The Ultimate Vegetable Lentil Loaf is hearty, delicious and made with pantry staples! It’s customizable to be gluten free, oil free and can be made ahead. Plus, the leftovers make for great vegan meat loaf sandwiches!
After a few attempts (five to be exact) at making this lentil loaf, I have finally come up with a veggie version that tastes pretty darn good and is extremely filling!
I wanted to keep this lentil loaf recipe (aka vegan meatloaf) easy, with ingredients you may already have in your pantry. After doing a little digging, I was able to piece this together from a few resources.
- One source was this recipe from Made to Create, which is wonderfully simple, and also had good reviews from when I shared it on my Facebook page!
- Then there was this one from Oh She Glows, which is a walnut version using apples and raisins, but I wanted one with all veggies (Angela’s looks delicious and I will be trying it later).
- Last but not least, I referenced this recipe at My Vegan Cookbook.
This lentil loaf has great texture, flavor and is super filling. Be prepared, one slice will most likely fill you up, it sure does for me. I’m not kidding when I tell you this is one hearty and filling lentil loaf.
I especially love the glaze for the top of this lentil loaf, which was adapted from Angelas recipe. You could serve a little extra on the side, or double the amount if you like, slathering a little more over top the lentil loaf once cooked.
For a fall flavored or holiday (Christmas or Thanksgiving) lentil loaf, try this Apple, Fennel + Sage Lentil Loaf. It’s just as amazing!
Now on with the recipe – make a loaf and share the love!
Vegetable Lentil Loaf Ingredients
- Lentils – Use brown lentils for best results as they cook up tender and can easily be mashed. Canned lentils work too, as noted in the recipe card.
- Veggies – The vegetables include the usual mirepoix of onion, carrot and celery, with added red bell pepper. Feel free to sub in other veggies if you like. Some have left comments of adding in zucchini for the bell pepper. You get the idea, you can adjust to what you have on hand or prefer.
- Garlic – If you don’t have fresh garlic, use 1 heaping teaspoon of garlic powder.
- Oats – Use old fashioned or quick oats.
- Flour – Any flour will work so use what you prefer or suits your dietary needs. For gluten free, use oat or gluten free flour blend.
- Flaxmeal – We’ll be making flax eggs, combining flaxmeal with water.
- Herbs & Spices – I absolutely love the thyme in this lentil loaf recipe, but have added cumin for a little earthiness and warmth. Feel free to omit the cumin all together, especially if making for the holiday table such as Christmas or Thanksgiving. And if you like spicy, you’ll love the ground chipotle pepper in this recipe with the glaze, it’s such a nice combo of sweet and spice!
- Glaze – The glaze is a flavorful and tangy mix of ketchup (organic pref.), pure maple syrup and apple cider vinegar. Feel free to double the glaze.
How To Make Lentil Loaf
- Cook the lentils. Cook your lentils, let set for about 15 minutes, most of the liquid should be absorbed. Mash or puree about 2/ 3 – 3/4 of the mixture. You should be able to easily mash the lentils with a back of a fork or slotted spoon.
- Saute the veggies. While lentils are cooling, saute the vegetables (above right).
- Combine and mix. Add the lentils to the sauteed veggie mixture along with the oats, flour and flax egg. Mix well to combine.
- Pack into loaf pan. Once everything is mixed, pack the lentil mixture into a 9 x 5 loaf pan. It helps to use parchment paper to line the loaf pan, making it easier to remove the loaf using the overhanging paper.
- Add glaze. Spread glaze over top and distribute evenly as possible.
- Bake. Place lentil loaf in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 – 50 minutes.
What To Serve With Lentil Loaf
This lentil loaf pairs great with a variety of sides like these:
- Mashed Potatoes (Instant Pot or Stovetop)
- Green Beans Almondine
- Scalloped Potatoes
- Baked Vegan Mac & Cheese
- Healthy Baked Beans (Instant Pot + Slow Cooker)
- Vegan Macaroni Salad
- Steamed asparagus
- & a nice light and simple salad for freshness!
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 freezer safe zip lock baggies, removing as much air as possible before closing.
- Reheat: I don’t recommend reheating the entire loaf at once because t will most likely become too dry. I do recommend cutting slices and then reheating. Reheat in the microwave or oven at 350 for 5- 10 minutes.
