No-meat Meat Loaf
2 cups RED lentils (do not substitute green or brown) 1 1/2 - 2 cups H20 a bay leaf or two one smallish onion one medium tomato one medium to large onion, chopped a little butter or margarine 6 oz. grated cheddar 2 eggs 3 slices finely crumbled whole wheat bread generous pinch rosemary generous pinch thyme black pepper to taste 3 T lemon juice oregano to taste 4 T chopped fresh parsley basil to taste generous amount of paprika Sort and wash lentils. Combine with H20 and bay leaf, bring to a boil, cover and simmer until lentils are tender. When you stir them they should mush. Remove the bay leaf. Place onion and tomato in food processor or blender. Puree. This is kind of optional. You could use some ketchup instead of the tomato, and use some onion powder in place of the pureed onion. Brown the chopped onion in the butter. Combine all the ingredients and mix together well. I realize my spice quantities are fairly vague, but that's about as precise as I can be. You have to spice it the way you like. I suggest being generous but not *too* generous with the rosemary and thyme, being reasonably liberal with the oregano, pepper, and basil, and using a heavy hand with the paprika. Mix it all together well. Grease a loaf tin with butter or margarine. You should now have a bowl full of mush. Spoon the mush into the loaf tin. Oh, yeah, you should have preheated the oven to 375 ... forgot that. Spread salt over the top of the loaf, if you like. Also, you might, if you used a lot of onion, not mix it all in and leave a small amount (not browned first) onion for the top. Bake for 1 hour until a nice crust is formed. This is similar in consistency to that good ol' God-fearing American classic meatloaf, but it stays together better. The colour is a little lighter, but if you are intent on fooling omnivores you could imply that it's made with ground chicken and they'd probably believe you. Once you get the spicing down, though, this is a dish that even the most died-in-the-wool omnivore would enjoy. It has significant nutritional advantages over regular meatloaf, among them being lower in fat and containing a good amount of soluble fiber. IMHO it tastes fantastic, and has the significant advantage of holding together really well, much better than beef meatloaf. Serve with tomato sauce (like Campbell's tomato soup) or an onion or mushroom gravy. It is great cold, and makes a good sandwich.