Recipe Sprouted Lentil Loaf with 3 Easy Sauce Options
December 09, 2020
Our Sprouted Lentil Loaf Recipe with 3 Easy Sauce Options is where comfort meets convenience. This hearty, healthy, and happy dish is bursting with flavours of nostalgia, while also calling upon staple kitchen ingredients and different bakeware options for a make-ahead and freezer-friendly meal.
The nutrition-enhancing and flavour-improving benefits of sprouting go beyond whole grain bread. Try it with lentils! Beyond being more nutritious, sprouted lentils in this dish is what gives this loaf a little more texture and flavour.
Because this recipe calls for sprouted lentils, prep begins three days before dinner.
Start by soaking your lentils overnight. After soaking, rinse your lentils twice a day, and drain completely to keep your sprouts in a clean and moist environment as they grow. For a how-to on all things sprouted, see our guide in Part 3 of our FREE Why Sprouted Handbook.
(Although we think all the goodness sprouting brings is worth the wait, see below for a tip on how to make this dish without sprouted lentils)
3 Easy Ways to Get a Little Saucy
Glaze your loaf with one of our three easy sauce options using condiments, leftover cranberry sauce, or dried fruit likely found in your kitchen. We suggest:
- Classic ketchup (some things never go out of style!)
- Cranberry sauce (canned works, or try our stunningly simple Cranberry Orange Chia Relish recipe!)
- Our Easy Tamarind Apricot Chutney (get the recipe below!)
Try it Sliced or Shaped
Bake your lentil loaf in a traditional loaf pan or try it with a muffin tin!
Muffin tins provide perfect portions for kids’ smaller appetites, but also double up well for grown-ups and hungry teens. Because this recipe freezes well, when made in muffin tins, smaller portions can be defrosted and heat up faster than a whole loaf. This makes them perfect for busy weeknights, a great dinner for one, or the perfect size to make into a sandwich!
Start sprouting! Whole grains are healthy and sprouting makes what’s already healthy about whole grains even better.
For the Sprouted Lentil Loaf:
- 2 cups sprouted green lentils (or sprouted brown lentils)
- 2 cups sweet potatoes (about 3 medium (about 500g / 1 lb total)), peeled and sliced into rounds (or diced for faster roasting)
- 3 cups brown mushrooms , thinly sliced
- 2 cups nuts (we used walnuts; pecans or a mix of your choice would work, too)
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 2 Tbsp olive oil , divided
- 2 Tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ – ½ cup vegetable stock (as needed for processing)
- 2 Tbsp thyme (fresh or dried)
- 1 cup breadcrumbs (we made our sprouted breadcrumbs from Silver Hills Bakery Big Red’s Bread™)
- 4 Tbsp tomato paste
- ½ tsp salt (or more to taste)
- ½ tsp ground pepper (or more to taste)
For the Easy Tamarind Apricot Chutney:
- ½ medium onion , finely diced
- 1 tsp fresh ginger , grated or finely minced
- 1 cup apple juice
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp sugar
- ½ tsp chili flakes (or more to taste)
- 1 cup dried apricots , chopped
- 1 Tbsp tamarind concentrate (see our tips below for alternatives)
For the Sprouted Lentil Loaf:
- Sprout lentils three days before dinner.
- Prepare your sprouted breadcrumbs using your favourite Silver Hills sprouted bread and our fast and easy Sprouted Breadcrumb recipe.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. If using a loaf pan, line with a strip of parchment. If using muffin tins, brush or spray generously with olive oil (or use silicone liners) and set aside.
- Roast sweet potatoes on a parchment lined baking sheet until tender and lightly browned (about 20 minutes; rounds will take longer than diced by a few minutes).
- Sauté mushrooms over medium heat with a tablespoon of olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. When almost soft, add the vegan Worcestershire sauce, and cook until mushrooms are soft, stirring frequently until the mixture is nicely caramelized. Remove pan from heat.
- Pulse nuts in a food processor until they form a loose crumble. Then pulse the sweet potatoes, mushrooms, lentils, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste (about 10 – 15 pulses). Do not purée. Aim for a coarse mixture that still has texture—you should still have some whole lentils and be able to distinguish bits of nuts, sweet potato and mushroom. To avoid over-processing, pulse in batches if your food processor is too small to allow the ingredients at the top of the bowl to process before the bottom is puréed.
- In a big bowl, stir together Worcestershire and tomato paste. Mix in sprouted breadcrumbs until it comes together.
- Remove half the lentil mixture from your food processor and add it to your breadcrumbs, folding to incorporate.
- Process the remaining half of the lentil mixture in your food processor with a splash of veggie broth. You still don’t want to go all the way to baby food purée—aim for a texture closer to a vegetable pâté, not a smooth paste.
- Add the rest of the lentil mixture into the breadcrumb mixture, and fold together, adjust flavours to taste.
- Portion mixture into loaf pans or muffin tins. Glaze with your choice of classic ketchup, cranberry sauce, or Easy Tamarind Chutney. Spread your glaze evenly over the entire top of the loaf or each muffin. (The glaze seals the loaf and helps prevent it from drying out).
