Vegetarian Meatloaf

Vegetarian Meatloaf

I found this recipe on (via Pinterest) and thought it looked fantastic! Before I was a Pescetarian, I loved meatloaf. Real meatloaf and even turkey meatloaf. My mother used to make an epic meatloaf in a round pan, wrapped with bacon, and served with mashed potatoes in the hole in the centre. Then there was the meatloaf sandwiches the next day – sliced cold, on white bread, with loads of ketchup. Oh yea – those were the days! I knew this vegetarian version was going to be different, but I was definitely willing to try it. Especially as the photo showed the meatloaf smothered in gravy. And i’m a sucker for anything smothered in gravy!

The original recipe: (found on


2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup lentils
1 small onion, diced
1 cup quick-cooking oats
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese or 3/4 cup swiss cheese, cheese or 3/4 cup monterey jack cheese or 3/4 cup American cheese
1 egg, beaten
4 1/2 ounces spaghetti sauce or 4 1/2 ounces tomato sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper


1 Add salt to water and boil in a saucepan.
2 Add lentils and simmer covered 25-30 minutes, until lentils are soft and most of water is evaporated.
3 Remove from fire.
4 Drain and partially mash lentils.
5 Scrape into mixing bowl and allow to cool slightly.
6 Stir in onion, oats and cheese until mixed.
7 Add egg, tomato sauce, garlic, basil, parsley, seasoning salt and pepper.
8 Mix well.
9 Spoon into loaf pan that has been generously sprayed with Pam (non-stick cooking spray) or well-greased.
10 Smooth top with back of spoon.
11 Bake at 350 degrees for 30- 45 minutes until top of loaf is dry, firm and golden brown.
12 Cool in pan on rack for about 10 minutes.
13 Run a sharp knife around edges of pan then turn out loaf onto serving platter.

Vegetarian Meatloaf

Vegetarian Meatloaf (doesn’t it look like it’s floating?)

The reality

I admit to not following the recipe exactly, which was probably a bit of a mistake. I used two tins of cooked lentils instead of cooking them myself. This should have been an okay move, but I didn’t drain them as thoroughly as I should have. Next time I will press the water out while draining them. I also used a bit too much cheese (I like cheese!) – I used a full cup instead of 3/4 cup. And maybe I pressed down on the cheese a little while filling up the measuring cup. And I spooned 3 tablespoons of chopped tomatoes out of a carton rather than use ‘spaghetti sauce’, which may have been a little too much. So the reality? The loaf was absolutely perfect on the outside – nice and firm, and held its shape well. But the inside was a little too… for lack of a better word… wet. If I fully drained the lentils and used the right amount of cheese (it was a little on the melted cheese gooey side), then it would have been perfect! I had this fear of the loaf being too dry, so I went a little too far in the other direction. The taste was amazing, and the consistency of the edge pieces was perfect. I will definitely make this again, but will follow the recipe more closely. For today’s lunch I will heat slices in the oven, which will probably be just what’s needed to firm them up.

Notes: I served this with multigrain tagliatelle from Sainsburys, along with a jug of Bisto onion gravy. I also sliced some brussel sprouts and cooked them in the same oven as the meatloaf.

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