We are inching closer to the holiday period, and today, I want to bring you the fourth recipe in our small holiday “series”: A Lentil Mushroom Walnut “Meat” Loaf. This loaf truly packs so much flavor! It pairs perfectly well with these Creamy Mashed Potatoes, German Red Cabbage (Rotkohl), and Tasty Vegan Mushroom Gravy. You can totally either mix and match these recipes, or create a full menu from them 🥰.
Have I raved about the taste of this dish yet?? I honestly cannot tell you how beautiful, wholesome, and flavorful it is. I was truly surprised the first time I made it – and it is the perfect highlight of your (vegan) festive menu. There is something about the combination of loads of fresh veggies, lentils, and walnuts, paired with the spices of thyme, paprika, and some pepper. It is just 👌🏻. And yes, this dish does take a bit of time to be prepped and baked, but rest assured – it is totally worth it!!
Why is this Lentil Mushroom Walnut “Meat” Loaf good for you?
Lentils come from the legume family and are originally from both Asia and North Africa. They tend to be categorized by their color (e.g. brown, red, yellow, green). The lentils used in this dish are beluga lentils. Lentils are a protein and fiber powerhouse! They also tend to have a variety of B Vitamins, magnesium, zinc, iron, and potassium. What’s more, each Lentil type has its own, unique, composition of phytochemicals and antioxidants. They contain polyphenols, which (next to being an antioxidant) contain strong anti-inflammatory properties. This type of antioxidant may also protect against certain types of cancers, as well as improve blood sugar levels. The beluga lentil type also contains anthocyanin. Anthocyanin has strong anti-cancer effects. It can also protect against cardiovascular diseases and is, thereby, beneficial for your heart health.
Have you ever noticed that Walnuts kind of look like a brain? Can you see it 😉? I like to believe the Walnut is shaped like a brain because it is an absolute brain super-food. Walnuts are anti-inflammatory and super high in antioxidants Vitamin E, melatonin, and polyphenols. Next to the antioxidants, Walnuts are also rich in alpha-linolenic acid, basically a plant-based Omega 3 fatty acid. Combined, these two combat oxidative stress, and inflammation – two now-known contributors to cognitive decline. Additionally, the antioxidants in Walnuts may also lower your “bad” cholesterol levels, which further reduces oxidative stress and the potential health challenges that come with it.
As with all green herbs, Thyme is pretty powerful. It belongs to the mint family and is a herb that is starting to get recognized more and more for its medicinal properties. Thyme has strong anti-bacterial components. So strong, that when used as a tincture (= steeping Thyme in alcohol for a few weeks), it appears to treat acne particularly well. Thyme essential oil may also be beneficial in multiple ways. 1. It may help against coughs. Next time you are having a cough, try drinking some thyme tea. 2. It’s anti-fungal properties may be a great disinfectant against low-grade mold. In addition, Thyme is an excellent source of Vitamin C and A. Both of these Vitamins are great for our immunity and are particularly beneficial during the cold and flu season.
How can I prep this recipe in advance
There are several options as to how you can prep this Lentil Mushroom Walnut “Meat” Loaf in advance. 1. You could simply cook the lentils in advance. 2. You could prep the veggies the day prior, and keep them separate until you are combining them into a loaf (adding the spices, oil, balsamic vinegar). 3. You could make the entire loaf a few hours prior to putting it into the oven. I would say that it easily lasts in the form for about 6 – 7 hours prior to baking.
How can I adjust this recipe to my dietary requirements?
This recipe is naturally gluten-free (if you are celiac, please be sure to use certified gluten-free oats), vegetarian, and vegan. Due to the grain content from the lentils and oats, as well as the walnuts, this dish is, sadly, not nut-free or paleo.
And that is it for this week 🤗. I hope you enjoyed this festive menu, which we will be closing out with a super-duper, jump around and dance, amazing dessert early next week 💃! Please let me know how you are liking the loaf! You know I love to hear from you, both over on Instagram or in the comments below. Happy cooking!