Glazed Lentil Walnut Apple Loaf, Revisited

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Lentil Loaf-4-2

Out of all my favourite vegan recipes, this lentil loaf ranks in my top 10. This is a big deal, considering I’m in love with no less than 3,000 foods at any given moment. The original loaf recipe hails from talented chef and author, Terry Walters. I’ve enjoyed playing around with the recipe countless ways since I first made it in 2011. There’s just something about the combo of hearty, stick-to-your-ribs lentils, shredded carrots and sweet apple, chunky celery, toasted walnuts, and a sweet tangy glaze to finish it all off. It’s total comfort food to me.

I find myself eating the cold leftovers for breakfast in the morning. It gets crumbled over salads, stuffed into wraps and buns, and more recently thrown onto pasta sauce over a bed of spaghetti squash. I once ate half a loaf in the span of about 8 hours. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I guess it could be worse! To complicate matters, Eric is also a huge fan and we often find ourselves vying for the last slice…

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The only issue I have with the recipe I made a couple years ago is that it’s quite labour intensive. For this version, my goal was to simplify the recipe without compromising the flavour and texture. I also played around with different ingredients and amounts. I’ll be sharing my 3rd trial with you today – it’s actually my new favourite out of all of them I’ve made. Make sure to see my notes below for a few tips I’ve picked up along the way.

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Glazed Lentil Walnut Apple Loaf, Revisited

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Adapted from 2011 recipe, which was adapted from Terry Walters.

Yield: 1 large loaf or various mini loaves

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked green lentils
  • 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped and toasted
  • 3 tbsp ground flax + 1/2 cup water
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 cups diced sweet onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1/3 cup peeled and grated sweet apple (use a firm variety)
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme (or 3/4 tsp dried thyme)
  • salt & pepper, to taste (I use about 3/4 tsp sea salt + more Herbamare)
  • red pepper flakes, to taste

 

Balsamic Apple Glaze:

  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp apple butter (or unsweetened applesauce in a pinch)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

 

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Rinse and strain lentils. Place lentils into pot along with 3 cups of water (or veg broth). Bring to a boil and season with salt. Reduce heat to medium/low and simmer, uncovered, for at least 40-45 minutes. Stir frequently & add touch of water if needed. The goal is to over-cook the lentils slightly (see pictures in post). Mash lentils slightly with a spoon when ready.

2. Toast walnuts at 325F for about 8-10 minutes. Set aside. Increase oven temp to 350F.

3. Whisk ground flax with water in a small bowl and set aside.

4. Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sautee the garlic and onion for about 5 minutes. Season with salt. Now add in the diced celery, shredded carrot and apple, and raisins. Sautee for about 5 minutes more. Remove from heat.

5. In a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients together. Adjust seasonings to taste.

6. Grease a loaf pan and line with parchment paper. Press mixture firmly into pan. Whisk glaze ingredients and then spread half on top of loaf. Reserve the rest for a dipping sauce.

7. Bake at 350F for 40-50 minutes, uncovered. Edges will be lightly brown. Cool in pan for at least 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. I usually wait until loaf is cool before slicing.

Lentil Loaf-5Lentil Loaf-4

I used to have a problem with my lentil loaves falling apart on me. I’ve since discovered that it really helps to over-cook the lentils a bit, so the consistency of the lentils is doughy, almost like mashed potatoes. As you can see in the photos, the lentils are the perfect consistency to bind with the other ingredients.

Lentil Loaf-6Lentil Loaf-1

In addition to playing around with the ingredients, I also switched up the sizes of the tins/pans:

Trial 1: I made 4 mini loaves (the green and red ones).

Trial 2: I used a muffin tin. I got about 16 portions out of the batter which was great, but I made the mistake of using paper muffin liners and they completely stuck to the paper. Next time I will grease the tins well and not use paper liners. I also cooked them a bit too long (40 mins at 350F) and they dried out more than I’d like.

Trial 3: I made 2 medium-sized loaves using 9×5 loaf tins and baked for about 45 minutes or so. Keep in mind you can also use one big loaf tin too!

Lentil Loaf-2Lentil Loaf-2-2Lentil Loaf-1-4Lentil Loaf-3-2

The loaves freeze well too. Just make sure to fully cool the baked loaves before wrapping and freezing.

If you are looking for a nut-free version, you might want to try using toasted sunflower seeds. I probably wouldn’t use a full cup of seeds, but maybe 1/2-3/4 cup. For a gluten-free loaf, use GF oat flour and breadcrumbs and of course be sure to check all other ingredients.

As for serving suggestions, this loaf is great paired with applesauce, sautéed greens, and mashed/roasted potatoes.

With any luck, I might have a few left for our Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday. If you are celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend, have a wonderful holiday!

