I'll admit, I sometimes find lentil loaves a little dry, and a little bland - but this easy vegan lentil loaf is anything but! It couldn't be simpler to make (basically: cook the lentils; mix; bake; eat), and it packs huge flavour. Plus, it's soft and moist in the middle, and perfectly crispy around the edges. It's perfect served with some mashed potatoes and a bit of gravy!
This simple vegan lentil loaf would make an amazing vegetarian main course for Christmas or Thanksgiving - or just any other cosy Sunday lunch throughout the year.
The recipe makes a good sized loaf - enough for about 6 people, so it's just the thing to serve to guests, and carve up in the centre of your dinner table. Everyone loves a centrepiece, right?
❤️ Why You'll Love This Recipe
- It's an easy recipe that you can make any day of the year, but it also feels special enough for a celebration (perhaps Christmas dinner!).
- The flavours in this vegan lentil loaf are wonderful - although you could easily adapt the recipe to use different spices, or different vegetables, if you prefer.
- Any leftovers keep really well, and can easily be reheated in the microwave.
- We vegetarians don't need to miss out on the usual roast dinner trimmings, like roast potatoes and gravy - this lentil loaf will sit alongside them beautifully!
Here's what you'll need to make this recipe. You'll also need a few cupboard staples, like oil, salt and pepper. See the printable recipe card below for detailed ingredient quantities.
- red lentils. Unlike some other kinds of lentils, red lentils cook down nice and soft, and they bring a lovely moist texture to the loaf.
- red onion
- carrot - I grated my carrot into the loaf mixture, but you could dice it nice and small instead, if you'd prefer a chunkier texture.
- veggie stock - I used a stock cube, but jelly stock or liquid stock would be fine too.
- herbs and spices - dried thyme, smoked paprika, curry powder and ground cumin. The flavours are delicious, but will still blend in nicely with the other elements of your meal.
- fresh chives
🔄 Ingredient Changes
Feel free to make this recipe your own - it's really easy to customise with extra vegetables. As long as you don't add so many extras that they stop the loaf from holding together properly, you should be fine.
You could try adding:
- grated courgette (zucchini)
- frozen peas
- frozen sweetcorn
- sautéed mushrooms (finely diced)
- chopped green beans
- sautéed diced peppers
Different combinations of vegetables will bring different flavours and textures to the lentil loaf, so why not try something new each time!
The only 'unusual' equipment you'll need to make this vegan loaf is a loaf tin (it's kind of in the name) - nothing too crazy, but it's something you probably don't use every day, and you may not already have one if you're new to cooking.
My loaf tin measures around 9 x 5 inches, and it's made of metal (rather than ceramic). I find metal tins are best for spreading the heat around the whole loaf, and giving a nice crispy crust.
Here's how to make this recipe - see below for the printable recipe with detailed ingredients and instructions.
Step 1: Begin by cooking the carrot and onion with all the spices, then simmering with the red lentils until it's all cooked down into a seriously tasty mixture.
Step 2: Mix in some oats, to thicken up the mixture.
Step 3: Spread the mixture into a well oiled loaf tin, and bake until crispy.
Step 4: Carefully turn the lentil loaf out onto a board. As you can see, the front corner of my loaf crumbled ever so slightly, but generally this loaf holds together really well! The metal tin definitely helps to give a crispy crust, which makes the loaf more stable.
Step 5: Slice, and serve.
👌 Top tip
If you've got a bit left after your meal, thin slices of leftover lentil loaf make a really amazing vegetarian sandwich filling!
💭 Recipe FAQs
No, you need red lentils for this recipe. They cook down to be a lot softer than brown or green lentils, which helps to hold the loaf together, and also gives the loaf its soft, moist texture.
Everyone's definition of 'healthy' is different, but this vegan lentil loaf is high in fibre and protein, and very low in saturated fat and cholesterol, so that makes it a pretty healthy option in my view.
Yes! Just prepare the mixture and transfer it to the loaf tin, then store it in the fridge until you're ready to bake it. It will take slightly longer to bake if it's cold from the fridge.
I prefer using the microwave to reheat leftover lentil loaf. It does lose a little of its crispiness this way, but it's quick and convenient, and makes sure the loaf doesn't dry out.
📖 Printable Recipe
Easy Vegan Lentil Loaf
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- 1 red onion, diced fairly small
- 1 medium carrot, grated
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon mild curry powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 200 g (~ 1 cup) dried red lentils
- 1 litre (~ 4 cups) vegetable stock
- 150 g (~ 1 ½ cups) rolled oats
- Small bunch fresh chives, chopped
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan (not frying pan), and add the diced onion, grated carrot and minced garlic. Cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes, until slightly softened.
- Add the smoked paprika, curry powder, thyme, cumin and black pepper, and cook for a further minute or two. If you’re planning to use low sodium stock, you might also want to add a little salt.
- Next, add the red lentils and the veggie stock. Bring to a simmer, and cook for around 20 minutes, stirring regularly, until the lentils are soft. Towards the end of the cooking time, preheat the oven to 180°C (Gas Mark 4 / 350°F).
- Next add the oats and chopped chives, and mix thoroughly to combine. The mixture should be moist, but not runny.
- Thoroughly oil a metal loaf tin (mine measured 9 x 5 inches), and transfer the mixture to the tin. Smooth out the top of the mixture until flat.
- Place in the centre of the oven and cook for around 40 minutes, until golden brown and crispy. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before turning out the loaf and slicing.
Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on your exact ingredients. Please calculate your own nutritional values if you require accuracy for health reasons.