198g / 1cupcooked split red lentils(measured after cooked)- do not overcook the lentils. They should be just soft. Red Lentils don't take long to cook at all and if they are overcooked and soggy it will make the meatloaf soggy. For tips on cooking see recipe notes.
198g / 1cupcooked green lentils(measured after cooked)- do not overcook the lentils or the meatloaf will end up soggy. They need to be just tender. For tips on cooking see recipe notes.
226g / 3cupsmushrooms, finely chopped (measured after chopping). White, button, cremini (brown) or portobello are all fine to use.
62g / ½cupwalnut pieces, To make nut-free you can sub the walnuts for half a cup of oats or half a cup of sunflower seeds
Make sure the onion, garlic & mushrooms are chopped finely. If you have a food processor you can do this in there with the regular blade.
Put them in a large bowl then add all other meatloaf ingredients except the water.
Mix very, very well together. There is a lot of it and it is hard to mix with a spoon so it's much easier to get your hands in there and squidge it all together well.
You need it so that it sticks together nicely when you squeeze it with your hands. If it does this easily then don't add any water. If it's still a little crumby and wont come together add water very gradually until it just starts coming together. I often need no water at all. Definitely don't add more water than it needs or it will make the loaf soggy.
Lay a strip of parchment paper down the length of a loaf tin with enough length either end to act as handles for pulling the finished loaf out ( my tin is 8.5 x 4.5 x 2.75 inches. Any tin roughly that size will be fine)
Spoon in the meatloaf mixture and pack down really tightly.
Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes. Keep an eye on it towards the end. You want it to go a bit crusty and brown on the top but not too dark. You can cover it with a piece of foil if it does start going too brown.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin, covered tightly in foil for at least 15 minutes but up to 30 is ok. Then remove and slice.
For the gravy
Sauté the onion slowly over a low heat until a deep golden brown.
Transfer to a blender with all of the other ingredients and blend until very smooth.
Pour into a pan and stir over a medium heat until thickened and piping hot.
If you prefer your gravy a little thinner just add some boiling water from a kettle and stir well until you get the consistency you like.
Serve the meatloaf sliced and doused in gravy.
If you wish your loaf to be gluten free use gluten free certified oat flour. Oat flour can be easily made by just blending or processing rolled or quick oats until they are a fine powder.This meatloaf can even be made ahead and stored in the fridge for a few days before baking so is great if you like to batch cook or prepare food at the weekends ready for the week ahead. Leftovers also reheat perfectly. I wrap them in foil and warm through in the oven.A few readers have said that the leftovers are extra good if sliced then pan fried until golden. I haven't tried it but it sounds good!Tips for cooking lentils:
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.
Any leftover cooked lentils will keep for 5-6 days in a sealed container in the fridge and they also freeze really well.