Looking for more Thanksgiving recipes? Check out my Thanksgiving Recipe round-up here, featuring high-protein garlic mashed potatoes, holiday salad, pumpkin garlic knots, and more.

Let's get social! Follow Angela on Instagram (@ohsheglows + @theglowspot), Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Google+

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{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

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marsha June 7, 2017

Sign me up for your newsletter.
I love your recipes

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Angela Liddon June 7, 2017

Thanks, Marsha! You can sign up for the newsletter here.

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Linda December 25, 2016

Do we think I can make the loaf at around 11 am and leave it in the fridge and stick it in the oven at around 9pm? So I don’t have to freeze it and make it fresh for dinner at night?
Thanks!

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Susan December 23, 2016

I love this website and have your cookbooks which I use nearly every day. I’ve made this loaf a number of times and love it. I’d like to try it wrapped in pastry like a sort of Wellington. Do you think this would be ok? Should I cook it first then add pastry and heat again? It’s for Christmas dinner so ideally I’d like to make it ahead of time.

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Jill November 27, 2016

I’m looking forward to making this for our Christmas dinner this year! Quick question on loaf pan sizes – in your trial 3 you mention that you made two medium sized loaves using 9 X 5 loaf tins, or that we could use one big loaf tin. What size is a “big loaf tin”? I have a 9 X 5 but it sounds like that’s not it. Also, would this recipe be enough to feed 8 people as a main dish? Or should I double it? Thank you!

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Jill December 29, 2016

Well in case any others had the same question, it turns out one recipe would have been perfect for 8 people. However because I wasn’t sure I ended up doubling which is fine too – I just froze one loaf (by doubling the recipe i ended up with three good sized loaves). I went to Sur La Table and asked what a standard loaf size pan was. I bought two 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 X 2 3/4 loaf pans. One recipe would have filled both those pans between 1/2 and 3/4 full, which was a good size. (I didn’t want to completely fill one loaf pan because it would have seemed a bit crowded and wouldn’t have baked as well, plus I wanted room for the sauce on top.) Because I doubled the recipe I filled up those two loaf pans (about 3/4 full) plus also half filled a much larger third loaf pan which i had lying around. I was basically awash in lentil loaf but that’s ok because it was so good! I assembled (but did not bake) the loaf the day before, then stored in the ‘fridge with saran wrap pressed against the loaf to keep it from drying out. The next day i put on the topping right before baking, and that worked out fine. I think the topping could also have been made a day ahead and stored separately in an airtight container in the ‘fridge – i just didn’t bother since it was only 4 ingredients. It came out very delicious! I’ll definitely be making this again.

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Curllee November 24, 2016

This was very good. Lots of different textures and flavors going on that made a taste-bud bonanza. It is very dense. It required a bit of work and time, but was worth it. I had to bake it for 60 minutes because it showed no sign of browning at 50. I managed to make nice slices after cooling 10 minutes. This recipe is a keeper.

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Angela Liddon November 25, 2016

I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the final results!

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Lindsay November 21, 2016

This is by far my favorite replacement for the Tofurkey at Thanksgiving. I would make more if you are feeding a family of veg-friendly folks but usually my friends/family avoid anything that isn’t the turkey/ham (they have no idea what they are missing!!) So delicious!!

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Katrina November 21, 2016

I found this recipe from a gluten free, vegan, sugar free search. I was wondering about the breadcrumbs. I’m going to try it for Thanksgiving and was searching for breadcrumbs, but couldn’t find them. The only other option I thought of was buying gluten free bread and toasting it in the oven. Do you have any other ideas?

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Antonia December 9, 2016

Hi – I just made this using gluten free rolled oats instead of the bread crumbs. I just processed them for a few seconds to get the consistency of bread crumbs. Seemed to work just fine.

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Matt November 17, 2016

Hi there,

You mentioned this goes well with your stunning cauliflower and carrot mash… can you share that recipe with us please?

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Krista November 16, 2016

We are gf – do you think I could use rolled oats in place of the bread crumbs? (This looks delicious by the way!)

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Angela H November 14, 2016

I am making this for Thanksgiving along with a turkey for non vegan family. In the interest of time can this loaf be frozen? If so, at what temp would I reheat?

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Angela Liddon November 17, 2016

Hi Angela, Yes, it freezes quite well! I would suggest slightly undercooking the first time (maybe by 10 minutes or so), just so it doesn’t dry out the second time around in the oven. For reheating, anything around 300-350 should do the trick. Or, I very often let slices of the loaf thaw at room temperature then throw them on a skillet to heat them up. You could also prepare the loaf, put it in the pan – but don’t cook it – and just keep it in the fridge overnight; allow it to come to room temp then cook as normal. I hope these suggestions help! I’d suggest reading through some of the comments on this post, too, as there might be some helpful tips in there from other readers. Good luck!:)

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B.A.D. October 8, 2016

Just wondering do you drain the lentils? or mash them with the leftover liquid?

