Red Lentil Loaf

Red Lentil Loaf

Vegetarian lentil loaf has a long history of masquerading as meatloaf. With its brownish-grey color and a red ketchup glaze, it does its best to look and taste like meat (though it never does). This delicate red lentil loaf is not at all like that. It’s all about the lentil flavor — sweet and vegetal. The seasoning veers a little bit Turkish, with lemon, cumin, cilantro, dill and yogurt. It is delicious served at room temperature or warm.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 4 persons



  1. Step 1

    Rinse lentils. Put them in a medium saucepan. Add water just to cover and a good pinch of salt. Bring to a boil high, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes, until very soft. Drain well.
  2. Step 2

    Meanwhile, put 3 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add cumin, garlic and carrots, seasoning mixture well with salt and pepper. Add lemon zest and juice, and cayenne.
  3. Step 3

    Transfer drained red lentils and onion mixture to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until it’s the consistency of soft mashed potato, a bit lumpy. The mixture should be bright, peppery, lemony and well salted. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  4. Step 4

    In a small bowl, beat the eggs with a fork. Add the cilantro and beat together. Pour egg mixture into lentil mixture and pulse to incorporate. Add oats and mix in.
  5. Step 5

    Heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a loaf pan with olive oil. Lay a wide strip of parchment paper into the pan, leaving an overhang on two sides to help in removing cake later. Pour lentil mixture into the pan, smoothing the top. Fold excess parchment over the top. Bake until nicely browned, about 1 hour. Remove from pan and let cool. (The loaf is easier to cut if cooled.) Cut into 1-inch slices.
  6. Step 6

    In a small bowl, mix together yogurt and cucumbers, and season with salt. Warm the slices up briefly in a 350-degree oven, if desired. Even better: Griddle the slices with a bit of oil in a nonstick or cast-iron pan until crisp and golden on both sides. Or simply serve at room temperature.
  7. Step 7

    Spoon yogurt-cucumber sauce over each slice and sprinkle with scallion, dill and red-pepper flakes. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, if you wish.