This quinoa lentil loaf is a complete vegetarian protein, which means it has all the essential amino acids found in meat.
As a vegetarian meat alternative, it is packed with mouth-watering savory nutrition from quinoa, lentils, vegetables, and nuts. And you get just a touch of sweetness from raisins, maple syrup, and organic ketchup. This is a recipe for happy kids, happy hubbies, happy moms, and happy guests.
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the savory glaze. it's like a homemade ketchup, and it's so divine on this lentil loaf. You could say it is the icing on the cake ... er loaf. But it is also like a built in sauce element. Who doesn't love sauce?
Whatever you call it—lentil loaf, nut loaf, or quinoa lentil loaf—this is one of those quintessential vegetarian dishes. When is the last time you had some?
Maybe it is a good time to surprise yourself or someone special this holiday season with this foolproof hearty vegetarian classic that’s made with ingredients you likely already have in your pantry or refrigerator.
This recipe calls for common brown or green lentils, quinoa, carrots, celery, garlic, onion, and green bell pepper, tomato paste, tomato ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, and Italian herbs. The chopped pecans or walnuts also make for fantastic texture and additional protein.
I am thinking this loaf be yummy served with mashed potatoes. The savory BBQ-style glaze is too yummy with it. I made sure of that!
This meat-like loaf is so satisfying it reminds me of the processed vegetarian meat options you can get at the grocery store. While I don’t mind some of that sometimes, it is always better to eat homemade food.
A Versatile Vegetarian Dinner Main
The best thing about quinoa lentil loaf is how versatile it is to have with dinner, including for a vegetarian holiday dinner.
To keep with the theme, you can serve it with quinoa, or some other grain. But I think it would be the absolute best with mashed potatoes, such as my amazing celeriac mashed potatoes.
And include more cooked vegetables on the side. Beets, baked winter squash, green beans, carrots, parsnips, turnips, and rutabaga would all go well.
Complete the meal with coleslaw or a green salad, and you are vegetable stacked!
For more dinner ideas, check my Quinoa-Lentil Loaf Dinner Menu
If you feel good about this recipe, you can even double it and freeze some. It makes for great leftovers—amazing on toast, in a burrito or sandwich—or even as a holiday or Sunday dinner.
Recipe for Quinoa Lentil Loaf
Helpful Kitchen Tools:
- loaf pan
for the lentils and quinoa
- ½ cup brown or green lentils
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 cups water
- ⅓ cup uncooked quinoa
for the vegetable filling - Step 1
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¾ cup onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon green chili (substitute with jalapeños), minced
for the vegetable filling - Step 2
- ½ cup celery, finely chopped
- ½ cup carrots, finely chopped
- ½ cup green pepper, chopped
- ½ teaspoon thyme leaves, fresh or dried
- ½ teaspoon oregano, fresh or dried
- ¼ teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
for the vegetable filling - Step 3
- 2 tablespoons raisins, roughly chopped
for the mixing bowl
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon dijon or grainy mustard
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce, see notes for gluten-free
- 3 tablespoons walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds, (optional), see notes
- 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs, if needed; see notes for gluten-free
for the savory glaze
- ¼ cup, plus ½ tablespoon organic ketchup
- ½ tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoons water
- ¼ teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce, (optional)
- Rinse lentils in cold water and drain. Combine rinsed lentils, bay leaf and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook partially covered for 30 minutes, until lentils are soft and starting to break apart.
- Rinse the quinoa, and then add it to the saucepan with the lentils. Partially cover, and continue to cook for 15 minutes until quinoa is soft. Add more water if needed. The best is to have no water left in the end. If water remains, drain it off. Remove the bay leaf and set lentils and quinoa aside until needed.
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and green chili or jalapeño, and sauté for 5 minutes. or until translucent. Add celery, carrots, green pepper, thyme, oregano, and salt, and stir well. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the veggies are just tender. Add the raisins and cook for 2 minutes. Add a little extra water if it's getting too dry. Turn off the heat and set aside until needed.
- In a large bowl, add the tomato paste, mustard, and soy sauce and mix well. Add the prepared lentils and quinoa, as well as the prepared vegetable sauté, chopped nuts, and optional ground flax seeds, and mix well. If it's too wet, add breadcrumbs or gluten-free oats to achieve a consistency that is not too dry or too wet.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a loaf pan by lining it with parchment paper. Press the prepared loaf mixture into the pan and trim the edges of the parchment paper with scissors so it does not extend above the edges of the baking dish.
- Prepare the glaze by combining all ingredients in a small bowl and stirring well. Pour it over the loaf and spread it evenly.
- Bake uncovered for 35 minutes in a 350 degree oven, until the glaze is set with a matte finish, and it smells divine. Let it rest for 15 minutes before cutting.
- This lentil loaf is perfect as a vegetarian dinner main course, but it would also be wonderful as a burrito or sandwich filling. You could also try it warmed on toast with a side of greens for a hearty breakfast.