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Lindsey September 29, 2016

I used french lentils to make this last night and it is so delicious! Added herbs de provence and ended up grating in the rest of the apple i used. It made for one very happy gf when she got home, so thank you from both of our stomachs! Your recipes are always amazing.

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Angela Liddon September 29, 2016

Lucky girl, to have this waiting for her when she got home! ;) I’m so glad to hear the dish was a hit.

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Sarah September 21, 2016

I made this tonight. I was skeptical. It was crazy delicious and so filling. And I love that I had every last ingredient in my cabinet–so easy (I made the oat flour in my vitamix). I used GF breadcrumbs and you totally couldn’t tell it was GF. This one is a keeper. Thank you!!!

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Angela Liddon September 23, 2016

I’m glad it was a hit, Sarah!! :)

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Sara September 20, 2016

Hi Angela! I’m planning on making this for my big family dinner to celebrate my sons first birthday. I have made it several times in the past and love it! Can I make the “dough” the night before? I am hoping to combine everything the night before and bake it just before dinner as to not have a dry loaf. If I leave it in the fridge over night, pre-bake, will it turn out? Or will the veggies be soggy and separate? I’m planning on tripling the recipe, so I wanted to check with you first. Thanks so much!

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Angela Liddon September 23, 2016

Hey Sara, You can certainly prepare the loaf the day before—simply combine the ingredients, place it in the fridge overnight all wrapped up in the pan, then cook it fresh, as normal, day-of. I’d suggest allowing the loaf to come to room temp before popping it in the oven. I hope this helps!! And happy birthday to your little guy! :)

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Sarah September 19, 2016

Made this as I’m practicing for my first vegan thanksgiving, and it was great! I think this is a protein-packed main that can replace the big birds! Thank you!

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Angela Liddon September 19, 2016

Glad it was a hit, Sarah! We love this as a plant-based Thanksgiving option.

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Cindy August 3, 2016

Would this work with almond flour instead of oat flour? I have a friend with an oat sensitivity. Thanks. This is one of our favourites!

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Cecilia June 9, 2016

Is the flax definitely necessary? I’m not sure I can even get it where I live and if I can it will be very expensive and I can’t think of anything else I would use it for. Anything else (more common ingredient) I could use instead?

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Angela Liddon June 9, 2016

Hi Cecilia, the flax is used to create an “egg” that works as a binder in this recipe, but I suspect you could use ground chia seed in place of the flax. I haven’t tried it myself, but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work. (I believe some readers have tried it and had success, though!) Good luck, and I’d love to hear how it goes if you try it!

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Bev June 26, 2016

This is my all time favorite loaf. I have made it for Christmas and ThanksGiving for two years and everyone loves it. It is half past Christmas today (June 26) and I am making a feast for the special occasion. Thanks!

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Athena April 8, 2016

Is OK to let the walnuts soak. If so how long?

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Denise Scholtes April 4, 2016

I tried this today – it is DELICIOUS!
Thanks for sharing!

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Alison March 29, 2016

Hi Angela! I just wanted to thank you for this recipe…I made it for Easter for myself and my boyfriend (both carnivores who also love a good veggie meal!) after eyeing it for some time, and I just have to say how absolutely delicious it was! It definitely exceeded all expectations. I took a commenter’s advice about adding some mustard in place of apple butter to the sauce, left out the raisins…and accidentally used a cup of grated apple because I can’t write directions down properly haha and it was perfect. I used a potato masher to get the lentils a bit mushier, and blitzed the toasted walnuts quickly so they weren’t so big (but that’s personal preference) and it held together very well.

I also completely forgot to buy a loaf pan, so I split the mix in half and shaped it into a loaf and brushed sauce over the whole thing and baked for 40 minutes. Wasn’t dry at all, and the second loaf I put in the fridge uncooked and made it the next day to use for the week as leftovers…that one was even moister! So for anyone who may be cheap and forgetful like me, you can still make this without a loaf pan! Just keep checking it to make sure it’s not drying out (I noticed it would start to crack a bit and I took that as a sign of being done).

This makes for the greatest burritos I’ve ever made when crumbled up with taco seasoning and sauteed. I could live off of that forever! So thank you thank you again Angela for always being a culinary inspiration! I can’t wait for your second book!

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Angela Liddon March 29, 2016

Thanks for sharing, Alison! I’m so happy to hear the recipe was a hit.

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Stacye March 26, 2016

I’m looking forward to making this for Easter dinner tomorrow. Can part of this recipe be successfully made ahead so it’s less work tomorrow?

