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The Ultimate Lentil Loaf

lentil loaf recipe

Puberty's fine. 


But I really went full adult the day I started cooking with bay leaves. 

And presenting my savory creation as a MAIN at my family's thanksgiving? Amidst grandparents, a 20-lb turkey & my Aunt Liz's famous holiday rolls?


Adult I felt.

There's something nice about going into a family holiday knowing that even if meat's not your thing, you still have a hearty hunk of protein to slice up, smother in mashed potatoes & prefunk your pie-coma with. 

The goal of this flavor-bomb is just that.

Sweet, salty, herbacious & everything in between. So you can get to carving on a saucy slab of savor while honoring your health (and racking up some serious adulting kudos) too.

Prep time: 20 miN

cook time: 35 min

Total time: 55 MIN 

Makes 8 slices


For the Lentil Loaf Base

  • 1/2 cup dry brown or black lentils

  • 1 1/3 cup water

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped

  • 5 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 stalks celery, chopped

  • 1 carrot, peeled & chopped

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

  • 1 cup rolled oats (gluten-free if desired)

  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari)

  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste

  • 2 Tbsp ground flax

  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

  • 2 tsp maple syrup

  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme

  • 1 tsp dried oregano

  • 1 tsp dried basil

  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the Sweet & Savory Maple Glaze

  • 1/4 cup tomato paste

  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup

  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

  • Pinch of sea salt

lentil loaf recipe


Begin by pre-heating the oven to 375 degrees F. 

Rinse the dry lentils before adding to a pot with the water and bay leaves. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce and let simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils are cooked and tender. Remove the bay leaf (discard of it) and set the lentils aside.

Meanwhile, spread the raw walnuts on a baking sheet & toast them in the oven for about 8 minutes, or until toasty & fragrant. Remove and let cool. 

Heat a pan over medium heat on the stovetop & add in the olive oil, onion, garlic, carrots & celery. Saute until the veggies are tender, about 7-10 minutes. 

To a large food processor, add in 1/2 the cooked lentils (saving the other half for later), the cooked veggies, toasted walnuts, and the remainder of ingredients for the loaf base. Process together until the mixture is sticky but not fully uniform in texture. You still want to be able to recognize some of the ingredients in the loaf.

Stir in the rest of the lentils and press the mixture into a standard size loaf-pan. I used a 9"x 5"x 2.5" one.

Before baking, mix together the ingredients for the maple glaze & spread on top of the loaf. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Then remove the foil & continue to bake for about 8 more minutes. 

Remove from oven and cool for 10-15 minutes before slicing & serving warm.

lentil loaf recipe
lentil loaf recipe

This dish pairs beautifully with mashed potatoes and a side salad, or simply some roasted veggies & warm bread. 

My favorite way to eat this dish is in place of turkey or roasted chicken at family holidays. It's savory, packed with protein, & the perfect addition to any festive winter spread.

If not devoured completely, feel free to store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for a few weeks. 


lentil loaf recipe

For more disease-fighting & drool-worthy 

meal ideas, check out my other plant-powered recipes here:  

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