Holiday Vegan Lentil Oat Loaf

Lentil Oat Loaf from on Carrie on Living |


I love that this recipe includes plenty of greens and other veggies that get water-sauteed before getting mixed with the lentils and oats. Rip’s recipe calls for spinach but I used kale instead:

Lentil Oat Loaf from on Carrie on Living |

This recipe makes two loaves, one of which can be frozen and then de-frosted and baked at a later date:

Lentil Oat Loaf from on Carrie on Living |

A close-up pre-baking:

Lentil Oat Loaf from on Carrie on Living |

A lentil loaf makes the ideal holiday meal because you can prep it the day before (and, ideally, bake it so it has time to set), and then you can prepare the other side dishes on the actual day of the event. I highly recommend the Kale Butter and Mango-Cherry Ice Cream recipes from Rip’s book that were also published with permission here.

Here’s the recipe (note: in the book it is called BBQ Lentil Loaf):

Lentil Oat Loaf Recipe
Recipe from My Beef With Meat by Rip Esselstyn. Copyright © 2013 by Rip Esselstyn. Used with permission by Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved.
Recipe type: Main Dish
Serves: 8
  • 1½ cups red lentils
  • 2½ cups water
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • One 8-ounce package mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 cups packed fresh spinach, chopped
  • One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb seasoning blend, or similar spice blend
  • ¼ teaspoon dried marjoram
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, or as desired
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 to 1½ cups barbecue sauce or ketchup, your favorite
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. In a saucepan, bring the lentils to a boil in the water.
  3. Decrease the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the lentils are tender and most of the water is absorbed, 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. In the same saucepan, mash the lentils with the back of a spoon or a potato masher; don’t worry, red lentils cook quickly and mash easily.
  5. In a nonstick pan, cook the onions over medium heat, stirring constantly to avoid burning, until soft and translucent. Add the mushrooms and garlic and continue to cook over medium heat until soft.
  6. Add water or vegetable broth, if necessary, to keep the vegetables from sticking.
  7. Add the spinach, cover, and continue to cook over medium heat until the spinach wilts, 4 or 5 minutes.
  8. Add the lentils to the onion-mushroom-spinach mixture and stir to combine.
  9. Add the diced tomatoes, sage, garlic powder, Mrs. Dash seasoning, marjoram, and cilantro and stir.
  10. Add the oats and stir it all again.
  11. In the bottom of two 9 × 5-inch loaf pans, spread half of the barbecue sauce or ketchup.
  12. Add the lentil-oat mixture to the loaf pans, then spread the remaining barbecue sauce or ketchup in a generous layer on the tops.
  13. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes until the barbecue glaze turns crispy on the edges.
  14. Let set for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting and serving—ideally until the next day!

I guarantee if you make this for vegans or non-vegans, you won’t have any complaints:

Lentil Oat Loaf from on Carrie on Living |

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  1. amie says

    This looks great, and I would love to make this for Christmas dinner, but my dad is allergic to mushrooms. Do you have any ideas for another substitute I could use??? Thanks for sharing this looks delicious!

    • says

      Hi Amie! Yes, I would highly recommend substituting a package of tempeh because it would provide a “meaty” texture that the mushrooms give. You can just crumble the tempeh with your hands and add it to the mix (no need to sauté it).

  2. says

    Thank you so much for this amazing looking recipe! I love healthy recipes and I will look forward to trying it out and sharing it with my followers at As Arnold says “I’ll be back” 🙂 Thanks again!

  3. Sharen Sammons says

    I finally had a chance to make this and loved it! I did make a couple of modifications using regular brown lentils and defrosted chopped spinach. But overall it was fantastic.Thanks for posting.

  4. Jessica says

    Hi Carrie,

    I have a question that has nothing to do with this post. It’s more of an FAQ I think. I understand the concept of water sautéing your veggies when cooking on the stove, but what do you put on your pans when you are roasting veggies in the oven? I have been trying to cut out oil but I don’t know what to put on my pans so the veggies don’t stick. Thank you!!!

    • says

      Hi Jessica! Great question. This is a tough one, no doubt. I have to admit that I roast veggies far less than I used to, especially ones like brussels sprouts or broccoli that does so wonderfully with some oil for flavor. What I have found is that the starchy veggies like sweet potatoes or squash roast pretty well without oil. I usually bake them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sometimes I might use the tiniest bit of non-stick cooking spray so they won’t stick. I know some people have had luck roasting veggies without any oil, but I just have veered more toward steaming them as opposed to roasting. Or, with brussels sprouts, I’ve even gone to shredding them in the food processor and eating them raw or lightly water-sauteed. What specific vegetable do you want to roast and maybe we can figure out a method?

