The Best Vegan Lentil Loaf should be deliciously rich, moist and juicy, and easy to make. Well, the good news is that you don’t need to look any further. Jump to the recipe and check out how our secret ingredient makes this Lentil Loaf the best ever. We are so damn proud of this recipe that we have perfected through several tests. We hope you’ll fall in love with it too.
Our BEST DAMN RECIPES collection just got larger. It all started with Vegan Lasagna and continued with Vegan Bean Chili and Vegan Beef Stew, but now… here is the Best Damn Vegan Lentil Loaf. So what do you plan for Thanksgiving dinner? Just asking…casually… 🙂 And I am also adding to it our Vegan Wellington, which is absolutely gorgeous and delicious.
Ingredients you need
Remember, we said simple and easy-to-make, so the ingredient list is not that long at all. We only added veggies and flavors to make this brown lentil loaf recipe wholesome, rich and juicy. If you have the following 10 ingredients, you will have yourself a main course for Thanksgiving dinner. Or make it as a weeknight dinner. We sure do that a lot. So here it goes:
- brown lentils (we often use canned, but you can certainly cook them from scratch),
- celery stalks,
- button mushrooms (or champignon or cremini),
- soy sauce or choose one from the 5 gluten-free soy sauce substitutes,
- seasoning: oregano, thyme and smoked paprika powder, and
- THE SECRET INGREDIENT: buckwheat groats or seeds
What is buckwheat and why we love it?
Buckwheat is a pseudo-cereal grain aka a seed that behaves like a grain. We have a Complete Gluten-free Flour Guide if you’re interested to learn more about it.
If you are looking for buckwheat in stores you might come across names like:
- whole grain buckwheat
- buckwheat groats
- buckwheat seeds
THEY ARE THE SAME! We use this one*. The important part is that is has to be hulled and organic, not roasted or any other way modified. So why we call it a secret ingredient? Well, because there is
- NO breadcrumbs
- NO flour
- NO grains
- NO flax meal
- NO egg substitute
- And that is all thanks to buckwheat.
We have been testing and perfecting a gluten-free bread recipe using soaked buckwheat groats / seeds. In the latest attempt, we blended the seeds too finely in our Vitamix and when we sliced the baked bread my husband noted politely that: “This doesn’t look like bread at all, it rather looks like a meatloaf!” And then it hit me: “Why don’t we try to add these to your lentil loaf recipe to make it moist, juicy and less crumbly?” He agreed and BAM! it worked perfectly and finally we had our juicy, not crumbly, easy-to-cut, moist best damn vegan lentil loaf.
How to make Vegan Lentil Loaf?
Prepare the veggies – step 1
Peel and chop onion and garlic. Wash and chop celery. Wash, peel and slice carrots. Rinse and chop mushrooms.
Prepare the buckwheat – step 2
Soak the buckwheat groats in boiling water for 15 minutes. If you can squash the seeds with your fingers then they are soft enough. (You can certainly do overnight soaking in warm water.) When the seeds are soft, drain the soaking water and add fresh water (photo #1). Use your hand blender or food processor to roughly blend the seeds. It doesn’t need to be extra smooth. Stop when you have a paste-like texture (photo #2).
Sautee the veggies – step 3
Heat your frying pan to medium heat and add olive oil (photo #1). Cook the chopped onion (photo #2) for 1-2 minutes, add the chopped garlic (photo #3) and cook for a few seconds. Now, add the sliced carrots (photo #4). Stir and cook for 5-6 minutes.
Next is to add the chopped celery (photo #5), then the seasoning: salt, pepper, oregano, and thyme (photo #6-7). Stir well. Finally, add the chopped mushroom (photo #8) and cook for 5-6 minutes. When ready, take off the heat.
Blend all ingredients – step 4
Get your food processor ready now. Add the chopped veggie mix you just cooked in the frying pan to the food processor (photo #9). Add the cooked or canned brown lentils, the soy sauce, and the smoked paprika powder (photo #10). Finally, add the buckwheat paste (photo #11). Pulse for a couple of times. Don’t blend until everything is mushy and puree. You want to leave some chunks to bite on (photo #12).
Bake the lentil loaf – step 5
Preheat the oven to 390 Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celcius). Take a 9-inch loaf pan and pour in the lentil loaf mixture. I have a silicone one, but if you’re not, use parchment paper. Bake for 40 minutes. That’s it. You have a firm vegan lentil loaf that is rich and flavorful, juicy and luscious at the same time.
How to make Maple Tomato Glaze?
Think of it as homemade ketchup. Making maple tomato glaze is quite easy. You can get it done in 5 minutes. Take a small saucepan and heat it on medium heat. Add tomato sauce, maple syrup, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, and corn starch (photo #1). Cook until glaze thickens enough. Cover the lentil loaf when the loaf is a bit chilled and not right out of the oven (photo #2).
