This is a dish I’ve been making for quite some time. Growing up, meatloaf was a staple in our house. My mom cooked my paternal grandmother’s recipe at least once a month, if not more often. It always had that delicious, yummy drizzle of ketchup on top. And compared to many recipes out there, it utilizes rice instead of bread crumbs! I love the texture that the rice gives the meatloaf, and have carried on the tradition of my grandmother’s recipe, with a few changes.
When I first switched my eating focus toward plant-based products, I thought about how I could alter all of my favorite comfort food recipes. I made enchiladas with pinto beans instead of chicken. I substituted extra mushrooms and barley in a typical stew. And I started cooking with lentils. My two favorite comfort food recipes using lentils are sloppy joes and meatloaf. I make them just like I’d make the versions with ground beef, but I simply plug in cooked lentils instead!
Every few weeks I will cook for my parents at their house. My dad has enjoyed many of my meatless dishes. When I presented him with lentil sloppy joes, he tolerated. When I made him lentil “meat”loaf, he very politely told me I crossed the line. I guess you don’t mess with his mom’s recipes. I’m sure he longs for the days when my own mom would drench our brussel sprouts in jarred “cheese.” While my own father has respectively rejected this recipe, I still think it’s delicious, healthy, and a great “Meatless Monday” alternative for all of you out there that don’t want to stray too far from you usual.
4 c. cooked lentils
2 c. rice (white or brown, your choice)
1 tbsp. butter or olive oil
1/2 a white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves
1 whole egg
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. basil
tomato paste or ketchup to top
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mash the cooked lentil slightly, breaking down a portion of them. Combine them with the rice and stir together.
In a sauce pan, saute the onion and garlic in your choice of butter or olive oil until tender and the onions are translucent. Combine the cooked onions/garlic with the lentil mixture. Add the egg, tomato paste, and seasonings. Mix until combined. I highly recommend using your hands to get everything good and integrated!
Pour the mixture into a loaf pan. Top with a spread of tomato paste, or ketchup if you’re a purist. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the loaf appears solid and the tomato/ketchup on top has lost much of its moisture.
The mashed potatoes, I hope, are self-explanatory. I will say, don’t be afraid to play around with your additions. Sometimes I like to just add a bit of milk as I’m mashing them. Tonight, I added a tbsp. of sour cream, because I had it in the fridge! If you have some cheese lying around, use that. Have fun! Make sure to season ’em up with some salt and pepper.
The brussel sprouts are not covered in artificial cheese, like they were when my mom taught us to eat our vegetables, but they’re still delicious. These are very simple, and tasty. After washing them, cut the base off of your sprouts, cutting each in half. While doing so, boil a pot of water. Once boiling, blanch the brussel sprouts (boil them from 2-3 minutes), then drain them completely of water. Transfer the brussel sprouts to an oven-safe baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees (can be done at the same time as the lentil “meat”loaf) from 20-30 minutes, or until cooked and crispy.