    • Dana says

      Hey Jessica,
      I don’t use oil when I saute vegetables anymore. Just a small amount of water in the bottom of the pan works great. Always make sure that you’re close by and keeping an eye out, because unlike the oil that kind of stays, the water evaporates, and you need to add more as needed.

  5. Jessica says

    When I asked the question, I had pumpkin in mind. I like to cut it in small pieces and roast to put in a salad. I like when the edges brown a bit. But it just seems to get mushy and sticks to the pan. What do you think? Is it impossible to get browned edges without oil?

    • says

      Well, I roast kabocha and butternut squash all the time without oil. I use parchment paper to line my baking tray. It does get a little mushy, though, more so than when I used to use oil. As far as browned edges, that is going to be hard without oil. I have heard of people using veggie broth to help add moisture to vegetables when roasting, but that doesn’t seem to be the problem in this case. The other thing I’ve tried is spraying the pan lightly with oil and not adding any other oil. It is such a tiny amount compared to what I used to use that it seems like a fair trade-off.

  6. Nola says

    This came out great and was pretty easy to make! My non-vegan (and very picky) mom and vegan roommate both liked it a lot. Will definitely make again, thank you!

    • says

      Great, I’m so happy to know the loaf turned out well for you, Nola, and that your non-vegan and picky eaters liked it, too! 🙂 P.S. Did you serve it straight out of the oven, or did you let it cool to set and then re-heat and serve? I am just curious, because I have served it both ways.

      • Nola says

        I ate a little bit straight out of the oven just to taste it, but I made it the day before so I’d have less to cook the next day. It was great the next day (I just heated it up), and I just had leftovers tonight…delicious. I also cut off a chunk to freeze in order to see how that tastes.
        BTW, instead of Mrs. Dash I used Spike, not sure if that is close, but it sounded like it might be.
        I’ve been Pinning some lentil loaf recipes with the intent of finding the best one, but after making this one, I think my search is over on the first try. 🙂

  7. Ranji says

    Loved this recipe! Thanks for shining a light on both recipes actually. Had loaned out the book My Beef With Meat so went to the internet and found your site. Made Rip’s Lentil Loaf for Easter- was a big hit!

  8. Susan says

    Made this for dinner last night.
    For the greens i used a mixture of dandelion greens,Swiss chard,kale and spinach.
    For the ketchup/BBQ sauce used corn salsa that I processed last year.
    For another topping I made Yummy Purple Sauce from Chef A J’s site ,using white cauliflower instead of purple.
    It was ever so delicious!

  9. Sophie Bowater says

    I am making this loaf. I was wondering if I should bake it today or tomorrow as we won’t eat it for 2 days? Can I just put it in the fridge unbaked or should I freeze it if I don’t bake it today? I am guessing it will taste just as good if I bake it today, 2 days before we eat it/Thanks

  10. Bruna says

    Hi! Thanks so much for this recipe, it looks amazing! 🙂
    Do you think it would still taste good without the tomatoes and ketchup/bbq?
    Unfortunately I can’t have these products and I feel like this recipe would totally loose it’s charm without them. What do you think?


  11. Susanne says

    I really, really have to thank you for this recipe. I’ve been vegetarian for over a decade and this is the first veggie loaf that I’ve found that recreates everything I loved about traditional meatloaf. (In my pre-veg days my husband used to complain when I made meatloaf because I kept putting too much carrots, onion, and celery in it. After the fact I realized I liked it better because there was less meat. LOL!)

    This loaf is substantial, it has a great mouthfeel, and it can be sliced without crumbling. We ate the leftovers in sandwiches for days! I belatedly realized that I had bought quick oats (in general I hate them, they just turn to mush) but it didn’t seem to make a difference, and I was lazy about measuring the spinach so I just chopped up a whole 10 oz. bag and it worked great!

    I’ll be making it again tomorrow but I think I’ll leave off the BBQ sauce. I make it from scratch since my husband is diabetic, but once it cooked the flavor was way over concentrated. I might use the ketchup suggestion, but I’m thinking of just doing without either and just putting it on after it has been cooked. I’m still amazed that he didn’t complain about the mushrooms (I love the squishy bits in the loaf) because he really hates them cooked. 😀

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I can’t wait to see if this works with gluten-free oats. Then I’ll finally have something to share with my family on Thanksgiving!

  12. Tanya says

    This looks great! And finally a “meatloaf” recipe with lentils that doesn’t require a food processor! All the lentil burger/patty recipes I find call for a f.p. which I don’t have, can’t afford, and not everyone else has either! Can’t wait to try this!


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