This vegan grain-free lentil loaf has a robust bean (lentil) flavor with seasonings that complement it. It doesn't fall apart, isn't too mushy or too dry, and doesn't lack textural variety. It's perfect for entertaining over the holidays, or to enjoy for a weeknight dinner.
Add the lentils into a medium saucepan, cover them with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, season with salt, and cook the lentils until tender, 20-30 minutes. When the lentils are cooked, drain any excess water.
Heat the olive in a pan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, and saute them until translucent, 5-7 minutes. Add the mushrooms, celery and carrots, followed by a pinch of sea salt, thyme, and rosemary. Saute everything until the vegetables have softened, about 3-5 minutes.
Add all the ingredients, including the cooked lentils and sauted vegetables, into a food processor fitted with an S blade. Pulse until a thick dough forms. You should be able to pinch the mixture between your fingers and have it stick together, but it shouldn't be completely pureed. If the mixture is too wet, add more breadcrumbs. If it's too dry, pulse it a little more.
Transfer the mixture to a parchment-lined loaf pan, spread, and press into an even layer. Brush the top with a little oil to help the loaf retain moisture.
Bake at 375°F/190°C uncovered for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown on the edges and slightly dry to the touch. Remove from oven and let rest for 15-20 minutes in the pan. Then gently remove and carefully slice and serve.
Store leftover lentil loaf, covered, in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. For longer term storage, freeze in an air-tight container for 1 month.
*1 1/3 cups dried lentils equals ~ 3 cups cooked.
*Soak the lentils in cold water for a few hours so they soften up and are easier to digest. When the lentils are soaked, drain the water, rinse the lentils thoroughly, and use as instructed.
**The amount of breadcrumbs depends on how moist/dry your lentils are. I used ~ 1/3 cup. If you don't have chickpea breadcrumbs, feel free to use any breadcrumbs you like.