Lentil loaf can sound a little drab and uninspiring, but it does not need to be at all. Not just for vegetarians, if you play around with it to get a combination of flavors you like, this is a hearty dish that will satisfy everyone.
I decided to make a Moroccan loaf because the flavors work so well with the lentil base, providing just the right balance of exotic sweetness and fragrant spice. I love to travel, and conjuring up tastes of faraway lands is one way to enliven my kitchen on a cold, miserable night.
Morocco is an assault on the senses – the medinas and markets are a riot of colors, tastes, and smells, all colliding with each other. The food echoes this, with vibrant colors powered by an earthy rainbow of spices: turmeric, ginger, paprika, cinnamon, cumin, and pepper.
This simple lentil loaf recipe does take a bit of time and pre-planning, but once made, it is incredibly versatile and will keep for a while. It’s worth making in advance to get you through those busy weeknights when you just need to throw something together. You can even slice it and have it cold in a sandwich – perfect for lunchboxes.
This loaf is vegetarian, and if you use gluten-free oats, it is entirely gluten-free. I have used an egg to help it bind and to give it a nice top, but this can be omitted for vegans. If you want to have an easy vegan recipe for lentil loaf, you can remove this ingredient.
It is packed full of nutritious things, with protein from the lentils and flaxseed, and a delightful array of vegetables and fruit. You can serve it with a cup of Carrot Orange Juice – a perfect couple for a healthy breakfast. Here is how to make vegetarian lentil loaf with egg.
Moroccan Lentil Loaf
- 200 g lentils
- 100 g rolled oats I used gluten-free oats
- 1 onion
- 1 celery stick
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 carrot
- 1 bell pepper
- 1 baby sweet pepper
- 2 tbsp flaxseed
- 50 g dried apricots
- 30 g sultanas
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp tumeric paprika, cumin seeds, black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 200oC. Grease and line a loaf tin.
- Rinse the lentils and put in a pan with about a pint of water or vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 30 mins with a lid on. Stir occasionally. Drain the lentils and put into a bowl to cool.
- Dice the onion, garlic and celery and begin to saute in a frying pan with a little vegetable oil. Finely chop the peppers and carrot and add to the pan. Add the tumeric, paprika, cumin and pepper. Stir and saute until the vegetables have softened, then remove from the heat.
- Mix the flaxseed with about 2 tbsp of water and set to one side.
- Roughly chop the dried apricots and beat the egg.
- Use a food blender to puree about half of the lentils. This will help to stop the loaf falling apart.
- Combine everything in a large mixing bowl, adding the remaining spices, oats, sultanas, flaxseed and most of the egg at this stage – reserve a small amount of the egg for the top of the loaf.
- Spoon into the loaf tin and lightly brush the remaining egg over the top. Put into the oven and bake for about 45 mins, until browned.
- Leave to cool fully in the tin, then turn out carefully. It is a little delicate, but it should be firm enough once cool. Cut into slices and serve – it works well with mashed potatoes and gravy, or steamed vegetables and a dip, or any way you like!
– Lentil loaf pairs well with a variety of side dishes to create a balanced and satisfying meal. You can try to serve lentil loaf with mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables (carrots, brussel sprouts, or broccoli), steamed greens (sautéed spinach, kale, or Swiss chard), salad, sautéed mushrooms, herb-infused quinoa, or rice. Just feel free to mix and match these options to suit your personal preferences and create a well-rounded meal alongside your delicious lentil loaf.