To Bake the Sprouted Lentil Loaf:
- For muffin tins: 35 – 40 minutes.
- For loaf pans: 40 – 50 minutes (depending on how deep and full your loaf pan is)*
- * We split our full recipe batch between one loaf pan and six muffin tins. That made our lentil loaf shallower and gave it a similar cook time to our muffin tin loaves.
- If you fill your loaf pan with the full batch, your cook time will be longer. If your loaf needs more time, but your glaze is done, cover your loaf pan with foil to keep the glaze from burning or drying out while your loaf finishes cooking.
- For faster loaf cook times, split the batch between two loaf pans and bake two smaller, shallower loaves instead of one deeper one.
- Watch smaller loaves and muffin tins at the 40-minute mark—you want them moist and set in the middle, with slightly crunchy but still tender edges. (As every ingredient is fully cooked before you put it in the loaf pan, it’s better to bake these a little under than over. Dry lentil loaf has few fans.)
- When done, remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from your loaf pan or muffin tins. The loaf should separate slightly from the edges of either type of pan when fully cooked but run a knife around any edges that haven’t pulled away from the pan before gently removing.
- Cut your lentil loaf into generous slices—or portion muffin-sized loaves for your family’s appetites—and serve with extra ketchup, cranberry sauce, or chutney on the side. Enjoy!
For the Tamarind Apricot Chutney:
- In a small pot, sauté diced onion with grated ginger over medium heat until onions are translucent and starting to brown, and ginger is fragrant.
- Add apple juice and apple cider vinegar, paprika, cumin, chili flakes, of sugar and salt and pepper to taste, and stir to combine.
- Stir in chopped dried apricots and tamarind concentrate. Use an immersion blender to blend until thick and jammy. If you don’t have one, transfer chutney to a blender carefully. Cover the top of the blender with a tea towel (if yours has a hole in the lid with a removable cover, use the lid with the hole cover out and cover with a tea towel to allow some steam to escape while you blend and keep any splatter mess contained).
- Remove pan from heat and set aside until your Sprouted Lentil Loaf is ready to glaze. (Have leftover Tamarind Apricot Chutney after glazing your loaf? Serve some alongside for those who like things extra saucy. Or store in a clean jar or container in the fridge for up to a week—it’s as good on toast as it is alongside rice or savoury dishes!)
Try these handy tips!
Use What You Have:
- Don’t have dried apricots or tamarind concentrate? Use up a half jar of apricot jam and a couple spoonfuls of HP Sauce or tamarind chutney in the back of the fridge (barbecue sauce also pairs beautifully with apricot jam as a sweet and savoury glaze).
- Using canned cranberry sauce? Give it a little extra zing and sophistication with a splash of balsamic vinegar.
- Other jams and jellies could work, too—get bold and experiment with what you’ve got in the fridge. We haven’t tried it ourselves, but we’ve heard grape jelly makes a deliciously kid-friendly lentil loaf topping.
Make Ahead and Freeze:
- Pop muffin tin lentil loaves out of the pan and put them in a ziptop bag or stack in a container. The rounded edges mean less surface area to stick together, so you shouldn’t need to pry them apart to defrost and reheat them later.
- Made the loaf? Separate spare slices with parchment before freezing.
Avoid Double Trouble with Sprouted Lentils:
- Sprouted lentils triple or quadruple in volume from dried! To get the 2 cups of sprouted lentils for this recipe, use a heaping half cup to 2/3 cup dried lentils. (If you measure and sprout 2 cups dried, be prepared to double the recipe and eat sprouted lentil salad all week!)
Make it Speedier than Sprouted:
- Don’t have sprouted lentils ready to go? This recipe is our sprouted adaptation of Minimalist Baker’s Vegan Lentil Nut “Meat” Loaf. You can use cooked green or brown lentils in place of the sprouts. The texture will be a little different (sprouted lentils are firmer and a little more assertive in flavour), but your speedier dinner will still be delicious. We think our sprouted version is worth the wait!
Pick and Prepare Your Pans: Glass or metal? The difference can impact how you cook your sprouted lentil loaf.
- Glass is an insulator. It is slower to heat up, but retains the heat once it reaches temperature. This can result in over-browned edges and a very crispy loaf bottom if you’re not careful.
- Metal is a conductor. It will heat up much quicker, meaning the initial cooking phase happens at a higher temperature, which can help prevent over-browning. We recommend using a metal, parchment lined pan if you have one. Don’t fret if all you’ve got is glass. Keep an eye on it at the 35-minute mark. If the edges look done before the middle has set, lower the temperature of your oven to 325℉, cover with foil, and watch it closely to avoid over-baking.
- Line your loaf pan with parchment for perfect browning and easier cleanup. Cut a long strip of parchment so it overhangs both sides (or both ends) of the loaf pan. This will give you parchment handles to lift the cooked loaf out of the pan easily for slicing! The trick? Make sure your loaf isn’t too juicy so soggy parchment doesn’t fail on the final lift-off. Be sure to cook the moisture out of your mushrooms and roast your sweet potatoes well.