Lentil and Bean “Meatloaf”

By DK on Dec 04, 2009
Vegetarian Meat Loaf (lentils and bean) recipe
I received a recipe request from a dear reader 'Neha Vaswani' for a vegetarian alternative to the classic meat loaf recipe. I had never made a loaf per se which did not involve flour or a wholegrain in a prominent role. So set about checking out various recipes. This Lentil and Bean loaf is IT. We loved it so much and it was an instant hit. This recipe is inspired from various meat loaf recipes available online. I had decided from the get go that I was going to use red lentils for this recipe. I mean its easier to cook, its hearty and I thought it would provide the required 'body' to the recipe. But what about Protein?. Meat has so much protein.
Vegetarian Meat Loaf (lentils and bean) recipe
I thought adding beans would give that protein kick this dish needs and also help in the binding of the recipe without using eggs (for those not wanting to use eggs for this recipe). If you desire, you can also add 2 slightly beaten egg whites to this recipe.I had Pinto Beans in my pantry, hence went for it. Another protein enriching factor I went for was TVP - Textured Vegetable Protein ( or Soya chunks as available in Indian stores). Instead of using whole wheat bread crumbs which I normally do, I used whole grain and flax bread to make my bread crumbs (Omega-3 power enrichment) along with some vegetables (of course). Vegetarian Meat Loaf (lentils and bean) recipe What is a meat loaf without cheese? hence added some cheddar to the mixture. The result was mind blowing. It had a crusty surface and insides were deliciously moist. For a minute I wondered if I would have to make something else for dinner since I only had some bowl of soup along with it!! I kept some steamed rice just in case - but believe me when I say this - this loaf filled us up like crazy! My rice was hardly touched. I will be sure to make this again.
Basic Information
Prep Time: 30 min to 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 min to 1 hour
Serves: 4 people
Yield: Makes one 9X5 inch loaf - about 4-6 servings
  • 1 celery, chopped (including the greens)
  • 1 carrot,grated
  • 1 onion,chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 15-oz can pinto beans
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1/4 cup TVP ( or soy chunks)
  • 1 cup freshly made wholegrain and flax bread crumbs ( or use wholewheat bread crumbs or you can add ground flax seeds to the mixture)
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese,grated
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp cumin-coriander powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder (or as per taste)
  • salt to taste
  • 2-1/2 - 3 cups vegetable broth/water
Clean the red lentils in cold water until the water runs clear. Place it in a pan along with the vegetable broth (start with 2-1/2 cups) and cook until cooked.
Vegetarian Meat Loaf (lentils and bean) recipe
Add the soy chunks to it and let it cook for another 4-5 minutes until the soy chunks get soft.
Vegetarian Meat Loaf (lentils and bean) recipe
Make sure that this mixture is mushy and does not have excess liquid.
Vegetarian Meat Loaf (lentils and bean) recipe
In a skillet, in 1 tsp of olive oil, saute the onions along with salt. When soft, add the carrots, celery, red bell pepper and cook until the vegetables get soft. Another 3-4 minutes. Now add the ketchup, tomato paste along with spices. Cook until the rawness of the tomato paste goes away.
Vegetarian Meat Loaf (lentils and bean) recipe
Process this mixture along with beans into a paste.
Vegetarian Meat Loaf (lentils and bean) recipe
Add this to the cooked lentils (its mushy and does not need to be processed).
Vegetarian Meat Loaf (lentils and bean) recipe
Now add the cheese and bread crumbs and mix well until blended. You can at this point taste this mixture to see if the seasoning is enough for your taste. Add more salt/pepper if you desire (or some cayenne pepper to increase the hotness of the dish).
Vegetarian Meat Loaf (lentils and bean) recipe
Transfer this to a greased loaf pan. Level the top.
Vegetarian Meat Loaf (lentils and bean) recipe
Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 1 hour. You will see the surface of the loaf looking crusty and sort of dry (but it actually provides a nice crunch).
Vegetarian Meat Loaf (lentils and bean) recipe
Cool a little bit, remove from pan, cut it into slices and serve - either warm or cold as per your preference. Update: I got quite a few queries asking me what to do if the loaf does not set and remains too moist even after baking. If your insides do not harden enough to form into a loaf, just place the loaf pan in the fridge for 1 hour or so. It will harden and you will be able to cut them like a loaf. You can always re heat the cut slices in the oven for few minutes (or m/w) before serving in such a case. We personally liked it warm. Its moist, hearty with the bean and lentils complementing each other well. Vegetarian Meat Loaf (lentils and bean) recipe The cheese adds a delicious moistness to the loaf. In short this is a healthy protein rich dish. This dish finds its way to Srivalli's My Legume Love Affair Event, original brainchild being Susan from Well-Seasoned Cook Vegetarian Meat Loaf (lentils and bean) recipe
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44 Responses to “Lentil and Bean “Meatloaf””
  1. Rebecca

    by “1 celery” do you mean a stick of celery or a heart

  2. Ambika

    This sounds soo nice. But can I replace the beans and several of the spices with leftover kidney bean curry? I have some left and was not looking forward to eating it. :(

  3. BK

    Thanks for this lovely recipe.
    What can we use to sub the TVP ( or soy chunks)?

  4. Allison

    Love this recipe! I actually didn’t have pinto beans on hand so I used Kidney beans the 1st time I made this. I later tried it with the pinto and my whole family agreed it was better with the kidney beans, so we use kidney now. We omit the cheese all together and its still great. My husband (who usually gives my vegan dishes a solid 4 or 5 on the taste scale) gave this a 9! And with a bit of catchup my 3 kiddos eat it right up!

  5. Nancy

    Does this freeze well? I’m the only vegetarian in the house so there would be a lot left over.

  6. Jennifer

    I made this tonight and love it. I left out the TVP because I didn’t want anything processed in the loaf but that didn’t seem to affect the taste which was super fantastic!!! I made these in mini loaf pans so that I could freeze the leftovers but everyone loved it so much that there wasn’t much left to freeze. Thank you.

  7. Fritzi Schnitzer

    Cheese is a slaughterhouse product.

    Not the vegetarian cheese :)

  8. Sara

    I really liked the flavor but my husband said it tasted “too much like bean dip.” I think I might modify the next time by not adding the beans and maybe more TVP (for more meaty texture) and maybe an egg or two to help solidify. Mine did not solidify, although it did the next day. This might be a good make and freeze dish for that reason. Since the veggies are pureed beyond all recognition, I might also find a frozen veg blend to make this easy on a weeknight (like frozen mushrooms and bell peppers).

  9. Rashmi

    This recipe looks yummy!! My son is allergic to red lentils. What is the substitute for it? I really want to make this recipe. Thanks…

  10. Aarthi

    Hi DK, After going through this recipe 2 more doubts come to my mind which need clarifying. Firstly, if I do not find canned beans, what is the substitute I can do? Suppose I use pre-soaked beans,at home- then what is the quantity I must use for this recipe?
    Secondly, what is the temperature I need to set for the oven to bake this? Is any preheating required for the oven before preparing this too? Thanks and looking forward to your replies :-P

    1/2 cup dry beans (any type you prefer – chickpeas, kidney beans etc). The Oven temp is in step 9

  11. Aarthi

    Hi DK, This looks soooo delicious, I am surely going to make it this week. Just need a clarification. By red lentils, did you mean Masoor Dal? Coz I havent seen anything else remotely red in lentils..Please clarify?

    Yes, its masoor dal –DK

  12. Izabela

    Yum! This is great – my 14 month old does not eat veggies, but will eat anything remotely resembling a loaf! Genius!! Thank you!

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