Vegetarians and carnivores will unite over this loaf. Cranberries provide an unexpected pop of sweetness, while cooking the lentils in broth instead of water adds another layer of flavour. Liquid smoke, a condensed smoke in water and not an artificial flavour, is a way to infuse meat-free loaves with hot-off-the-grill smoky flavour.
To make it vegan, replace eggs with 2 Tbsp (30 mL) ground flax or ground chia mixed with 6 Tbsp (90 mL) water. Let mixture stand for 15 minutes before mixing into loaf batter. Try topping with Chili BBQ Sauce (see below) or your favourite store-bought version.
⦁ 1 cup (250 mL) green or brown lentils
⦁ 3 cups (750 mL) low-sodium vegetable broth
⦁ 2 tsp (10 mL) grapeseed oil or camelina oil
⦁ 1 small yellow onion, diced
⦁ 8 oz (225 g) cremini mushrooms, diced
⦁ 2 garlic cloves, minced
⦁ 1 cup (250 mL) rolled oats
⦁ 2 large free-range eggs
⦁ 2 Tbsp (30 mL) unsalted tomato paste
⦁ 2 tsp (10 mL) dried thyme
⦁ 1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin
⦁ 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
⦁ 1/4 tsp (1 mL) black pepper
⦁ 1/2 tsp (2 mL) liquid smoke (optional)
⦁ 1 cup (250 mL) grated carrot
⦁ 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped walnuts
⦁ 1/2 cup (125 mL) dried cranberries
Rinse lentils and then combine them with vegetable broth in medium-sized saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until tender. Drain any excess liquid and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C) and grease 9 x 5 in (23 x 13 cm) loaf pan.
Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic; heat until mushrooms have softened.
Place oats in food processor container and pulverize into coarse powder. Blend in 2 cups (500 mL) cooked lentils, eggs, tomato paste, thyme, cumin, salt, pepper, and liquid smoke (if using) into a coarse mixture. Place in large bowl and stir in remaining lentils, onion mixture, carrot, walnuts, cranberries, and mushrooms.
Place mixture in loaf pan and press down firmly into an even layer. Bake for 40 minutes, or until set in the middle and darkened around the edges. Let cool for several minutes before slicing.
Each serving contains: 328 calories; 15 g protein; 11 g total fat (2 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 44 g total carbohydrates (11 g sugars, 7 g fibre); 265 mg sodium
Top it Off...
Chili BBQ Sauce
Soak 1 dried ancho chili pepper in hot water for 15 minutes. Slice off stem, discard most of the seeds, and blend with 1/2 cup (125 mL) tomato sauce, 1 Tbsp (15 mL) tomato paste, 2 shallots, 2 garlic cloves, 2 Tbsp (30 mL) cider vinegar, 1 Tbsp (15 mL) molasses, 1 Tbsp (15 mL) Worcestershire sauce (vegan if desired), 1/2 tsp (2 mL) cumin, 1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground allspice, and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and black pepper until smooth. Brush some on top of loaf before cooking and serve additional sauce with loaf slices.