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Angela Liddon March 30, 2016

Hi Stacye, so sorry I didn’t get back to you in time! Did you end up making anything ahead? I’d love to hear how it went. I hope the recipe was a hit, either way!

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Stacye March 31, 2016

Hi Angela-
Thanks so much for your fantastic recipes! This loaf was a hit on Easter! Even my omni parents enjoyed it (along with the ham they brought)2. My dad especially loved the glaze. :)

Yes, I successfully prepared this as a make-ahead dish without issue. I prepared the entire dish on Saturday including putting everything in the parchment lined meatloaf pan. After it cooled I covered it with saran wrap and placed in the fridge. On Sunday I removed the loaf pan from the fridge and let it “warm up” on the counter before baking. I prepared the glaze, placed it on the loaf and baked it per the directions.

It came out great and I’m still enjoying my leftovers! I would definitely make this again on a special occasion (as a make ahead dish!).

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Angela Liddon March 31, 2016

Yay, I’m happy to hear it worked out well!! Thanks so much for sharing that great info, too–I know other readers will really appreciate it. :)

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Anna leff March 22, 2016

Can I put it together the day before and cook on Easter Sunday?

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Angela Liddon March 25, 2016

Hi Anna, I know a few people have had success making the loaf the day before, then cooking day-of. So I think it should turn out if you want to try it! Good luck, and Happy Easter!

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Cheryl Doerksen February 26, 2016

I love this lentil loaf recipe so much that I give out a copy of it to every client that I am working with. I am an RN working with Chronic Disease Management and the Stroke Clinic in my community. Every day I am helping folks sift through all sorts of health advice, rules and negotiating the positive changes necessary for improving their health. I can not think of a better way than introduce people to changing food choices than with this recipe. I encourage trying it as a personal challenge to try something new, knowing that this will produce a pleasurable and healthy loaf. I also share with folks that this same recipe makes great burger patties and “meatballs”. My husband who loves meat and is a fisherman by trade now asks for this as well and figures he could win bets with non-believers that this is a vegetarian loaf. It freezes beautifully so I always triple the batch for quick meals and lunches. Thank you so much for your hard work and planting the healthy seed of change in so many! Sincerely, Cheryl D

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Esmeralda February 15, 2016

I made the lentile loaf and like everyone says…its so yummy. I was wondering what the calorie count is.

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Angela Liddon February 25, 2016

Hi Esmeralda, I’m glad you liked the recipe! I haven’t calculated the calorie count for it, but you can use Nutrition Data or Calorie Count.com websites for free nutritional analyses. Hope this helps!

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Karen February 1, 2016

Another success using the book! We loved it. The only thing I did differently is I made the lentils and walnuts the day before and put all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. When I got home all I had to do was the veggies. The lentils sitting in the fridge overnight made the texture perfect so no need to process. Lovely, lovely supper!

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Caroline January 25, 2016

This is such a wonderful recipe. My husband is a meat and potatoes kind of guy and is always a bit weary of the vegan dinners I prepare but he loved loved loved this. As did I! I even made another loaf the next day to freeze.

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Kim January 20, 2016

What is the nutritional information for this recipe (without the apple)?

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mikaelah January 7, 2016

I made this last night and it is delicious – so today I am making it again – enough to freeze. This is the best ever meatloaf recipe – I am just delighted to have found it. I used baking cups for half the recipe and they popped out of those cups so easily. The brand is “If you Care” and they are unbleached and environmentally friendly – and they are like parchment paper – but not parchment. Anyway – the little muffins got gobbled up today – and just wanted you to know how much I appreciate all the care that you put into making this recipe.

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Jen Wi December 18, 2015

hey :) looove the look of this. but i’m not terribly keen on walnuts. i like nuts, just not of the wal variety! what nut would you recommend as a replacement? thanks!

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Megan January 11, 2016

This is one of my all time favourite recipes! I am also not keen on walnuts, and by not keen, I mean they make my mouth feel like it’s growing fur. Every time I’ve made this, I’ve used either cashews or almonds which work very well.

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Julie December 13, 2015

hi Angela,
I have made this several times over the last two years. It’s one of my most favorite dishes.

I want to serve this for Christmas. I have A frozen loaf in the freezer now, but I always struggle on rehearing it in a manner that doesn’t dry it out?

Please help!?

Thank you,
Julie

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Uma Davis November 30, 2015

Made this recipe for Thanksgiving and was a big hit! The leftovers were even better. We sliced and pan fried them for a crunchier texture. Paired well with Quinoa pilaf :-) Yummy! Thanks for the recipe.

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Alexandra November 30, 2015

Hello!

Love your site! I’ve been vegan for a while and hosted a couple of family functions, next up, Christmas for 20+ people. I was wondering if this recipe would also fare well with gravy?

Thanks! :)

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