A main course perfect for special occasions, this Black Lentil & Beyond Meat Vegan Meatloaf is a fun twist on the classic lentil loaf and is filled with the most delicious shiitake mushroom stuffing. If you're looking for a meaty, satisfying entree that will please vegans and omnivores alike, look no further! Nut-free and gluten-free.
A Word About Beyond Beef
I'm really excited to share this stuffed lentil loaf today! The blog was very new during last year's holiday season, and because I was busy posting my favorite side dishes and desserts, I never got around to doing a holiday roast or loaf. Finally, though, it's time for a special occasion-worthy main course!
First, a note about the inclusion of Beyond Meat's beef in this recipe. I fully appreciate that this isn't a recipe for everyone, and that's okay! If you're not into Beyond Meat for whatever reason, I have plans for a whole-food-based lentil loaf coming soon. So whether you avoid Beyond because of the fat content or you just don't like the taste, I totally get it. Even in our household, we have differing feelings.
Mark absolutely loves Beyond products and will eat them at every opportunity. Me? While I like them, I don't crave them or seek them out, so I eat them pretty infrequently. I don't dislike the flavor, but it is definitely "beefy," and the oil content is much higher than my normal diet. Over the years my taste buds have adjusted to prefer foods like mushrooms, tofu, tempeh, and seitan. It's really as simple as that.
BUT I'm thrilled that Beyond Meat exists and that their products have become more widely available. The recent introduction of Beyond Beef is a game changer when you think about it. Even though you can take the burgers and re-shape them into meatballs or other uses, it might not occur to some people to do that. The idea of offering customers a familiar-looking, 1-pound package of plant-based beef that they can use to replace meat in recipes they've been cooking their whole lives is brilliant.
And that's one thing I hope to accomplish with this recipe. By blending Beyond Beef with lentils, onion, mushrooms, and delicious herbs into a recipe that even meat lovers will enjoy, maybe we can bridge some gaps.
How to Make a Stuffed Lentil Loaf
One thing I really love about this recipe is that it's pretty much foolproof. It requires a few steps and takes about an hour and a half from start to finish, but it's definitely not as complicated as some holiday main dishes. And an hour of that time is totally hands off (while it bakes). Essentially, you make the stuffing, then you blend up the meat/lentil mixture, then you assemble it in a loaf pan, and bake it. Easy!
I won't bore you with step-by-step photos of how to cook the stuffing, because really it's just a simple sauté of onion, mushrooms, herbs, and breadcrumbs. It's super easy, and you've got this! So let's walk through the rest of the process and pretend you've already made the stuffing and set it aside to cool. Next....
To blend the lentil-Beyond mixture
First, you need some cooked lentils. I used black lentils in this recipe because they're a bit firmer than green or brown (plus, they're beautiful). You can sub green or brown lentils if you need to. Just try to keep them on the al dente side, not overcooked. Remove any excess water by placing the lentils on a tea towel or double layer of paper towels, then gather the edges, and squeeze it over the sink.
- In a food processor pulse 1/2 cup of rolled oats to break them up. Add 1 cup of lentils to the food processor, and pulse to combine.
- Add the paprika, sage, rosemary, tamari, and olive oil, and process again to incorporate.
- Next, pinch off large chunks of Beyond Beef from the package and drop it into the food processor. Pulse the machine a few more times.
- Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, and add the remaining 3/4 cup lentils. Use a sturdy spoon or spatula to mix in the lentils, and be sure the Beyond Beef is fully incorporated. It should look like the photo above on the far right.
How to Stuff the Lentil Loaf
- Scoop about half of the meat mixture into a standard 9x5-inch loaf pan lined with parchment (the parchment will serve as a handle making it easy to lift the finished loaf from the pan). I like to trim the parchment so that it overhangs the long sides of the pan but not the ends. This prevents bunched up paper in the corners and keeps the shape of the loaf nice and neat. Use your hands or the back of a spatula to press the lentil meat down and smooth the surface.
- Use a spoon to dig a long, oval "boat" down the center (see photo above left). You can also use your hands to widen and shape the trough, pressing the meat mixture firmly up against the sides and bottom of the pan.
- Fill the trough with yummy shiitake stuffing, packing it down as you go. Pile it all on there (see center photo above).
- Carefully dollop the rest of the meat mixture around the pan, and press it down. The filling should now be completely encased.
Bake and Glaze
Bake the lentil loaf uncovered in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. While it's baking, stir together a simple glaze:
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp tamari or soy sauce
- 2 tsp ketchup
After 30 minutes, spread the glaze on top of the loaf, and return the loaf to the oven for another 25 to 30 minutes. Let it cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then use the parchment to lift it out onto a cutting board.