You can make your lentil loaf the day or two before and store, uncooked, in the refrigerator until ready to heat. When ready bake according to instructions.
Why Is My Lentil Loaf Mushy?
Too much moisture is most likely the culprit, creating a mushy lentil loaf. To combat this, when cooking the lentils be sure to cook down the water all the way, there should be no more than 1 tablespoon water (and it’s ok if there is none). If using canned lentils, omit the flax egg (there’s plenty of moisture in canned lentils, even after draining).
If you try this vegetable lentil 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.Print
THE ULTIMATE VEGETABLE LENTIL LOAF
A wonderfully flavored lentil loaf for the whole family to enjoy. The leftovers make for great sandwiches too!
- Prep Time: 15 min
- Cook Time: 90 min
- Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
- Yield: Serves 8 1x
- Category: Entree
- Cuisine: Vegan
- 1 cup dry lentils (use green/brown)
- 2 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoons flaxseed meal (ground flaxseeds)
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil OR steam saute using 1/4 cup water
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 1 small red bell pepper, finely diced
- 1 carrot, finely diced or grated
- 1 celery stalk, finely diced
- 3/4 cup oats (I used GF oats)
- 1/2 cup oat flour or finely ground oats (any flour of choice will work here too)
- 1 heaping teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 heaping teaspoon cumin, optional
- 1/2 teaspoon each garlic powder & onion powder (for good measure!)
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper, optional
- cracked pepper & sea salt to taste
- 3 tablespoons organic ketchup
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
Rinse lentils. In large pot add 2 1/2 cups water/broth with lentils. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. It’s ok if they get mushy, we are going to roughly puree 3/4 of the mixture when cooled. Once done, remove lid and set aside to cool (there should only be a little bit of water so do not drain), lentils will thicken a bit upon standing, about 15 minutes is good.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In small bowl combine flaxseed meal and 1/3 cup water, set aside for at least 10 minutes, preferably in the refrigerator. This will act as a binder and will thicken nicely upon sitting.
Prepare vegetables. In saute pan heat oil or water over medium heat. Saute garlic, onion, bell pepper, carrots and celery for about 5 minutes. Add spices mixing well to incorporate. Set aside to cool.
Mash the lentils. Using an immersion blender, food processor, back of a fork or potato masher, blend 3/4 of the lentil mixture. For me this was an important part, I tried it other ways and this worked to help as a binder. If using an immersion blender, tilt your pot slightly to the side for easier blending.
Combine sauteed vegetables with the lentils, oats, oat flour and flax egg, mix well. Taste, adding salt and pepper as needed, or any other herb or spice you might like. Place mixture into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper, leaving it overlapping for easy removal later. Press down firmly filling in along the edges too.
Prepare your glaze by combining all ingredients in a small bowl, mix until incorporated. I recommend making each tablespoon heaping so you have plenty of this great sauce on top (if using tomato paste and mixture is too thick, add a teaspoon of water, or a little extra vinegar & syrup). Spread over top of loaf.
Bake: Place in center of the oven, and bake in oven for about 45 – 50 minutes. Let cool a bit before slicing.
You may like to double up on the glaze, having some to put on the loaf after it’s removed from the oven.
If you don’t care for a little spicy heat, omit the chipotle powder.
Store: Leftovers will last 5 – 5 days in the refrigerator, in covered containers. To keep longer, store in the freezer for 2 – 3 months. To freeze, cut into individual slices with parchment paper between the slices and store in freezer safe containers or baggies (if using baggies remove as much air as possible).
Reheat: I do not 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.
Make ahead: 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.
Using canned lentils: You can use canned (15oz) lentils, just be sure to drain them well and mash about 2/3 or so. Also, I suggest omitting the flax egg, there will be plenty of moisture so you won’t need extra moisture.
RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT: This loaf pan is a great size, or something similar. For lining the loaf pan I cut these parchment liners in half (affiliate links). For more of my favorite cooking tools, shop my kitchen essentials!
Updated: The Ultimate Vegetable Lentil Loaf was originally published in November 2012. It has been retested and updated with new photos and helpful tips in November 2019. No changes were made to the recipe as it’s still just as good!