Hear that? It’s Old Man Christmas, straight up knocking at your door. And guess who he brought to dinner? Every vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, keto, plant-based relative and friend known to man!
That’s a whole lot of dietary restrictions to wrestle with…especially if you’re hosting (or contributing to) the holiday feast. #nopressure #gulphelp
Deep breath. Don’t stress. It’ll be okay. You’ve got wine, right? 😉
And I’ve got a recipe that’ll help you figure it all out and save you from going down the usual Google holes – pulling out your hair – looking for a “high-protein, low-carb, no-meat meal that’s free-of-everything, except for plants, and doesn’t taste like cardboard.”
I present to you…your comforting, flavorful, nutrient-packed, crisis-averting Apple Walnut Lentil Loaf – the perfect solution to feeding your ENTIRE hungry crew and all their curtailments.
Not to toot my own recipe, but this loaf is a crackerjack!
You know, the kind that’s so dang good it can make a meat-eater forget meat exists (don’t roll your eyes, this actually happened to a friend of ours – he eventually remembered meat’s existence, but he still requests this meatless loaf on the reg.)
The consistency and texture is “meat-y-ish” and it fills you up fast.
Plus it’s DELICIOUS and jam-packed with all the impressive, good-for-you things like: apples, lentils, my all time fave: the sweet potato, herbs and walnuts.
A couple last things to consider…
Nut-allergies. A simple nut-free tweak is to swap the walnuts for sunflower seeds.
Sides. If you’re lookin’ for more than a loaf to fill your holiday table, I highly recommend serving this with my Creamy Vegan Mashed Potatoes and a side of green beans.
Top It and Dip It. For the love of all things saucy, don’t skimp on the balsamic glaze. It’s the perfect complement – like hot fudge to a sundae – so go heavy with it!
Apple Walnut Lentil Loaf w/ Balsamic Glaze
LENTIL LOAF INGREDIENTS:
- 2 cups lentils (green or brown), cooked and drained
- 3 Flax eggs (3 tablespoons ground flax seed + ½ cup water)
- ½ cup gluten-free oats
- 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup (approx. 4 stalks) celery, finely diced
- 1 small sweet potato, grated
- 1 small apple, cored and grated
- 1 cup walnuts, lightly toasted and finely chopped
- ½ cup gluten-free breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon Balsamic Glaze (below)
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- Sea salt and pepper, to taste
BALSAMIC GLAZE INGREDIENTS:
- ¾ cup organic unsweetened ketchup
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- Pinch of sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a loaf pan or line with parchment paper, leaving paper around the edges – like handles.
- Make flax eggs: whisk ground flax with water in small bowl and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the Balsamic Glaze ingredients and set aside.
- Pulse the lentils, along with the oats, in food processor into a crumbly, almost paste-like consistency. You want the mixture to be sticky enough to hold together, without being completely pulverized. Set aside.
- Add olive oil to large skillet over medium heat and sauté the onions and garlic until soft, about 5 – 7 minutes.
- Then stir in the celery, sweet potato and apple. Sauté until tender, about 5 minutes more.
- In a large bowl, combine lentil/oat mixture, flax eggs, 1-tablespoon of the Balsamic Glaze, sautéed veggies and all remaining ingredients. Mix until well combined.
- Press lentil loaf mixture firmly into prepared loaf pan.
- Spread remaining Balsamic Glaze on top of the lentil loaf, reserving a few tablespoons for spooning over the finished lentil loaf.
- Bake loaf, uncovered, for 50-60 minutes, until loaf is firm to touch and golden brown around the edges. Let loaf sit for 10-15 minutes before serving, loaf will continue to firm as it cools.
And rid yourself of that perpetually confounding question of “what-to-feed-the-peeps.”
Then be sure to let me know how it all went down.
With so much love,