Serve Black Lentil-Beyond Meat Loaf with your favorite sides, drizzle with gravy, and dig in!
Speaking of gravy, check out this gorgeous Vegan Porcini Mushroom Gravy from Elizabeth over at Healthy Midwestern Girl.
Substitutions Q & A
Q: Can I replace the Beyond Beef with something else?
A: I haven't tested the recipe with any other brand of vegan beefy crumbles, but no, I don't think it will work. Part of what makes this loaf successful is that the Beyond Beef also serves as a binder.
Q: I can't find black lentils. Can I sub another type?
A: Brown or green lentils will work but not red or yellow. You want a firmer lentil for this recipe, so cook them only until al dente, or use pre-cooked store-bought. I highly recommend black lentils if you can find them.
Q: Can I replace the rolled oats in the meat mixture with something else?
A: I haven't tested it, but yes, I think a small amount of cooked rice, farro, barley, or similar grain would work well!
Q: Can I use a different type of mushroom in the filling?
A: If you can get your hands on fresh shiitake mushrooms, there's really nothing better. They have such a unique, smoky aroma and flavor. But yes, you can also use a different type if needed. Cremini, or baby bella, are usually easy to find and are also delicious.
If you have any other question that I didn't answer, please don't hesitate to ask in the comments below!
Holiday side dishes to pair with vegan lentil loaf:
Sweet Potato Salad With Lemon Vinaigrette (GF)
Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Balsamic Reduction (GF)
Modern Cauliflower Gratin (GF option)
The Best Vegan Southern-Style Cornbread (GF option)
Vegan Cornbread Dressing (GF option)
Rosemary Potato Salad With Tempeh Bacon and Haricot Verts (GF)
Black Lentil & Beyond Meatloaf With Shiitake Stuffing
For the shiitake stuffing:
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 large onion, diced
- 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, sliced
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- black pepper
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
- 1/3 cup panko or breadcrumbs of choice, regular or gluten-free
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
For the lentil meat mixture:
- 1/2 cup rolled oats GF certified if needed
- 1 3/4 cups cooked black lentils, excess water removed by lightly squeezing in a tea towel or paper towels
- 1 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp rubbed sage
- 1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp tamari (or soy sauce if not gluten-free)
- 1 pound Beyond Meat's Beyond Beef (1 package)
For the glaze:
- 1 tsp tamari (or soy sauce if not gluten-free)
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp ketchup
Prepare the stuffing:
- Preheat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the oil and onion, and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add sliced shiitakes, and cook until soft, about 7 minutes more.
- Add salt, pepper, garlic, and thyme and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring often. Add the breadcrumbs and toss to coat. Stir occasionally, and cook until the breadcrumbs are slightly toasted. Add the broth and stir to combine.
- Remove from heat, drizzle in the lemon juice, and stir again. Set aside.
Make the loaf mixture:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F, and line a standard 9x5-inch loaf pan with parchment. Trim the parchment so that it overhangs the long sides of the pan but not the ends. This allows you to easily lift the finished loaf from the pan, but prevents bunched up paper in the corners from affecting the shape of the loaf.
- Pulse oats in a food processor 4 to 5 times to break them up slightly. Make sure excess water has been removed from lentils, and add 1 cup lentils to the food processor. Pulse to combine.
- Add paprika, sage, rosemary, olive oil, and tamari to food processor, and pulse several more times. Pinch off large chunks of Beyond Beef, and drop into the food processor. Pulse 5 or 6 times to incorporate.
- Transfer lentil-meat mixture to a large bowl, and add remaining 3/4 cup lentils. Use a sturdy spoon or spatula to incorporate the lentils and make sure the Beyond Beef is fully blended.
- Scoop half of the meat mixture into prepared pan. Use your hands or the back of a spatula to firmly press the mixture down and smooth the surface. Use a spoon to dig a long, oval boat down the center (see photos in post for reference). You can also use your hands to widen and shape the trough, pressing the meat mixture firmly against the sides and bottom of the pan.
- Fill the trough with shiitake stuffing, packing it down as you go. Once the stuffing is level with the meat mixture, continue to mound it on top, but within the trough's vertical boundaries. Dollop the rest of the meat mixture around the pan, and carefully press it down so that the stuffing is now completely encased. Smooth the top.
- Bake uncovered loaf for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, stir together ingredients for the glaze.
- Remove loaf from oven, and baste the top with the glaze. Return to oven, and bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes or until hot in the center. Allow loaf to cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes, then use the parchment paper to lift onto a cutting board.