A hearty plant-based dinner idea that will satisfy even meat-eaters! A Vegan Cauliflower Lentil Loaf that mimics the classic meatloaf with no meat, gluten-free, nut-free, and soy-free! Get all your protein and veggies in this healthy recipe!
With Thanksgiving approaching at the speed of light, meal preparation is already underway! Some of us like to plan the ultimate classic menu with all the trimmings, others like to go potluck or buffet style, and others enjoy trying new and modern dishes on their page long menu. I think we all try to create some dishes so everyone can have at least something they love. We all know food allergies and diet restrictions have made that very proteinate over the past few years.
It’s easy to have plenty of side dishes that fit our diet needs, but the main event can be a bit trickier. I don’t eat turkey and I’ve been known to just make some chicken for myself instead. Usually, I go for a vegan option on the holidays, though. I just like to change it up for at least one dish each year and usually, that’s the main event.
Last year I made this here cauliflower lentil loaf after many years of wanting to try the vegan loaf crave for myself. One of those things that took me so long to try and now I kick myself over not trying it sooner! I always hated that so many recipes were nut-based (so calorie dense and expensive!), soy-based (no tofu, please), or were non-vegan lentil loafs (eggs will not due!)
I knew I had 2 major components that would not let me down when making my first veggie-loaf. Legumes and cauliflower. A great dose of plant-based proteins plus all that veggie goodness (in addition to pepper and onion!) Veggie loaves are such a great option to get those plant-based skeptics to try! The never-fail goodness of lentils and cauliflower I knew would be a surefire way to make a “meaty” success!
When I brought this loaf with me to our family’s Thanksgiving feast, I was hoping everyone would try (I usually have to force them to branch out a little into foodie-world). They did and they loved it (just as much as me!) I even had to leave my grandparents some leftovers to savor in the coming days. Which, by the way, this cauliflower lentil loaf tastes great as leftovers! You could eat it cold, hot, mashed up and thrown in a sauce with some pasta. Endless!
Of course, you may have noticed that shiny red glaze on top! “Meatloaf” is NEVER complete without the red ketchup sauce! I made this ketchup glaze with just a hint of smokiness to really take this humble loaf over the top in a subtle way! So let’s get those blenders out and oven on! We have a Cauliflower Lentil Loaf to make!
Cauliflower Lentil Loaf
- 1 Cup Cooked Brown Lentils (1/2 cup dry)
- 3 Cups Raw Riced Cauliflower
- 1 Cup Chopped Sweet Onion
- 2 Cups Chopped Bell Pepper
- 2 TB Nutritional Yeast
- 1 Tsp Minced Garlic
- 1 Tsp Dijon Mustard
- ½ Tsp Smoked Paprika
- ½ Tsp Cumin
- ¼ Tsp Black Pepper
- ¼ Tsp Chipotle Powder
- Ketchup Glaze:
- ⅓ Cup Unsweetened Homemade Ketchup
- 1 Tsp Liquid Smoke (I used hickory flavor)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- To prep: Saute the chopped onion and pepper in a skillet on the stove for a few minutes to soften. Rice the cauliflower in a food processor until you have 3 crumbled cups. Squeeze the crumbles with a towel to release excess water. Cook the lentils according to package and let cool.
- In a large food processor combine all the ingredients for the loaf and process until combined (not smooth, just mixed well).
- Line a 9x5 loaf pan with parchment paper and press in the loaf mixture into the pan and smooth out the top.
- In a small bowl, mix the ketchup and liquid smoke together and then spread it evenly over the top of the pressed loaf.
- Bake the loaf in the oven for 40-45 minutes.
- Let cool before slicing and serving.
Doesn’t it look like a “meatloaf”? I actually never had much meatloaf growing up, but the few times I did, I loved it! I would always get it out at restaurants and you can bet my favorite part was ALL the ketchup sauce on top! I’m glad I can have “meatloaf” again! I’m pretty sure I may be one of the only people who wishes their mom had made meatloaf for family dinners 😛 I digress! We can loaf-on now! Make and take this to your next big family gathering and wow them all with this delectable, hearty, Vegan, Cauliflower Lentil Loaf!
So tell me:
+ Did you have meatloaf growing up? Did you like it?
+ Do you like to change up the main event or side dishes for a food/family holiday dinner?
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