
- 1 tbsp coconut oil (for greasing)
- Open cans of lentils and transfer to a wire mesh sieve. Rinse under filtered water and set aside. If you choose to use dried lentils, be sure to rinse them first then boil and cook them until the lentils have absorbed all the water.
- Whisk together flaxseed and 1/3 cup water in a small bowl. Set aside in the refrigerator.
- Preheat medium sized skillet with grape seed oil. Add onion and garlic and cook until they are translucent or aromatic. Add celery, mushrooms, basil, corn and chilli powder. Sauté for about ~5-7 minutes until veggies are soft.
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Pulse oats in a food processor until it reaches the consistency of flour. Add half of the lentils to the flour and pulse until it reaches the consistency of a paste.
- Transfer all contents to a large bowl and add the remaining lentils, sautéed vegetables and the flaxseed mixture. The mixture should be more sticky now.
- Grease sides of a loaf pan with coconut oil. Scoop the mixture into the loaf pan, ensuring that it’s pressed in firmly and filled in all corners.
- Place pan into oven and bake for 40 minutes. At the 20 minute mark, remove the loaf pan and apply the barbecue sauce to the top (if you put this on too early, the sugars in the sauce will cause it to burn).
- After the 40 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and allow loaf to cook for ~20 minutes before serving.
Tell me about your first meat loaf making (or eating) experience!