Potluck suppers often inspire me to create something new. This latest recipe sprang from an invitation to a multicultural musical birthday party. Wanting to use some of the several kilo of red lentils given me by a friend, I went for a walk and pondered possibilities. How to make a dish with red lentils that could be both finger-food, and plate food? Dahl and lentil soup were out of the question! Some sort of loaf, or muffins would serve; tho a savory dish was in order, so definitely not lentil brownies!
Steel-Cut Oats and Chia Seeds Add Amino Acids and Stick it all Together
How to make it stick together without using lots of eggs? Cooked steel-cut oats are like glue; that works! They also offer amino acids that lysine-rich lentils lack, making them a good complement to build a complete protein. Add a few chia seeds to absorb excess moisture – along with hemp and sunflower seeds – all bringing more complementary amino acids, and this lentil loaf starts to have some chew, and delivers a good amount of protein! Throw in a little quinoa – a complete protein by itself – to add some texture, a few bread crumbs to build some body – and slices of this loaf might even stand-up!
I Want the Recipe!
The resulting lentil loaf was well received. One woman said: “It’s like bread, but it isn’t.” People kept asking: “What’s in it? How did you make it?” When I started to list the ingredients, and someone said: “Wait a minute, I want to write this down!” I said: “Okay – I’ll put the recipe on my website.”
Here’s the recipe, and method, as close as I can remember.
First turn on the oven, and preheat to 350 F!
Start by cooking these dry ingredients (Although I cooked these each in their own pot, making for 3 dirty saucepans to wash, you can try cooking them all in the same pot if you want, adding each ingredient about 5 minutes apart. Tho the oats really do need to be stirred a lot while cooking, whereas the quinoa and lentils are best left just to simmer.)
- 1 and 1/4 cups dry red lentils (cook in 3 1/2 cups water with a pinch of salt, in a fairly large saucepan. all will eventually end up in this pot for mixing, so you need at least a 2 litre saucepan. Bring to boil, and reduce to simmer and cook, uncovered until all water in gone – about 30-40 minutes.)
- 1/4 cup uncooked steel cut oats (cook in about a cup of water, and pinch of salt, bring to boil, reduce to simmer, stir occasionally, yet vigorously, to prevent sticking. cook until it’s a thick, sticky mass. About 15-20 minutes.)
- 1/4 cup uncooked quinoa (cook in about a cup of water, pinch salt, bring to boil, reduce to simmer and let cook uncovered until all water is gone. about 10-15 minutes.)
While they are cooking, saute together in about 2 T olive oil:
- 1 medium onion – finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic – minced
- 1 medium size sweet potato – diced into 1/4 – 1/2 inch cubes
- 2-3 cups finely diced raw rainbow chard, or similar vegetable
When all are cooked, mix all together in the lentil saucepan and add:
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1/4 cup hemp seeds
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup engevita yeast
- 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs (or similar)
- 1 tsp dry, rubbed sage
- 1-2 tsp dried dill (how much depends on the dill you have!)
- 1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp ketchup
- 1 Tbsp dried rosemary sprig
- 1 Tbsp hot red chillies (adjust quantity to taste preference)
- 2-3 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2-3 tsp salt
Leaveners and Binder
- 1 well beaten egg (vegans can replace with mashed linseed, or similar binder)
- 1 tsp baking soda (vegans may want to replace this baking powder and oil)
Prep Your Pans
Oil your loaf pans with about tablespoon olive oil each, and sprinkle with sunflower seeds so the bottom of the pan is completely covered with one layer only. These will form a topping when you turn the loaf out of the pan.
This recipe made enough mixture for 5 mini-loaf pans (5 X 3.5 inches each)
Bake in 350 F oven for about an hour. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick in centre of loaf pan. If it comes out clean, your loaves are cooked.
Let stand and cool a little, to firm up – yet remove from pan while still warm by sliding a knife around the inside edge and turning them out gently. They will easily slide out of the pan, with nice sunflower seed bottoms, which are now the tops.
Each mini loaf serves 2 people as a main protein dish, delivering 19 grams of protein per serving, with 14.5 grams of fat in 350 calories. Not bad at all for a plant-based protein loaf.