When I was a young girl, I had a dear friend in my class for a couple of years, before she moved to the other side of Canada. We remained in touch for several years, albeit she was much better than I was at staying in touch, before we lost touch for good. Many years later, this great online site called Facebook appeared and thanks to this amazing service, I was fortunate enough to find my friend again.
We have both changed quite a bit from those early years, but I like to think that if we did live in the same city again, we would be close friends again. For now, Facebook will have to do. One thing that has happened to the both of us, is our eating habits have changed quite similarly over the years. No longer do we eat the blue boxes of Kraft Dinner, instead we love our organic boxes and the myriad of ‘alternative’ foods available. We are both dairy free, but she has also had to endure quite a few other health related food restrictions, forcing her to become very creative and restrictive with her diet. Clearly it has become such a passion, she is practicing nutritionist on Vancouver Island through her business, Sollus Wellness. Very inspiring!
It is through her, that I came across this recipe. Not only do it look enticing, but the rave review from her partner moved it onto the ‘must-make-soon’ list. Now, I have a huge list of recipes piled up waiting for the day I will make them. There is literally not enough time in the day and not enough budget. (My dream job would be just to cook all day long, for me and those I love. Not in a restaurant – that would just be scary.) So, I tend to have several lists of what is going to be made. Sometimes, something just twigs and says, I need to make this now. That is how I felt about this recipe.
I needed something I could make which would be freezer friendly – because I am seriously working hard to minimise the extra work for myself during the week. (Cue Instant Pot purchase with a host of suitable recipes to follow in the coming months.) I read through the ingredients and the recipe instructions. It seemed easy enough, but also a little bit fiddly and time consuming. So, I decided I needed to make double the recipe from the start. Sometimes you can gauge the worthiness of a recipe just by reading through it, to know you are going to like it. (Although, sometime you can also be wrong – sorry, Nigella, your Brined Turkey was not a winner for me.)
Ingredients bought, and prep began. It was easy enough once the lentils were cooked and I was sure the pfaf of the balsamic glaze was going to be critical. I wasn’t wrong. The loaf was great served warm, it was also great cold from the fridge. It froze well too. My only regret, not making more to easily pull from the freezer.
Adapted from Angela Liddon
Makes a 2lb loaf, or 2x 1lb loaves
Oven 165C / Fan 145C / 325F
- 1 cup Green Lentils, dried
- 750ml (3 cups) of Water or Vegetable Stock
- 1 cup Walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
- 3 Tbsp Linseed/Flax, ground finely + 1/2 cup of water (or other egg alternative)
- 1 tsp Olive Oil
- 3 Garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 cups Sweet Onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup Celery, cut lengthwise into strips and then chopped into small pieces
- 1 cup Carrot, grated or finely chopped in your food processor (I find the latter gives a better texture)
- 1/3 cup Raisins
- 1/3 cup Apple, peeled and grated (select a firm type if possible, I used Braeburn)
- 1/2 cup Oat Flour (or finely ground rolled oats from the food processor)
- 3/4 cup Breadcrumbs (these can be gluten free)
- 2 tsp Thyme, fresh (or 3/4 tsp dried)
- 3/4 tsp Salt (I used Pink Himalayan)
- Black Pepper, ground
- Dried Chilli Flakes, to taste (aka Red Pepper Flakes)
Balsamic Apple Glaze
- 1/4 cup Tomato Sauce/Ketchup
- 1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
- 2 Tbsp Apple Sauce
- 2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar, or Balsamic Apple Vinegar
Begin with cleaning and draining the lentils, then place them into a large saucepan with 750ml (3 cups) of water and add some vegetable stock (optional) and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 45mins, with the lid removed, until the lentils are slightly overcooked. All the water should have been absorbed by now and the lentils should mash when pressed with the back of a spoon. Gently mash the mixture, leaving some of them intact.
Make your flax egg by whisking the ground linseed/flax with the water. Set aside.
Warm a frying pan over medium heat, then add the olive oil. Sauté the garlic and onions until translucent. Add the celery, carrot, apple and raisins to the pan and continue to sauté for a further 5 mins. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Transfer the lentils into a large bowl and mix together with all the remaining ingredients, including the flax egg, the sautéed vegetables and the salt, pepper and chilli flakes.
Line a 2lb loaf tin with parchment and pour the mixture into the tin. Press down firmly to remove any pockets of air and to make sure the mixture will keeps its shape once cooked and removed.
In a small bowl, whisk together the tomato sauce, maple syrup, apple sauce and balsamic vinegar for the glaze. Use half of this over top of the lentil mixture in the loaf tin, setting aside the remainder for later. Place the loaf into the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes. The edges will be slightly brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a rack or serving.
May be served warm or cool, with some additional glaze added before serving. The loaf will set nicely when refrigerated to allow for easy slicing.
This will keep for a couple of days in the fridge in an airtight container, or longer in the freezer.