As we ate this and I was so surprised at how delicious it was, our daughter laughed and said, “What did you expect, of course it would be bad, you were making it. pause. Of course it was going to be good!” Now, you have to realize how amazing this is – growing up the girls pretty much lived on Zatarains and dreaded when I would “cook.” They still tell war stories about some of the big failures.
The change came really came about 8 years ago when I had a slow time with my business and dove into my garden and cooking for real. They started looking forward to coming home for dinner. They now tease my 7 year old that he never had to eat “bad” food (I even made just about all of his baby food).
To me, this loaf was still a shot in the dark because it was not my recipe and I have always had mixed experiences with vegetarian loafs. But this was a big hit, we all loved it, so its a keeper! (but next time I will use a narrower loaf pan, it will look prettier)
It was very reminiscent of a good meatloaf. Even the texture working with it felt like meat.
And the glaze added a nice interest and even extra flavor to an already flavorful loaf.
Lentil Loaf with Maple Balsamic Glaze
very slightly adapted from Eating Bird Food‘s Lentil Loaf with a Maple Sweetened Glaze
½ cup dry brown (green) lentils
1⅓ cup water
1 bay leaf
1 Tablespoon olive oil
½ large onion (about 1 heaping cup), chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
½ cup chopped walnuts
1 cup rolled oats
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
2 Tablespoons ground flaxseed
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup (local)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon dried thyme (from the garden)
1 teaspoon dried oregano (from the garden)
1 teaspoon dried basil (from the garden)
8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
¼ teaspoon sea salt
In the meantime toast walnuts by spreading them onto a baking sheet and toasting in the oven for about 5 – 8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
In a medium pan, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onions, garlic, carrots and celery until they’ve softened and become fragrant. About 5-10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Add lentils (reserve ½ cup for later), cooked veggies, toasted walnuts, oats, soy sauce, tomato paste, ground flaxseed, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, thyme, oregano, basil, cayenne pepper, ground pepper and sea salt to the food processor.
Pulse until mixture is just combined and the texture is to your liking. You want the mixture to be combined enough to stick together, but you don’t want it to be completely pulverized. It should look and feel like ground beef texture.
Stir in the reserved lentils
Press mixture into parchment lined loaf pan.
In a small bowl stir together glaze ingredients.
Spread the glaze over top of the loaf.
Bake covered with foil for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for about 8 more minutes. Let the loaf rest 15 minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy!