Prepare the lentils as directed below or purchase them in the refridgerator section of your grocery store or canned and drained.
Chop the onion, carrot and celery. To save time, you can use the food processor for this step.
Add chopped veggies to a hot skillet thats been sprayed with olive oil or avocado oil (or use 1/2 tablespoon or olive oil). Saute veggies for 4 minutes to soften slightly.
Add tomato paste and 1/4 tsp. salt to veggies. Cook 1 more minute to cook out some of the tomato paste. Turn off heat.
Add 1/4 cup of walnuts to the food processor and process until the walnuts resemble flour.
To the food processor with the walnuts, add 2 cups lentils, the cooked veggies, the rest of the salt, dried ground sage and ground flax. Pulse until well combined and the lentils broken down some. Don't over mix or will start to become hummus.
Remove the lentil mixture from the food processor into a large bow. Add 1/4 cup walnuts chopped and the remaining 1 cup of lentils. Stir well to fully incorporate. If you notice the texture is dry, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until mixture comes together easily. This typically is not needed though.
Line a loaf pan with parchament paper for easy removal. Add the lentil loaf ingredients into the loaf pan and top with additional 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional).
Bake at 400F for 25 minutes.
After 25 minutes, remove from the oven and allow to cool at least 10 minutes before slicing.
Use cooked green or brown lentils - red lentils are too soft and mushy and will not create the texture you are looking for.
To save time, you can buy precooked lentils canned or steamed in the produce section of grocery store (Trader Joe's always has steamed lentils in the produce section). You can also make a large batch of lentils and freeze them in 1 cup servings to use later. To use frozen lentils, let them defrost at least 4 hours in the fridge before using them in this recipe.
Pulse the veggies, lentils, and walnuts together until well mashed but not pulverized.
Line the loaf pan with parchment paper to make it easy to remove.
Let the lentil loaf cool in the pan at least 10 minutes. This helps it set up and makes it easier to cut into slices.
How to cook lentilsYou will need 1 cup of dry lentils + 3 cups of water in a large pot with a tight fitting lid. Bring the lentils to a boil then turn the heat down to low. Cook 15 minutes covered on low heat.Let the lentils stand covered for 5-10 minutes to finish absorbing the liquid. If there is any leftover liquid in the pot, drain it out before using the lentils in this recipe.Why is my lentil loaf mushy?Lentil loaf can be mushy if the lentils were too wet. If you think your lentil loaf is too wet, you can add 1-2 tablespoons of oat flour or an extra tablespoon of ground flax.TIP: Sometimes canned lentils can have more moisture than lentils cooked on the stove. If using canned lentils, add an additional tablespoon of ground flax to help absorb extra moisture.Why did the lentil loaf fall apart?If the lentil loaf is too dry, it won’t stick together well. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time (up to 4 tablespoons) to the lentil mixture if it appears too dry.Can you make vegan meatloaf ahead of time?Yes! You can prepare the lentil loaf up to 2 days in advance and store it covered in the fridge. Before baking, let the lentil loaf come up to room temperature or add 5 minutes to the cooking time.Storing leftovers
Fridge: Store leftover walnut lentil loaf in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat the lentil loaf in single pieces vs. the entire loaf. This will help ensure that it doesn’t get dried out during reheating.
Freezer: Freeze individual slices of lentil loaf for up to 3 months. Slice the loaf and freeze on a sheet of parchment paper. Once frozen, freeze in individual bags or with pieces of parchment paper between the slices. Let thaw on the counter for 30 minutes to 1 hour before reheating or thaw in the fridge 4-8 hours (or longer).
Reheating: Reheat the lentil loaf in individual slices to avoid it drying out. Use the microwave 30-60 seconds or a 350F oven for 10-15 minutes.