What to serve with a vegan lentil loaf?
Our favorite side dish is potatoes of any form:
We also love a plateful of veggies for each meal and we happily eat roasted or fried veggies with this Vegan Lentil Loaf like
- Roasted Asparagus and Mushrooms
- Sauteed Mushrooms in Soy Sauce Glaze
- Sauteed Carrots in Maple Thyme Glaze
- Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli
- Green Beans Casserole
- Braised Red Cabbage
Let us know in the comments what is your favorite combination.
FAQs and Substitutions
What can I use instead of buckwheat?
Well, it is kind of our secret ingredient that makes the lentil loaf perfectly juicy and moist. But if you must, you probably will have success with cooked quinoa. Both buckwheat and quinoa are pseudo-cereal grains aka seeds that behave like grains. We have a Complete Gluten-free Flour Guide if you’re interested to learn more about it.
Can I use other lentils?
You can certainly use green aka French lentils. We don’t recommend red lentils for two reasons: 1) it has a unique taste and will alter the taste compared to what we made the seasoning for; 2) red lentils tend to be drier and crumblier.
What other veggies can I add?
I would happily add bell pepper and any other root vegetables such as parsnip, rutabaga, or celeriac.
What else can you do with this lentil loaf mixture?
We have some fun ideas for you. They can be a perfect filling for stuffed peppers, stuffed mushrooms ,or stuffed zucchini/courgette. Or why don’t you take out a muffin tin and make mini lentil loaves?
How to store it?
It is perfect for batch cooking. You can easily store it in the fridge for 3-5 days without any problem.
Can I freeze it?
Yes, you can. For easier handling, pre-slice it.
This Vegan Lentil Loaf recipe is meat-free, dairy-free, and egg-free. It is also suitable for vegan, vegetarian, nut-free, and gluten-free diets. It can also be WFPB-friendly (whole foods plant-based) if you cook the veggies in water or in veggie broth.
More vegan dinner recipes
- Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese
- Vegan Eggplant Meatballs
- Vegan Shepherd’s Pie
- Vegan Cabbage Lasagna
- Portobello Vegan Pot Roast
Juicy Vegan Lentil Loaf
Vegan Lentil Loaf
- 2 Carrots (medium) 75 g
- 2 Celery stalk 50 g
- 2 cup Champion or White Bottom Mushrooms 150 g
- 1 Tbsp Olive oil
- 1 Onion (medium)
- 3-4 clove Garlic
- 2 ½ cup Brown lentils (canned, drained) 500 g
- ½ cup Buckwheat seeds 100 g (it will be 1 cup after soaking)
- ½ cup Water 1,2 dl (to blend the buckwheat seeds)
- 1 Tbsp Soy sauce or tamari or coconut aminos
- ½ tsp Oregano
- ½ tsp Thyme
- 1 tsp Sweet smoked paprika powder
Prepare the veggies
- Peel and chop onion and garlic. Wash and chop celery. Wash, peel and slice carrots. Rinse and chop mushrooms.
Prepare the buckwheat seeds
- Soak the buckwheat seeds in boiling water for 15 minutes (½ cup dry will be 1 cup soaked at the end). If you can squash the seeds with your fingers then they are soft enough. (You can certainly do overnight soaking in warm water.)
- When the seeds are soft, drain the soaking water and add fresh water. Use your hand blender or food processor to roughly blend the seeds. It doesn't need to be extra smooth. Stop when you have a paste-like texture.
Sautee the veggies
- Heat your frying pan to medium heat and add olive oil. Cook the chopped onion for 1-2 minutes, add the chopped garlic and cook for a few seconds.
- Now, add the sliced carrots. Stir and cook for 5-6 minutes.
- Next is to add the chopped celery, then the seasoning: salt, pepper, oregano, and thyme. Stir well.
- Finally, add the chopped mushroom and cook for 5-6 minutes. When ready, take off the heat.
Blend all ingredients
- Get your food processor ready now. Add the chopped veggie mix you just cooked in the frying pan with the brown lentils, the soy sauce, smoked paprika powder and the buckwheat paste. Pulse for a couple of times. Don't blend until everything is mushy and puree. You want to leave some chunks to bite on.
Bake the lentil loaf
- Pre-heat the oven to 390 Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celcius). Take your loaf pan and pour in the lentil loaf mixture. I have a silicone one, but if you're not, use parchment paper. Bake for 40 minutes.
Maple Tomato Glaze in 5 minutes
- Take a small sauce pan and heat it on medium heat. Add tomato sauce, maple syrup, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, and corn starch. Cook until glaze thickens enough.
- Glaze your lentil loaf when it is cooled down.
- whole grain buckwheat
- buckwheat groats
- buckwheat seeds