You know what I love? Ease and flow. Things in life that are ready and waiting for me when I need them. A rainbow of vegetables in neatly arranged containers, all chopped and ready to toss into a salad. Homemade salad dressing, prepared in advance, in a clearly marked jar. Walking into my kitchen, opening the refrigerator, and seeing something delicious and wholesome that I have prepared in advance, so that I can eat a lunch or dinner with no drama.
You know what else I like? The idea of a “loaf.” A thing I can slice, and serve with a side salad. Or just eat standing there at the fridge. A nice meal waiting for me feels like a gift that I’ve taken the time to give my future self.
I have never loved the lentil. I know it’s good for me, with all the protein and fiber and whatnot but it just always seemed so mud-colored and unappealing. The green or orange ones are better I guess, but no version of a lentil has ever grabbed my attention. That is, until I met this loaf. This recipe came to us from Bridgette Becker, co-founder of Taproot Energetics, and it is absolutely yummy, with many colorful chopped veg and spices, and a positively decadent glaze on top.
And when I make it, there it is waiting for me in my fridge. A gift to myself I can count on. Comforting and lovely, to the very last slice.
Taproot Lentil Loaf
1 yellow onion, diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
2 medium carrots, grated or diced
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 cup dry lentils, green or brown
2.5 cups vegetable broth
3 Tablespoon Flax meal / ground Flax seed
1/3 cup water
3 garlic cloves, diced
3/4 cup oats
1/2 cup oat flour
1 heaping teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 heaping teaspoon cumin powder
cracked pepper & sea salt to taste
2 Tablespoon Grade B maple syrup
2 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
6 Tablespoon organic ketchup
Preheat oven to 350.
Prepare a loaf pan by lining it with parchment paper.
Rinse lentils in cold water, and combine with broth in large pot.
Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer, for about 40 minutes, until lentils are soft.
Once done, remove lid and set lentils aside to cool.
In the meantime, combine the flaxseed and water in a small bowl. (This is the vegan equivalent of an “egg” – it will bind the loaf. Cool, right?)
Dice and chop all your vegetables.
Heat a small amount of olive or avocado oil in a sauté pan on medium heat. Sauté onion, celery, carrot and red pepper until soft (about 5 minutes). Add garlic last because garlic burns easily.
Add the spices to the vegetables and stir.
Place cooked lentils in the bowl of a food processor, and process until somewhat smooth (not overly pasty). Add the sautéed vegetables and process once or twice until just combined.
In a large bowl, combine oats, oat flour and flax mixture. Add the lentil and vegetable mixture. Combine with a wooden spoon.
Press mixture into the prepared loaf pan.
Mix all the glaze ingredients, and spread on top of the loaf. (You can keep some separate to serve with, or you can always make more!)
Bake for 50 – 60 minutes.
Serves 6 – 8 (or 1 for many days).