Vegetarian cooks are often challenged when it comes to serving their most voracious carnivorous friends. I can assure you this loaf will go over well and your diners won’t miss the meat, even though combined are lentils, quinoa and toasted cashews along with some spice, sans animal. My sweetie never eats meat at home as I can’t stand the smell and will not tarnish my cookware with dead carcass. He was most delighted as this dish reminded him of meatloaf. Indeed, he declared that he liked this vegetarian version better than the traditional ones. Serve with a dollop of salsa, sour cream or ketchup.
If you want a gluten-free loaf, add more quinoa instead of the oats.
Spicy Lentil Quinoa Nut Loaf
3/4 cup of brown lentils, picked over for stones and well rinsed in a strainer
1/2 cup of quinoa, soaked overnight in a small pot with 1 cup of water
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup of cremini mushrooms, sliced
3 – 4 green or red chilies or jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of curry powder (or make your own with a dash of asafetida, 1/2 teaspoon of ground mustard powder, 1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds, 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves, 1/4 teaspoon of ground cardamom, a pinch of saffron, freshly cracked black pepper, 3 tablespoons of dried fenugreek leaves)
2 tablespoons of oil or butter
2/3 cup of dry roasted, unsalted cashews, roughly chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup of steal cut oats
3/4 cup of sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes, drained and roughly chopped
1 cup of fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
Bring the quinoa to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover and cook until the liquid is absorbed – about 15 minutes. Set aside.
In a medium pot, combine the lentils with 2 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until tender and the liquid is absorbed. Set aside.
Heat the oil or butter in a frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add the onion, mushrooms, chilies and saute for 5 – 7 minutes. Add the curry powder and stir and fry for another minute or so.
In a large bowl, combine the lentils, quinoa, onion mushroom mixture, cashews, eggs, oats, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, curry powder, sea salt and black pepper. Stir well to combine.
Transfer to a greased loaf pan, press down evenly and bake in a preheated 350 oven for 30 – 40 minutes until golden brown on the top.
If you like this recipe, you will also be sure to enjoy:
Mushroom Nut Roast in Puff Pastry
Do also check out Johanna’s vegetarian nut roast roundup for more creative ideas that are sure to tempt your palate.
On the top of the reading stack: Silk Road Cooking: A Vegetarian Journey by Najmieh Batmanglij
Audio Accompaniment: Cho Oyu 8201m by Geir Jenssen