01 November 2013

Make it at Home: Lentil Loaf

I appreciate a great restaurant, but I'm cheap and like eating in my pajamas, so I always want to steal my favorite recipes and make them at home. This Grinch-like spirit has inspired a series of "Make it at Home" posts, starting with this one, in which I attempt to copy some of my favorite restaurant dishes so that I won't have to change into respectable clothes.

A good lentil loaf used to be hard to find, but vegetarian cafes like Chicago Diner and Sweet Melissa's in Laramie, WY have figured it out. This is a simple, lightened up version of the old 1970s brick that turned so many of us off of vegetarian eating in the first place, and it's just as homey and comforting as a greasy meatloaf made with low-grade meat and filler, without having to ingest cartilage.

Hearty Lentil Loaf

Serves 6

1 1/2 cups lentils
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth or water
2 onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups cooked rice (I like jasmine)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup barbecue sauce or ketchup
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large soup or stock pot, simmer the lentils in water or vegetable broth until cooked, about 30 minutes. Drain thoroughly then mash the lentils until they are half mashed.

Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft. Combine the onions, garlic and olive oil with the mashed lentils and add the rice, salt, ketchup or barbecue sauce, sage, and Italian seasoning.

Gently press the mixture into a lightly greased loaf pan. Drizzle a bit of extra ketchup on top if desired.  Bake for 1 hour. Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.

Goes great with horseradish mashed potatoes (just mash some potatoes with garlic, olive oil, and horseradish.).