Christmas eve was a very quiet one with just Boyfriendlovlie and me. I started making dinner quite late as I was out of inspiration what to make. When I say out of inspiration it actually means unable to decide what to choose from my long list of recipes that I've been planning to make over the holidays. I finally went for a lentil loaf for the main dish accompanied by steamed potatoes, okra bhajis and a green salad.
I did not make any dessert. We were too full anyway to have dessert. Had we really craved dessert, I would have served the coconut ice cream we had in the freezer. After dinner, we spent the night on the sofa chatting about nothing under the soft cozy lights of the Christmas tree.
Our tree is a piece of dried branch that we picked up last year for Christmas. This year, I fixed some lights onto the branches. It looks like this branch is going to stay with us for quite some years now! We then watched a couple of episodes of Dr. Who.
The lentil loaf turned out a lot better than I expected. I feared it would crumble but it held firmly together. I did not take any photos on Christmas eve but we had a big piece leftover so I could photograph it to share with you. Since I have had a lot of requests on Facebook to share the recipe, here is it below.
Lentil Loaf (nut-free)
3/4 cup dry (uncooked) lentils (I used the small dark ones)
3/4 cup (uncooked) brown rice
3/4 oats (I used quick oats. You can also use gluten-free oats)
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons basil seeds (also known as tukmaria, can be substituted with flax seeds or chia seeds). I used this as a binder.
1/3 cup water
3/4 cup water
1 small carrot
1/2 red pepper
3 fresh mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon chipotle
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons tomato puree or passata
1 teaspoon maple syrup (or sugar), if tomato puree is sweet, omit this.
3-4 sprigs dill, finely chopped
2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
1 tablespoon oil
Salt to taste
- Mix the lentils and rice together. Add 3 1/2 cups of water to the lentils and rice and bring to a boil. Then cover and simmer for about 35 minutes or until they are soft. If water dries up, add a little more to prevent burning.
- Once all water is absorbed and the grains are soft, blend half of the rice-lentil mixture to a paste. (I used a hand immersion blender for this and blender directly into the pan. But you can transfer half of the mixture to a regular blender too).
- Grind the basil seeds (or flax/chia seeds) to a powder with a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. Add 1/3 cup water to the basil seeds and leave this to soak. It will swell to a jelly-like consistency.
- Cut the carrot, peppers and mushrooms into very small pieces (smaller than the size of a pea).
- In a skillet, add 1 tablespoon oil. Add all the vegetables (carrots, peppers and mushrooms). Saute for about 5-6 minutes.
- Then add the lightly cooked vegetables to the rice and lentil mixture.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the mixture (oats, cornmeal, basil seed mixture, cumin, paprika, chipotle, soy sauce, tomato puree, maple syrup and the herbs).
- Add about 3/4 cup water. The consistency of the mixture should not be too dry or soupy but should rather be somewhat drier than an oozy risotto. Add salt to taste.
- Leave this to stand for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile start to preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Line a loaf tin with parchment paper. Transfer the mixture into a loaf pan and bake for one hour.
- After one hour, remove from oven and let it cool for about 15 minutes before removing from the tin and cutting. It becomes firmer upon cooling and is even firmer the next day.
- Enjoy with your favourite gravy or cranberry sauce.