I went vegetarian in the early 90s, when vegetarian convenience food was hard to come by, and there were very few veg cookbooks available. I had a cookbook from Peta called The Compassionate Cook along with a subscription to Vegetarian Times, and together they helped me learn how to cook.
On holidays and special occasions, I always made a lentil loaf, which was a combination of a few different recipes I had come across, and I always had lots of vegan gravy to serve it with. Sometimes my relatives tried it, and since it was very similar to the meatloaves they were familiar with, they always enjoyed it.
Over the years, I’ve made the lentil loaf less and less, not because it wasn’t a good recipe, but rather because of the shear amount of easy-to-find vegan holiday foods available now, as well as the large number of cookbooks I’ve amassed. Recently, I asked Dennis what kind of meal I should make for Christmas, and he said “that lentil loaf you used to make.” At this point, I had almost forgotten about it, but fortunately, I still have the recipe.
Warm and hearty Lentil Loaf with Cashew Gravy is the ultimate in vegan comfort food. It’s perfect for Sunday dinner along with mashed potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts, and it’s also a great main-dish option for holiday meals.
- 1 cup green or brown lentils
- 1 cup brown rice
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- medium-sized onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- ¼ cup rolled oats
- ¼ cup cashews, chopped
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon crumbled sage
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Combine the lentils and rice in a large pot with the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it has begun to boil, lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and allow to cook until the water has been absorbed. This could take 45 minutes to an hour.
- While the lentils and rice are cooking, heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until it begins to brown. Add the garlic and carrots, and cook until the carrots are tender, 10-15 minutes.
- Be heat the over to 350° and lightly oil a loaf pan, or line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, mix together the cooked lentils and rice, the vegetables, and the rest of the ingredients. Mash a little as you, so the lentils lose their shape.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared loaf pan, and bake until firm and lightly browned on top, about 45 minutes.
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 3 tablespoons tamari or Bragg Liquid Aminos
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon gravy browner, optional
- Combine all of the ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor. Process until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add a little more water, a tablespoon at a time.
- Transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the mixture thickens and is heated throughout. If the gravy gets too thick, you can thin it with a little more vegetable stock or water.