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LENTIL WALNUT LOAF WITH APPLE, FENNEL & SAGE

Perfect for the holidays this Lentil Walnut Loaf with apple, fennel and sage is hearty, full of flavor and makes a great centerpiece for the holiday table! Recipe is naturally vegan and can be made in advance!

top down view of a serving of vegan lentil loaf with apple, sage and fennel on a white plate with items.

It’s been two years since my last lentil loaf recipe!

I’ve adapted this new vegan lentil loaf from the other, The Ultimate Vegetable Lentil Loaf, on TSV which is still a big hit. It’s a great all-around loaf and I hope you all find this new lentil loaf flavor combination just as delicious!

I thought this time I’d create something with a whole new flavor profile and this vegan lentil walnut loaf with apple, fennel & sage is completely different and absolutely delicious.

I love this flavor combination and think it’s a perfect fall-winter loaf or one that can be rotated for variation all year long.

top down view of the ingredients used to make lentil loaf recipe with apple, fennel and sage.

All the flavors come through making every bite just as good as the last!

  • Apple adds a little sweetness, which is not overpowering at all.
  • Fennel and sage are a perfect pairing of herbs.
  • Walnuts give a little extra texture, but can be optional if your allergic or don’t care for them.
  • The glaze is super simple with just organic ketchup, apple cider vinegar and pure maple syrup. It has a slight tanginess which is a nice contrast to the other flavors.

A note on the fennel seeds: In case you’re wondering what else to do with your fennel seeds, I’ve used them in a few recipes like this Cannellini Bean & Fennel Flatbread, Mushroom and Buckwheat Soup and the Rustic Cabbage, Potato & White Bean Soup. See all the recipes on TSV using Fennel. If they are new to your pantry, you can purchase them knowing you can use them in other recipes!

side by side process showing the process of making lentil loaf with apple, sage and fennel.

How To Make Lentil Walnut Loaf

  • Cook your lentils, let set for about 15 minutes, most of the liquid should be absorbed. Mash or puree about 3/4 of the mixture. You should be able to easily mash the lentils with a back of a fork or slotted spoon.
  • While you’re working on the lentils, prepare your vegetables and apple and saute with herbs.

top down view showing the process of making vegan lentil loaf with apple, sage and fennel.

  • Add the lentils to the sauteed veggie mixture, along with the oats, flour, applesauce, and walnuts. Mix well to combine.

side by side photos showing the process of topping lentil loaf with glaze.

  • Once everything is mixed, pack mixture into a 9 x 5 loaf pan. Spread glaze over top and bake. Feel free to add a sage leaf on top before baking for decoration.
  • Once done, remove lentil walnut loaf from oven, let cool, slice and enjoy!

top down view of freshly baked lentil loaf on a rectangular serving plate.

Serving Suggestions

This lentil walnut loaf is pretty versatile and will go many sides. Here are a few of my favorite options:

How To Store Leftovers

  • Refrigerator: Keep leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 – 6 days, in a covered container. Leftovers make for great sandwiches!
  • Freezer: To keep longer, store in the freezer for up to 2 – 3 months. To freeze, let the lentil loaf cool completely. Slice into individual cut pieces and store in freezer safe containers (affiliate link) with parchment paper between the slices so they don’t stick together. You can also use or baggies, removing as much air as possible before storing.

How To Reheat Your Lentil Loaf

I don’t recommend reheating the entire loaf at once because t will most likely become too dry, as the heat will take to long to reach the center. I do recommend cutting slices and then reheating.

Make Ahead

You can make your lentil walnut loaf the day or two before and store uncooked in the refrigerator until ready to heat, and bake according to instructions.

top down view of a serving of vegan lentil loaf with apple, sage and fennel on a white plate with items.

If you try this lentil walnut loaf recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.

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LENTIL WALNUT LOAF

Perfect for the holidays this lentil loaf is hearty, full of flavor and will make a great centerpiece for the holiday table!

