You’ll find all the flavors you yearn for during the holidays with this easy Lentil Loaf recipe. It’s made with stuffing flavors and fresh cranberries on top. It has a crispy crust and flavorful cranberry topping that will leave you begging for more. Serve this for your vegan holiday meal or any time of year.
I’ve been working on this lentil meatloaf for quite some time because I wanted to share a perfect main dish kind of recipe for all those people who don’t like Tofurkey or Field Roast for their holiday dinner.
I mean, we like those products, but it’s nice to have a change of pace. Besides, this vegan lentil loaf is so dang beautiful!
Look at those cranberries.
It’s almost like an upside-down cake…except it’s a lentil veggie loaf recipe. Same idea. Right?
Well, however you slice it, this lentil loaf recipe is perfect for your vegan Thanksgiving menu. And maybe Christmas too. And we share our holiday dinner with all kinds of eaters (vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores), so I’m looking forward to everyone trying it.
How To Make Vegan Lentil Loaf
First of all, it helps if you have some lentils.
Anyway, it also helps if you have a large loaf pan. I love combining steps to make a more efficient cooking process, so I use the same saucepan 3 times. Of course, you might be able to make this recipe a little faster if you used more than one pan, but then there’s the cleanup.
I don’t even clean out that saucepan between steps, so there’s that. First things first, you’ll cook the lentils and the quinoa together. Then sauté the onions and celery. Then cook the cranberries in a sweet sauce. The rest is just so easy. You will pour the cranberries into the bottom of your loaf pan.
In the bowl, you’ll combine the lentils, celery and onions, and some stuffing mix. I add some more seasonings too, for added flavor. I also use a food processor to pulse together several cups of the mixture and then stir that back into the loaf. That creates a good binder to hold your lentil loaf together.
Nobody wants a crumbly vegan lentil meatloaf recipe!
Then bake that for about an hour and you will love the outcome.
Lentils are friendly — the Miss Congeniality of the bean world.Laurie Colwin
Let’s Have Some Fun
Do you want to know what one of my favorite things to do is? Well, there’s a lot, but I really love changing up recipes. I even change up my own recipes. In fact, sometimes Shawn has to ask me if he wants the exact same cookies as last time. How boring. 🙂
So, I love sharing with you some ideas for changing up recipes, so you can make this recipe all your own! Because we all have different tastes and preferences. So, here are some ideas for mixing up this Holiday Lentil Loaf:
- You could add a clove of garlic to the food processor step
- You could definitely add some mashed sweet potatoes to the mix
- I’ve been experimenting with Beet Pulses to add a little pink to my veggie burgers and so adding a little mashed beet would work nicely here, for color
- Increase the number of cranberries to the topping
- Better yet, make a double batch of cranberry topping and serve some on the side, almost like a gravy
- You could use a gluten-free stuffing mix to make this recipe gluten-free
- How about adding some chopped walnuts for added nutrition and tastiness
- Speaking of flavor, you could add some mushrooms to the mix as well
Of course, you can also try my vegan meatloaf recipe. It’s got different ingredients, but it’s equally as delicious.
Vegan Holiday Lentil Loaf with Stuffing and Cranberries
- 1 cup Lentils
- ½ cup Quinoa
- 4 cups Water
- 1 cup Fresh Cranberries
- 1 teaspoon Orange Zest
- 3 tablespoons Agave Nectar
- ½ cup Onions, chopped
- ½ cup Celery, chopped
- 4 ½ cups Cornbread Stuffing Mix (See notes)
- ¼ cup Beet Puree , Optional
- 1 tablespoon Ground Flax Meal
- 1 teaspoon Ground Sage
- 1 tablespoon Nutritional Yeast Flakes
- ¼ cup Olive Oil
- 2 to 3 cups Vegetable Broth
- Note: This recipe uses the same saucepan 3 times. No need to wash between each use.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the lentils, quinoa, and water. Bring the contents to a boil and then place a lid on the pan and reduce heat to simmer. Cook this for about 30 to 35 minutes, until all the lentils are tender and the water has been absorbed.
- Once the lentil/quinoa mixture is done, pour it into a mixing bowl.
- Next, in the same saucepan, add the cranberries, orange zest, and agave nectar. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes. You'll hear some of the cranberries pop. The goal is to soften the cranberries.
- Spray the bottom and sides of a large loaf pan with vegetable spray. Then pour the cranberry mixture into the loaf pan, spreading them equally across the pan.
- Heat your oven to 350°F/175°C.
- Using the same saucepan, spray with vegetable spray (or add a drizzle of olive oil) and the chopped onions and celery. Cook over medium heat until the onions and celery are tender. Pour into the same bowl as the lentil/quinoa mixture.
- Pour the stuffing mix in and beet puree (if using) with the lentil/quinoa mixture and stir until combined.
- Spoon about 3 cups of this mixture into a food processor and add ground flax seeds, ground sage, nutritional yeast flakes, and olive oil. Pulse until combined. Add vegetable broth, one cup at a time, pulsing in between additions.
- Pour the mixture from the food processor into the mixing bowl and stir it into the mixture. Add more vegetable broth and stir until you get a consistency that is soft and spreadable. This should be a moist batter.
- Pour the lentil loaf batter into the loaf pan, then use a spoon or your hands to mash the contents down, so it's compressed together.
- Place in the heated oven and bake for 50 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto your serving dish. If some of the cranberries remain in the bottom of the pan, use a fork or tongs to grab them and place them back on the loaf.
- Serve warm. Refrigerate up to a week. Freeze for up to a month.
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The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.