A fresh take on a Vegan Lentil Loaf for you! It’s made with a delicious blend of lentils, mushrooms and walnuts and has a beautifully festive cranberry topping. Those pops of juicy cranberry in every bite are so good, plus they make it look pretty impressive. It would make a great centrepiece on your holiday table!
Ah, it’s nearly Christmas! It’s only gone and crept up on me yet again. It happens every year. I think I have loads of time and then all of a sudden that time slips through my fingers and it’s here and I’m in a mad panic to get everything organized.
Because it’s the festive season, and it’s always super busy, I am always in need of recipes that feel festive but aren’t too difficult, and bonus points if they can be prepared ahead of the big day. And boy have I got all those points covered with this Mushroom Lentil Loaf with Cranberries recipe. It’s so good I’ve even included it in my Vegan Christmas Dinner Menu, Shopping List and Timeline. If you want your entire Christmas meal planned down to the tiniest detail for you then go check it out.
This new vegan meatloaf recipe is an adapted version of my very popular Vegan Meatloaf with Gravy recipe. If you have tried that and loved it then you will love this new Lentil Loaf too.
The Mushroom Lentil Loaf with Cranberries just screams festive. The juicy red cranberries make it look so pretty, plus those juicy pops of cranberry in every bite are so good.
As well as cranberries on top, there are dried cranberries through the actual body of the Lentil Loaf. They add a lovely chew and a little sweetness which is really good with the savoury loaf and the slightly tart cranberry topping.
What’s great too, is that because of the cranberry topping, you don’t need to serve cranberry sauce on the side so there’s one less thing to make and remember to put on the table.
HOW TO MAKE VEGAN LENTIL LOAF
This recipe involves quite a lot of chopping, but if you have a food processor it can all be done in minutes.
I have this one and absolutely love it:
When I make this recipe, just about the only thing I use a knife for is cutting the ends off the onion and peeling it. Everything else just gets thrown in here and pulsed until finely chopped. It couldn’t be easier!
First chop all of the vegetables and walnuts then add them to a large mixing bowl with the lentils.
Then add the breadcrumbs, ground flax, flour, grated apple and dried cranberries.
Then the seasoning, herbs and tamari.
Then mix it all up thoroughly.
Put some cranberries and sugar in a pan and warm over a medium heat until the sugar is starting to melt and they are beginning to just get juicy.
Line a loaf pan with a strip of parchment paper and pour in the cranberries.
Then pile on the Lentil Loaf mixture and pack it in very tightly.
At this stage it can be refrigerated for a couple of days or baked right away.
Here it is before baking:
And here it is after baking:
Once ready, it’s best to leave it in the tin to rest for 15-30 minutes. You will find that it cuts much better if you do this.
HOW TO SERVE VEGAN LENTIL LOAF
This Mushroom Lentil Loaf with Cranberries will make a wonderful addition to your Christmas or Thanksgiving meal, or just for a regular dinner.
I love to serve it with my Healthy No Oil Roasted Potatoes, steamed vegetables and lashings of gravy. It works really well with the gravy from my original meatloaf recipe here and also with my Red Wine Vegan Gravy.
It’s also awesome served with fluffy, buttery mashed potato or simply with lots of vegetables on the side.
THIS IS WHY I AM LOVING THIS MUSHROOM LENTIL LOAF WITH CRANBERRIES
- It looks so pretty and festive!
- It has that perfect balance of savoury, sweet and tart
- It’s easy to make
- It can be made ahead then cooked a few days later
- It’s comforting and satisfying
- It’s great eaten immediately but also reheats really well
- Leftovers are awesome thinly sliced in sandwiches, or on a plate with chutneys, pickles, crusty bread etc
Mushroom Lentil Loaf with Cranberries
- 1 small onion , chopped finely
- 2 cloves garlic ,chopped finely
- 198g / 1 cup cooked red lentils , weighed after cooking
- 198g / 1 cup cooked green lentils , I like to use French green lentils but any will work (weighed after cooking)
- 226g / 3 cups finely chopped mushrooms
- 62g / ½ cup walnut pieces
- 8 tablespoons / ½ cup ground flax seed , it must be ground not whole
- 45g / ½ cup flour , all purpose, oat, rice, spelt or wholewheat
- 75g / 1 very packed cup breadcrumbs (use gluten-free breadcrumbs if necessary). You can use store bought breadcrumbs, or let some bread go stale at home and either put it in a food processor or blender to turn it into crumbs. Leftover crumbs can be put in a bag or container in the freeer and used straight from frozen for other recipes.
- 70g / ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ large apple , grated (no need to peel)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 tablespoon tamari , or soy sauce, or coconut aminos
For the cranberry topping
- 200g / 2 cup cranberries , fresh or frozen
- 4 tablespoons sugar , not brown sugar or coconut sugar
- Preheat oven to 375°F
- Add all of the ingredients (except the fresh/frozen cranberries and sugar) to a very large bowl and stir really well until combined. I find it easier to use clean hands to scrunch it all together and mix it.
- Put the cranberries and the sugar in a small pan over a medium heat and just cook until the sugar is mostly dissolved and some juice is appearing in the bottom of the pan. It only takes 5 - 6 minutes. Then remove from the heat.
- Grease a 1lb or similar loaf pan (about 8.5 inch x 4.5 inch or 9inch x 5inch) and line it with a strip of baking parchment going along the middle. (See my picture above). Leave some paper overhanging as it will make turning it out easier.
- Spoon in the cranberries (you don't have to wait for them to cool down but be careful as the sugary liquid will be very hot) and even them out a bit with a spoon.
- Pack the lentil loaf mixture on the top. Really push it down all over and make sure it is even on the top.
- Place the loaf pan on a baking tray (just in case the cranberry liquid spills over) and bake for 1hr - 1 hr 10 minutes. It should be golden and crusty looking on the top and coming away from the edges. There will probably be a little jammy red liquid oozing over the edge too.
- Once done, leave to rest in the pan for 15-30 minutes (it will stay warm for up to an hour if you wrap it in some tin foil) before turning out and slicing. To turn it out, put a plate or board on top of it then flip it over so the plate/board ends up on the bottom. It will slide out really easily but if you do have any trouble you can give a little tug on the parchment paper to ease it out. Once it's out, gently peel back the parchment paper to reveal the pretty cranberry top.
- Don't soak them prior to cooking.
- Rinse in a sieve with fresh water to remove any dust or debris.
- Cook on a stovetop, using 3 cups of liquid (water, stock) to 1 cup of dry lentils. Be sure to use a large enough saucepan as the lentils will double or triple in size.
- Bring to a boil, cover tightly, reduce heat to low and simmer until they are tender.
- For whole lentils, cook time is usually about 15-20 minutes.
- For split red lentils, cook time is typically only about 5 minutes.
- Spoon a couple out and taste them to check done-ness periodically and as soon as they are ready, drain and leave to cool.
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