  • Author: Julie | The Simple Veganista
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 20 min
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8
  • Category: Entree
  • Cuisine: Vegan

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup green/brown lentils, rinsed
  • 2 1/4 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or 1/4 cup water
  • 1 small onion, diced (about 1 1/4 cup)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 carrots, diced or grated (about 1 cup)
  • 1 small apple, cored, peeled and diced or grated (use firm crisp like fuji, gala or granny) (about 1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds, use whole or lightly crushed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sage or 2 tablespoons fresh minced
  • 3/4 cup oats, quick or rolled (I used quick) or bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup flour (spelt, almond, oat, GF all-purpose, etc.)
  • 1/23/4 cup unsweetened organic applesauce
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • salt & pepper to taste (I used white pepper)

Glaze

  • 6 tablespoons organic ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

Instructions

Cook lentils: In a dutch oven or large pot, add vegetable broth and lentils, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 40 – 45 minutes, most to all liquid should be absorbed. (If most liquid is not absorbed, cooked until it is mostly absorbed. If by chance your liquid absorbs too fast, add a tad more water as needed and continue the process.) Lentils should be overcooked and tender. Set aside to cool, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Mash lentils with the back of a spoon or fork, or roughly puree using an immersion blender or food processor, about 2/3 – 3/4 of the lentil mixture.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Toast walnuts: Spread walnuts on a small rimmed baking pan, place in oven and toast until fragrant, about 10 -15 minutes. Set aside to cool..

Prepare vegetables and apple: Heat oil in a medium size pan over medium heat, add onion, garlic, celery and carrot, saute for about 5 minutes. Add apple, fennel, sage salt & pepper, heat for another 3 – 4 minutes.

Combine everything: Add the sauteed mixture with the lentils and mix. Add flour, oats, walnuts and 1/2 cup apple sauce, mix well to combine. If mixture seems to dry, add a little more apple sauce, mix again. Taste for seasoning adding extra herbs, salt and pepper as needed.

Line a 9 x 5 loaf pan with parchment paper, (this will make for easy removal later), add mixture and press down gently but firmly to remove any air pockets, fill in along the edges as well.

Make glaze: In small bowl, mix together the glaze and spread over top lentil loaf as evenly as you can. Here you can even add a fresh sage leaf in the center of the loaf, it won’t burn, it may roll a bit on the edges, and will add a nice decoration.

Bake: Place loaf in oven, on middle rack, and bake for 45 – 50 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool 10 minutes, remove from pan using the edges of the parchment paper. You may like to mix a bit more sauce and spread over top. Place loaf on serving dish, cut and serve individual slices.

Serving suggestions: Serve with roasted or mashed potatoes, or potato & cauliflower mash, a side of green beans or any combo of roasted brussels sprouts, carrots, butternut squash and beets. A simple fresh green salad with a light vinaigrette is also a great side! Leftovers make for great sandwiches!

Makes 8 slices.

Notes

If you don’t use a good vegetable broth while cooking the lentils, I recommend add in 1/2 teaspoon of onion and garlic powder, along with a big pinch of salt. The lentils are the base of the recipe and should have good flavor.

If mixture is too wet, add a tad more flour or oats/bread crumbs. If mixture is too dry, add a tad more applesauce.

I’ve used both oats and bread crumbs. Both were great. I didn’t notice that the oat flavor came through at all (or maybe I’m just adapted to them).

I don’t recommend reheating the entire loaf at once. It will most likely become too dry, as the heat will take to long to reach the center. I recommend cutting slices and reheating. If you need, you can make your lentil loaf the day before and store uncooked until ready to heat, bring to room temperature and heat according to instructions above.

If you love fennel and sage, by all means add an extra 1/2 teaspoon of each! Or an extra tablespoon of fresh minced sage.

If allergic to walnuts, omit them completely.

RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT: This loaf pan is a great size, or something similar. For lining the loaf pan I cut the parchment these parchment liners (affiliate links). For more of my favorite cooking tools, shop my kitchen essentials!

