Lentil & Walnut Loaf with Mom’s Special Sauce

Even though I was never a big meat-eater growing up, I did have a special love for my mom’s meatloaf. I was an unusual American kid, for sure! I never liked hamburgers or steak, but for some reason, mom’s meatloaf always hit the spot. Obviously, meatloaf is no longer an option for us anymore. I’ve been meat-free for almost three years now and the thought of mom’s special meatloaf just does not appeal to me the way it used to! I do, however, miss the excitement over the meal and how it brought my whole family together at the dinner table.

Making new food memories and new traditions has been important for my husband and I. When I saw this recipe in the Forks Over Knives cookbook, I knew I needed to give it a try. And I knew I already had the perfect sauce recipe to compliment the veggie loaf: my mom’s special sauce! Looking back, what really made my mom’s meatloaf recipe so delicious was the sauce she created to go with it. We loved the sauce so much that she would always have to make extra for us. So, thanks mom for this simple and easy sauce that is just too darn good!

This lentil and walnut loaf is a breeze to throw together. The original recipe calls for one 16-once bag of frozen carrots which I could not find here in Penang. I used a 16-once bag of frozen mixed veggies instead and it worked fine! The recipe also called for sun-dried tomato powder which I replaced with tomato paste. I’m afraid the original recipe was a bit bland, so I added more seasonings which I listed below. I would recommend playing around and adding your favorite seasonings to make this loaf as favorable as possible! And the sauce is a MUST! Really, you have to try it. You won’t be sorry!

Lentil & Walnut Loaf 

3 cups cooked lentils (about 1 pound after cooking)
1 16-once bag of frozen carrots or mixed veggies, defrosted and drained (about 3 cups)
2 cups chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
3-4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups raw walnuts
2 cups uncooked oats (not instant)
2 tablespoons tomato paste (or sun-dried tomato powder)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black or white pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning (optional)

Mom’s Special Sauce 

1 cup organic ketchup
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 rounded teaspoon ground mustard
1 rounded teaspoon nutmeg

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Preheat oven to 350° F.

Put lentils, defrosted veggies, onion, garlic, parsley, walnuts, and 1 cup of oats into a food processor. Pulse until well combined and continue until everything becomes almost paste-like. If you’re like me and have a smaller food processor, you may have to do this in several batches. Scrape the mixture into a large mixing bowl.

Add the remaining 1 cup oats, tomato paste, and seasoning in with the lentil mixture. Stir to mix well. Scrape the mixture into a standard loaf pan and set aside.

For the sauce, simply combine ketchup with the brown sugar, ground mustard, and nutmeg in a small mixing bowl until well combined. Spread at least half of the sauce onto the lentil loaf evenly (you will have extra for serving). Bake uncovered for 50-55 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and wait at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve with mashed potatoes or your favorite veggies!