This lentil loaf is completely plant-based and gluten-free, made with lentils, vegetables, oats, and spices, topped off with a balsamic glaze.
After several attempts, I finally got this loaf just right. It’s not mushy, it sticks together well and doesn’t fall apart easily. The right combo of rolled oats and oat flour really help to achieve the desired texture for this loaf. If you don’t have any oat flour on hand, you can easily make your own by grinding up regular rolled oats in a high-speed blender until it’s a fine powder.
For vegetables, I decided to stick with the traditional ones and use onion, garlic, carrots, and celery. The veggies are cooked over the stove until softened before being combined with the rest of the ingredients. I do recommend that you make sure to finely chop the celery. If the pieces are too large, they don’t soften as much and can end up being slightly crunchy in the finished loaf.
Once the lentils and veggies have been pre-cooked, all you have to do is combine all of the loaf ingredients into a bowl and stir. Then, transfer to a parchment lined loaf pan, quickly whip up the balsamic glaze for the top, and bake. Pretty easy!
This lentil loaf makes the perfect holiday centerpiece. It’s so hearty and filling and is great for serving a crowd. You could even prep this a day in advance by following all steps to assemble the loaf, but instead of baking, store it covered in the refrigerator. You can whip up the glaze in advance too, but keep it separate (don’t brush it over the top of the loaf) until ready to bake. The next day, while the oven is preheating, let the loaf sit out at room temperature. Once the oven is heated, add the glaze and bake.
Vegan Lentil Loaf with Balsamic Glaze
For the Lentil Loaf:
- 1 cup dried green lentils rinsed and drained
- 3 cups water
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- 1 ½ cups finely chopped yellow onion
- 4 medium cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup grated carrots
- 1 cup finely chopped celery
- ¾ cup rolled oats (certified gluten-free if needed)
- ½ cup oat flour (certified gluten-free if needed)
- 3 tablespoons flaxseed meal
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground thyme
- 1 teaspoon ground rosemary
For the Balsamic Glaze:
- 1 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 ½ teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1 ½ teaspoons maple syrup
- 1 ½ teaspoons tamari
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Make sure the edges of the parchment paper go up the side of the loaf pan. This will make it easy to lift out of the pan after baking.
Place the lentils and water in a large pot. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and continue to cook for 10-20 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Remove from heat, drain excess water, and set aside.
While the lentils are cooking, add the olive oil to a large pan and heat over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and garlic. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, then add the carrots and celery. Cook for a few more minutes until the vegetables are softened. Remove from heat and set aside.
Place the cooked lentils in a large bowl and mash using a fork or masher until about half of the lentils are mashed.
Add the cooked vegetables and the remaining lentil loaf ingredients to the bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon until combined.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared loaf pan. Use the back of the wooden spoon to press down the mixture into the pan.
In a small bowl, add all of the balsamic glaze ingredients and stir to combine. Pour the glaze on top of the loaf and use the back of a spoon to evenly spread it out.
Bake for 40-45 minutes. Let it cool for 10-15 minutes, then remove from the pan.
Serve immediately. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.