Keywords: lentil walnut loaf, vegan lentil loaf recipe

Updated: Lentil Walnut Loaf was originally published in November 2014. It has been retested and updated with new photos and helpful tips in November 2019. Recipe has stayed the same and is still delicious!

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41 Comments

  1. Some fun facts about my experience with this recipe:
    – I once mistakenly confused this recipe with a different apple-themed lentil loaf recipe I had saved, and couldn’t figure out why it came out tasting so bland. Will never make that mistake again! This is by far my favorite and now the only one I have bookmarked :)
    – I brought a loaf to a potluck and my friend exclaimed, “it’s like a whole meal in your mouth!”.
    – I made it for my omnivore-mom during the holidays and now she requests a couple loafs every time I visit her!

  2. I made this tonight and it tasted really good but had the consistency of bean dip. I even baked it for an additional 30 minutes AND turned the heat up. This may have happened because, in an attempt to not end up with a super dry loaf, I added a little too much apple sauce. Next time I would make the loaf mixture a little on the dry side. Also how are you supposed to know when it’s done?

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      So sorry this didn’t turn out 100% for you. Less apple sauce should help greatly. There really isn’t a way to tell from outside if its done. You could try the toothpick test, if poked with a toothpick and the toothpick comes out clean. I’d also suggest letting the loaf rest a bit before cutting into it. Often times it will seem mushy right out of the oven. It needs time to cool down before cutting. I’m glad the flavor was good at least. I think next time you’ll have a better outcome. I hope this helped. Cheers :)

  3. MissySlim says:

    The recipe instructions call for oil but no oil in ingredients. How much oil and what type?

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Use about 1 tablespoon olive oil or other neutral oil to saute the vegetables and apple. I have added it to the recipe. You can also do a water saute in place of sauteing with oil. To do this heat 2 – 3 tablespoon of water in place of the oil and cook as directed. Hope you enjoy it! Cheers

  4. Would I be able to put the loaf together today and then bake it tomorrow for T-giving? I hope so!!

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      I haven’t tried it yet but plan on doing this for tomorrow’s dinner with this loaf. I would suggest bringing the uncooked-prepared loaf to room temperature before baking. Add glaze just before baking. I think it will work just fine! I will post my experience here (and on the other lentil loaf in the recipe collection) in a day or so. Enjoy the holiday and the lentil loaf! Cheers :)

      1. I made the loaf the night before Thanksgiving, covered it so that air couldn’t touch it and dry it out, brought it to room temperature and baked it with the glaze on Thanksgiving day. It was great! I have a new holiday recipe! Thank you.

        1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

          I’m so glad you loved it and it went well. I also made it the night before and cooked it the next day with great results! Cheers :)

  5. does this loaf freeze well? thanks so much for this recipe!

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Yes, it does freeze well. I would suggest slicing and then freezing for best results. This loaf is best reheated in individual slices, reheating one slice at a time. If you try to reheat the entire loaf chances are that it will become too dry. To avoid that I only recommend reheating by the slice. It’s a delicious loaf, enjoy!

      1. good! bcuz i already made this and froze it (having sliced it first luckily ;)) you’re right: this loaf is AMAZING! thanks so much, julie, you’re a gem!!!

  6. It actually could mass as a meat loaf! Shhh…. it's going to be our secret! ;)

  7. i have never made meat loaf or any kind of loaf…this definitely looks heavenly!

    1. It makes for a great meal. The next day, you can make lentil loaf sandwiches (if you have leftovers). Add some leafy greens and a spread like mustard, vegan mayo, or even some of this sauce. They are suburb!

  8. Patrícia says:

    Oh my God, looks so yummi, I need to do this!! :D

  9. The VegHog says:

    Hmm, this could work at the Christmas table as well. I have been making different nut roasts and have yet to decide what to make at Christmas. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    the-veghog.blogspot.co.uk

  10. Christina @ The Beautiful Balance says:

    I love love love lentil loaf! Such a perfect post since Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Last year I made lentil loaf and my meat-loving family ended up eating it as well as a side!

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