This simple vegan lentil loaf is made with nutritious lentils, butternut squash, and rolled oats. Served hot as a vegan meatloaf or cold as a terrine, it makes a perfect centerpiece on a regular weeknight meal and a lovely starter for holiday gatherings or any other special occasion.
I’ve been obsessed with this vegan lentil loaf since day 1. I originally developed the recipe for my long time partner Peugeot Saveurs and I’m so happy with the result. It’s one of those recipes you just can’t get enough of. It reminded me of the French terrine my grandmother used to make from scratch when I was a kid. This vegan version is simply incredible both in texture but also more surprisingly in flavor! In fact, most of the flavors of a meatloaf or terrine come from the seasoning and the herbs, not from the meat. Last but not least, this vegan lentil meatloaf is also full of nutrition in the form of oats, lentils, and butternut squash.
A vegan lentil meatloaf (lentil terrine)
Now comes an important question: is this a meatloaf or a terrine? And what’s the difference between both if there is any? Both the meatloaf and the terrine are prepared in a loaf pan. In the traditional (non vegan) recipe however, the terrine is baked in a covered pottery loaf pan (also called a terrine) in a bain-marie while the meatloaf is baked in a traditional loaf pan (without lid). Also, the terrine is usually served cold or at room temperature while the meatloaf is served warm, often with a tomato or barbecue sauce on top.
When it comes to the vegan version, the baking process is not that important and you could use the lid or do without. This makes the vegan meatloaf and the terrine very alike. This recipe actually works interchangeably and you can decide to serve it hot or cold.
Ingredients and substitutions for vegan lentil meatloaf
- Green or brown lentils. I used dry brown lentils (beluga) but green/Puys lentils would do too.
- Butternut squash. Use it mashed to add some moistness to the lentil loaf. Alternatively, the recipe would work with mashed sweet potatoes instead of butternut squash.
- Onions, carrots, celery and garlic. They add both texture and flavors to the loaf.
- Herbs. They are an essential part of the recipe, don’t omit them! Thyme, rosemary, coriander and paprika together with salt and pepper create the perfect seasoning to the lentil loaf.
- Rolled oats. Try to use old-fashioned rolled oats rather than quick oats that tend to be too mushy.
- Tomato paste. It adds a robust, slightly sweet flavor to the loaf.
- Olive oil. You need it to sauté and bring flavor to the vegetables.
How to make lentil loaf?
This vegan lentil meatloaf may seem a little bit intimidating at first but the recipe actually comes together easily in just a few simple steps.
- To spare you some precious time, I recommend you prepare, cut and slice all the ingredients prior to the recipe.
- Start with cooking the butternut squash in a high volume of water until tender, then mash it.
- Saute the onions, carrots, celery and then garlic with olive oil in a large saute pan.
- Add all the spices, the vegetable broth and the lentils, and cook until lentils are tender.
- Add the mashed butternut squash to the lentil stew, and stir in the tomato paste and the oats. Don’t forget the salt – taste and adjust as needed.
- Press the mixture in a small loaf pan (I use a nonstick 8x 4.5x 3-inch terrine dish or loaf pan) and bake!
Can I use pre-cooked lentils?
For a quicker version, consider using canned brown or green lentil instead of dry lentils. If doing so, use 3 cups canned lentils and skip the broth in the recipe. You may need to use a little bit of it if the texture is too dry, but don’t go heavy on the broth or the loaf will be mushy.
What to serve with this vegan lentil loaf?
You can serve it warm out of the oven and enjoy as a vegan meatloaf with a side of your choice (I recommend lettuce or brussels sprouts). Another option consists in letting the loaf cool down completely (at room temperature first, then in the refrigerator) and serve it cold as a terrine.
More green or brown lentil recipes:
- Vegan Lentil Walnut Bolognese
- Vegetarian Mushroom Lentil Wellington
- Comforting Cauliflower Lentil Curry
- French Lentil Salad with Beets and Feta
- Vegetarian Lentil Shepherd’s Pie
- Creamy Tomato Coconut Lentil Curry
Lastly, if you make this Vegan Lentil Meatloaf (Lentil Terrine), be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating, letting me know how you liked it. And of course, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Thank you and enjoy!Print
This simple vegan lentil meatloaf is made with nutritious lentils, butternut squash, and rolled oats. Served hot as a loaf or cold as a terrine, it makes a perfect centerpiece on a regular weeknight meal and a lovely starter for holiday gatherings or any other special occasion.
- 1 ½ cups butternut squash, diced*
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small white or yellow onion, thinly diced
- 2 stalks celery, thinly diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and thinly diced
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon fresh or dried rosemary
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 ½ cups (600 ml) vegetable broth
- 1 cup (200g) green or brown lentils
- 1 cup (90g) rolled oats
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180 °C) and lightly oil (or spray) a nonstick 8x 4.5x 3-inch terrine dish or loaf pan**.
- Steam the diced butternut or cook in a large volume of water until tender. Drain and puree with a fork or using a food processor. Add a pinch of salt, stir, and set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, and carrot. Cook, stirring often, for 5-6 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 more minutes, stirring often.
- Add the thyme, rosemary, coriander, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, broth, and lentils to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer until lentils are very tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the pot from heat and add the mashed butternut squash.
- Stir in the oats and tomato paste into the pot. The oats will absorb most of the remaining moisture in the lentil/butternut squash, and the mixture will thicken. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed (salt is important in this recipe).
- Press the mixture into a loaf pan. Cover the loaf pan with the lid or a piece of foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and then bake for another 10 minutes, or until the loaf is firm to the touch. Enjoy warm as a vegan lentil meatloaf, or allow to cool down, place in the refrigerator for 2 hours and enjoy cold, as a terrine.
* For a variation around the original recipe, consider replacing the butternut squash with any other firm squash or even sweet potatoes, making sure to use them mashed.
** If you are using a larger, more standard-size loaf pan (9×5-inch i.e. 23×13 cm), expect your lentil meatloaf to be a little lower and larger.
Keywords: Lentil Loaf