Pinto and Red Lentil Loaf

It’s been over 6 months since I stopped eating meat and I can pretty much say I haven’t had a single craving for anything meaty except meat loaf. (It helps that Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo is amazing, I kind of got over bacon, and I’ve always liked veggie burgers and soy dogs more than the real thing.)

I was perusing tastespotting looking for something to do with the mammoth quantity of pinto beans we still have (I swear they’re multiplying), when I found this recipe for not-meat loaf. It looked good, but I changed some things up a bit, namely replacing the bread crumbs with oat bran and wheat germ because I had them on hand and they’re a little healthier, and skipping the TVP. I loved all the vegetables, and the cheddar cheese added richness (even if it’s not totally healthy).

It doesn’t have a completely firm texture…the inside was a little soft and reminiscent of refried beans, but it didn’t bother me because I could still slice it, and the flavor was amazing (especially with ketchup on top). If you want your loaf to be firm, you might try doubling the oat bran and wheat germ, or try using 1 cup of bread crumbs.

Recipe:
(adapted from Chef In You)

3/4 cup red lentils
2 cups water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 stalk celery, chopped (including the greens)
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 tbsp ketchup
1 15-oz can pinto beans (or 1 1/2 cups cooked, rinsed and drained pinto beans)
1 egg
2 tbsp oat bran
2 tbsp wheat germ
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 F, and grease a loaf pan.
Combine the lentils and water in a medium saucepan and boil (skimming off the foam) until they have completely disintegrated and the mixture is thick and creamy (about 30 minutes).
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium and add the chopped vegetables. Cook, stirring, until tender, about 6 minutes. Add about 1/2 tsp salt, then stir in the ketchup.
Put the vegetable mixture, pinto beans, and lentils in a food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, and mix in the egg, followed by the oat bran, wheat germ, and cheese.
Smooth this into the greased loaf pan, then bake for about an hour, or until firm. Remove from the oven, let stand for about 10 minutes, then slice to serve.

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