This Butternut Squash Lentil Loaf is packed with fall flavors and topped with a balsamic ketchup glaze. If there are any leftovers, they make a great lunch!
Guys, today I could not be more excited about this brown log of food that is called the Butternut Squash Lentil Loaf. It is hearty, flavorful, cozy, packed with Fall flavor, and delicious with a capital D.
Have you heard of lentil loaf before? Have you made lentil loaf before?
It is basically your vegetarian or vegan version of meatloaf, but packed with whole food ingredients staring, you guessed it, the lentil. It takes the mystery meat situation that is meatloaf, and transforms it into the beautiful brown log situation that I have plans with every lunch AND dinner this week, because when you fall for lentil loaf, you fall hard.
Now, I know I called thisButternut Squash Lentil Loaf beautiful like two seconds ago, but I cannot tell a lie. Our gal pal lentil loaf will win no beauty contests. She is not even particularly Instagram-able. HOWEVER, she is reliable. And sometimes, just sometimes, a humble, reliable, super tasty dish is worth it, even if you cant ‘gram your food (the millennial in me just died a little), and this is one of those times.
ThisButternut Squash Lentil Loaf loaf is jazzed up with our favorite Fall flavors. Since it is against Fall 101 to even eat a dish that does not contain either pumpkin, squash, OR apples, we will add in some trusty butternut squash here for mega flavor and fall joy. To that we add in some fresh rosemary and thyme for the best Fall flavor situation that has ever been wrapped up in a lentil loaf package.
While my said plans for thisButternut Squash Lentil Loaf include every lunch and dinner I can squeeze out of it until either its secret hiding place gets discovered by other members of this household, or I eat the last slice, lentil loaf plays well in a variety of situations.
Weeknight dinner, check. Leftovers for lunch, double check. Gatherings/dinner parties: triple check.
Is it to early to mention the holiday that starts with thanks and ends with giving? Because the crazy human that is inside of me starts dreaming of this holiday from the very first second that the leaves begun to turn. And in my too-soon planings of the menu for the Best Holiday Ever, thisButternut Squash Lentil Loaf is on the list. The top of the list. It travels well, can be made ahead of time, and is a hearty and filling plant based entree that even our turkey eating friends will want a slice of.
But now I must apologize, because I have taken this long to introduce you to the BEST part of the Butternut Squash Lentil Loaf. The sticky sweet balsamic ketchup glaze. I just might be totally maybe completely a little bit definitely willing to give my firstborn child for this glaze.
We take balsamic vinegar and reduce it in a saucepan until it looses its vinegar tang and is thick and sweet and dreamy. Then we add in tomato paste, honey, and spices to create this masterpiece that gets brushed onto our loaf and baked to its thick and flavorful glaze perfection.
I dare you not to love this one.
- To roast the squash:
- 3 cups cubed butternut squash
- 1 teaspoon avocado oil
- Pinch salt
- Pinch pepper
- For the loaf:
- 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon smoky paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 2.5 cups cooked brown lentils
- 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
- 1 tablespoon liquid aminos OR tamari
- 1.5 tablespoons mellow white miso OR chickpea miso
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- For the glaze:
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid aminos OR tamari
- 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
- Pinch smoky paprika
- Pinch cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Toss the squash, oil, salt, and pepper and spread onto a baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Reduce the oven to 350 degrees and line a loaf pan with a parchment paper sling.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flaxseed and 3 tablespoons of water. Set aside to thicken.
While the squash is cooking, heat the coconut oil in a medium skillet. Add in the onions and celery, and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 7-10 minutes. Add in the garlic, thyme, rosemary, cinnamon, paprika, and white pepper. Sauté another 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In a large bowl, add half the lentils, half the butternut squash, and the thickened flax mixture. Using a potato masher, mash the mixture until is resembles a paste. Add in all the remaining ingredients, and stir to combine.
Fill the lined loaf pan with the filling, pressing down on the top to compact it into the pan. Bake for 50 minutes.
While the loaf is baking, make the glaze. In a small saucepan, simmer the balsamic vinegar for 2-3 minutes, until slightly reduced. Remove from the heat and whisk in the remaining ingredients.
After 50 minutes of baking, remove the loaf from the oven and brush on the glaze. Return to the oven for 15 more minutes. Remove and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
In a small saucepan, bring the balsamic vinegar to a boil. Simmer for about 2 minutes, or unitl the vinegar is slightly reduced. Remove from the heat and whisk in the remaining ingredients. Set aside.