Classic Lentil 'Meatloaf' Recipe from Heaven's Banquet

Lentil Loaf, Vegan|Vegetarian Holiday recipe, Perfect for Thanksgiving

Lentil Loaf

Classic Lentil Loaf Recipe: perfect Thanksgiving recipe, delicious with cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and cashew gravy.

Gluten Free Option: Use short grain brown rice and gluten free bread instead of bulgar and whole wheat bread. Or use our lentil quinoa loaf recipe.

Adapted from 'Heaven's Banquet' Ayurvedic vegetarian cookbook by Miriam Hospadar - one of our favorite all purpose vegetarian cookbooks.

Total Prep & Cook Time: 70 min. + 1 hr soaking for the lentils

Yield: 8 Servings

Nutrition Data, 160g Serving (1 cup): 176 cal, 30g carb, 2g fat, fat cal 22, 163mg sodium, 10g fiber, 9g protein, 3g sugars, low Cholesterol, good source Vit A, C, Thiamin, Folate, Manganese. Estimated glycemic load 11


  • 1 cup brown lentils (200g)
  • 1/2 cup bulgar (100g)
  • Gluten Free Option: 1/2 cup short grain brown rice (100g)
  • 3 cups unsalted vegetable stock OR 3 c. water + 2 unsalted vegetable bouillon cubes (620g)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil (14g)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (6g)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced (6g)
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and grated (50g)
  • 1 stalk celery, diced (40g)
  • 1/2 cup minced red bell pepper (75g)
  • 1 tsp gr coriander (2g)
  • 1 tsp paprika (2g)
  • 1/2 tsp ground rosemary (.5g)
  • 1/2 tsp thyme (.5g)
Savvy Vegetarian Facebook Page
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted tomato paste (32g)
  • 1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce or Braggs liquid aminos (3g)
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs: tear 4 slices stale whole wheat bread into chunks, and whiz in a blender to make crumbs (45g)
  • Gluten Free Option: Use gluten free bread instead of wheat bread
  • Optional: Black pepper and salt to taste


  1. Cover the lentils in boiling water and let soak for one hour
  2. Drain lentils
  3. Bring lentils and bulgar (or short grain brown rice) to a boil in the vegetable stock, reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed. The lentils and bulgar should be the consistency of thick porridge at this point, with the lentils and bulgar quite soft. If not, add a bit more water and continue cooking
  4. Meanwhile, sauté the garlic and all the vegetables in the olive oil
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  6. Add the lentils and bulgar or rice, breadcrumbs, tomato paste, and tamari or Braggs to the sautéed vegetable. The mixture should be sticky and pliable, a bit like muffin batter, not doughy or stiff. If it seems too stiff or dry, add a bit more tomato paste or a Tbsp of oil or tahini.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste
  8. Cook for 5 - 10 minutes, stirring, until the mixture is quite thick. Skip this step if the mixture seems quite thick already
  9. Press mixture into the oiled loaf pan, and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes
  10. Serve with Cashew Gravy or Chickpea Gravy
Protein Ebook

Recipe Tips

You'll need a large (9 x 5 x 3) oiled GLASS loaf pan for this recipe, or two smaller pans. Make sure that the bread crumbs are soft and fresh, or the mixture may become too dry in cooking.

Time Saver Tip: Lentil loaf can easily be made ahead, covered and refrigerated, or frozen, then baked when needed. To make it even easier, store in the glass or ceramic baking pan - well covered.

If frozen, thaw before baking. Add ten minutes to the cooking time if the lentil loaf goes into the oven cold.

We like to make half the lentil loaf recipe in one pan, topped with BBQ Sauce, and the other half into Shepherd's Pie.

In keeping with holiday tradition, leftover lentil loaf tastes even better the next day!

Recipe Comments:

"Your lentil loaf went down (and stood up!) so well on Thanksgiving, I can't say enough in thanks. Great recipe!" Gina B.

Tofu Recipe Ebook

"My best friend is a vegetarian. I asked you for special things to cook for her at family gatherings. You suggested lentil loaf. Welllllll! Sara loves it!!! I make it for her as cupcakes. It makes 12. It takes a little longer to cook, but comes out in perfect single servings." Catherine M.

Hi! I made lentil loaf for thanksgiving, and it was very good. It didn't end up looking like the picture at all, though, and the slices fell apart very easily. Was the mixture too moist or not moist enough when I pressed it into the pan? And could it be because I used coarse bulgur instead of fine bulgur? I want to make it again but I'd like it to be a bit more moist and less dry next time. Thanks! Mari M.

Hi Mari, We haven't had that problem with this lentil loaf recipe - if anything it tends to be too moist. There are several factors that might make it dry:

  • Cooking the lentils and bulgar down too much
  • The bread crumbs being too dry
  • The oven being too hot (oven temps vary a lot from one oven to the next - 350 degrees F. is pretty much fictional
  • Very coarse bulgar might need more water and longer cooking. The lentils & bulgar should be soft and the consistency of thick porridge when they're done cooking
Quinoa Recipe Ebook

Question: Is it necessary to pre-soak the lentils? Most of my recipes (soups, stew) do not require that. Does the soaking ensure that the lentils are soft enough for the mixture to stick together? Also, I have leftover brown rice. Could that be used, and if so, how much (1 cup?) and when would I add that? Thanks! Looking forward to trying the recipe - Ellen R.

Answer: It isn't absolutely necessary to pre-soak lentils, but pre-soaking ensures even cooking, and shortens the cooking time. The lentils should be completely cooked but not mush. I add a 1/2 tsp of salt to the cooking water to keep them intact during cooking. You could use leftover brown rice. I'm not clear on the quantity. 1 - 1/2 cups? Start with one cup and see how the mixture holds together. Add it to the lentils about 10 minutes before the end of cooking to soften it up - Judith Kingsbury

Your comments & questions help improve our recipes, so don't be shy! Contact Us

Holiday Recipes To Go With Lentil Loaf:

More Lentil Recipes:

Brown Lentil Quinoa Vegetable Casserole
Pressure Cooker Ebook
Lentil Burgers Lentil Spaghetti Bolognese Sauce One Pot Lentil Borscht Quinoa French Lentil & Herb Salad Quinoa Lentil Patties Red Veggie Burgers (lentils, bulgar, mushrooms, beets) Back To Recipes Index Medical Disclaimer Privacy Policy Contact Us
Stumbleupon   Follow Savvy Veg On Twitter;   Join Savvy Veg on Facebook; Print
Pinterest   pin_it_button   Google+  
Stumbleupon   Follow Savvy Veg On Twitter;   Join Savvy Veg on Facebook; pinit_fg_en_round_red_32

Savvy Vegetarian