Vegan Red Lentil & Nut Loaf

Method

Ideally soak the lentils for a few hours or even overnight. This isn’t totally necessary but will shorten cooking time.

Finely chop the shallots, leeks and mushrooms.

Put the mushrooms into a cold pan and dry-sauté over a medium to high heat until browning a little.  If any liquid comes out of the mushrooms tip it into a jug or bowl and reserve for later.

Remove the mushrooms from the pan and then put the chopped shallots and leeks in with 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil. 

Gently sauté over a low-medium heat, stirring regularly until cooked (slightly translucent). 

Remove from heat. You do not want them to colour.

Rinse the red lentils several times. The most thorough way to do this is to fully cover them in water, swirl the lentils around and tip out the excess water.  Small flecks of chaff are common and will tip out easily.  Repeat until the water runs clear.

Add the lentils to the shallots and leek and cover with water to 3-5cm above the level of the lentils. Turn up the heat to a boil then back to a simmer.

Add the mushrooms and any reserved liquid, miso, mixed herbs, soy and nutritional yeast and stir to mix through.

Leave to simmer for at least twenty minutes (up to 40 minutes if no pre-soaking).

Preheat the oven to 180C fan

Put the nuts and seeds into a food processor and blend until a mix of powder and some larger pieces. Ideally leave a few pistachios out of the food processor – they look good whole or in larger pieces within the loaf. 

Tip onto a baking tray and toast in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Do not burn.

If you are making your own breadcrumbs do this now.

Once the lentils are soft tip the contents of the pan into a sieve above another bowl (depending on the size of your sieve you may need to do this in batches).

Transfer the now-drier lentil mix to a mixing bowl. Reserve the liquid.

Finely chop the parsley.

Take four tablespoons of the reserved liquid and mix with four tablespoons of ground flaxseed. Stir this through the lentil mixture.  

Add in the toasted and ground nuts and seeds, the breadcrumbs and the chopped parsley.  Season with salt and black pepper (½ - 1tsp of each). Stir until thoroughly mixed.

Grease and line a large loaf tin with parchment paper (lining is optional and will depend on your pan).

Place the 5-7 walnuts in a row along the centre long line of the pan.

Tip the mixture into the tin and press down until the tin is full and the surface is level.  It will completely fill the pan to the top. 

Cover with foil.

Bake in the oven for 1 hour at 180C. Remove the foil and bake for another 30-40 minutes.

Tip onto a long plate.

Serve with vegan gravy, a tahini lemon dressing (tahini, water, lemon juice and salt, vigorously shaken or blended) and/or a tomato based sauce.

Ingredients

Prep time: 35 mins

Cook time: 1 hour 30 mins

Serves: 4

  • 300g red lentils

  • 5 shallots

  • 1 leek

  • 300g mushrooms

  • Olive oil

  • 1 ½tbsp miso

  • 1 ½tbsp soy

  • 1 ½tbsp nutritional yeast

  • ½ - 1tsp salt

  • 2tsp mixed dried herbs

  • 3tbsp ground flaxseed

  • 70g breadcrumbs (I made my own with a mixed seed sourdough loaf)

  • 300g mixed nuts (I used cashews, walnuts, almonds, some hazelnuts, and pistachios) and sunflower seeds)

  • 5-7 whole walnuts

  • Small handful of fresh parsley