Lentil Loaf is a terrific main dish for holiday celebrations. Smother this vegan meatloaf with lots of cashew gravy for the ultimate comfort food dinner! This easy recipe is vegan and gluten-free.
Vegan Lentil Loaf
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.
How to Make Lentil Loaf
This recipe may look time consuming, but believe me when I say it's super easy to make. Most of it is hand's -off time.
- First you cook the rice and lentils in the vegetable stock until the water as been absorbed, about 45 minutes.
- While the rice and lentils are cooking, you can prepare the vegetables. Cook the onion in the oil until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
- Then you add add the carrots and garlic and cook them until they've softened, about 5 to 10 more minutes.
- Add the cashews to the pan and cook for another minute or two.
- When the rice and lentils are fully cooked, you place them in a bowl along with the cooked vegetables and the rest of the ingredients. Mix everything well, mashing a little as you go. Transfer the mixture to a loaf pan.
- Cook your lentil loaf in a 350° oven for 45 minutes.
- Allow your loaf to cool slightly before slicing and serving.
How to Make Cashew Gravy
This is the easiest gravy you'll ever make!
- First you blend all of the ingredients together in a blender. I use my Blendtec and it blends up in just seconds!
- Then you transfer the mixture to a pot and cook it, stirring often, until it thickens, between 5 and 10 minutes.
I like to use gravy browner when I make this recipe, but it's not necessary. Without it, your gravy will be off-white in color. If you're okay with white gravy, then don't worry about the browner.
When making this recipe, I use raw cashews, because they have a mild flavor. Roasted cashews will give your gravy a bit of a roasted taste, and they'll be more difficult to blend.
It’s best to soak your cashews in water for about 2 hours before using them in this recipe to help soften them and make them easier to blend. Some say that they don’t need to be soaked if you’re using a high-speed blender. I have a Blendtec, and I still like to soak for a bit so there are no little cashews pieces floating around in the dish.
Warm and hearty Lentil Loaf 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 diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 medium carrots diced
- ¼ cup cashews chopped
- ¼ cup rolled oats
- 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, about 45 minutes.
- 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, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and carrots, and cook until the carrots are tender, about 10 more minutes.
- Preheat your oven 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.
- 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 about 5 to 10 minutes. If the gravy gets too thick, you can thin it with a little more vegetable stock or water.
Serve Your Lentil Loaf with:
More Holiday Main Dish Recipes You Might Enjoy Include:
- Chickpea Pot Pie
- Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Tart
- Butternut Squash Lasagna
- Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms