Easy Vegan and Gluten-Free Lentil Loaf

Vegan and Gluten-Free Lentil Loaf
The Spruce
Prep: 35 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Rest : 15 mins
Total: 110 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
180 Calories
5g Fat
28g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 180
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 7%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 576mg 25%
Total Carbohydrate 28g 10%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 3mg 17%
Calcium 26mg 2%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 277mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This easy recipe for vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free lentil loaf is a savory preparation that is sure to become a new favorite in your weekly menu. This version of the American classic is equally delicious and filling to the classic meat editions. A side of mashed potatoes and steamed green beans will bring some nostalgia to your table, and the moist and juicy loaf can be made ahead of time and baked right before dinner.

Packed with fiber and folate, lentils are an excellent plant-based source of protein. Lentils are also very inexpensive, and a little goes a long way—1/2 cup of dry lentils yields 1 1/2 cups of cooked lentils, enough to feed 2 or 3 people. This easy preparation makes lovely leftovers for school meals, stuffed pitas, sandwiches, or salads and can be dressed up with your favorite vegetarian gravy or toppings.

The tomatoey sauce on top gives the loaf a true meatloaf look and gives a sweet and tangy kick to the earthy flavor of the lentils. Cooked rice gives the loaf volume and texture, and fragrant onions and garlic add a sweet flavor. Our recipe is gluten-free, so if you need to be strict about gluten consumption, be sure to read the labels of the vegetable broth, ketchup (or BBQ sauce) you're using, as many use wheat-based ingredients for texture.

We recommend brown lentils for our recipe or green, but don't attempt this recipe with red lentils as they're too soft and the loaf will never set enough to be sliced.

2:02

Click Play to See This Easy Vegan and Gluten-Free Lentil Loaf Recipe Come Together

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups lentils

  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth, or water 

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 medium onions, diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 cups cooked white rice

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup ketchup, or barbecue sauce, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon sage

  • 3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Vegan lentil loaf ingredients
    The Spruce
  2. Heat oven to 350 F. Rinse the lentils and drain well. Fill a large soup or stockpot with vegetable broth (or water) and add the lentils. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until cooked, for about 30 minutes. Lentils need to be soft for the best results.

    Cooking lentils
    The Spruce
  3. Drain thoroughly. Mash the lentils while they are still hot until they are creamy in texture but some whole lentils can be seen. Set aside.

    Mashed lentils
    The Spruce
  4. Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized skillet. Add the onions and garlic and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft.

    Sauteed onions and garlic in olive oil
    The Spruce
  5. Combine the onion mixture, mashed lentils, cooked rice, salt, 1/4 cup of ketchup or barbecue sauce, sage, and Italian seasoning. Mix well.

    Lentil loaf mixture
    The Spruce
  6. Gently press the entire lentil mixture into a greased loaf pan. Coat the loaf with 1 or 2 tablespoons of the remaining ketchup.

    Lentil loaf mixture with ketchup
    The Spruce 
  7. Bake the lentil loaf for 1 hour, basting with additional ketchup every 15 minutes or so. Allow it to cool slightly for about 15 minutes before slicing and serving, as this will help the lentil loaf firm up.

    Cooked vegan lentil loaf
     The Spruce
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Can I Make the Loaf Ahead of Time?

For busy lifestyles, this loaf can be made ahead for quick-cooking the next day:

  • Prepare the lentil loaf the day before, place it in a loaf pan, but don't coat it with ketchup.
  • Cover it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.
  • When ready to eat, bring the loaf to room temperature, top with sauce, and bake it using the recipe's directions.
  • Keep leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Warm-up in the microwave for 30 seconds per slice. To freeze leftovers, bag individual slices in ziptop bags and freeze for up to 3 months; thaw for 30 minutes, and then quickly microwave each slice.

How to Use Lentil Loaf Leftovers

Use the sliced lentil loaf leftovers in a variety of dishes:

  • Make stuffed pitas with cubed slices of warm loaf and generous amounts of hummus. Serve with Israeli salad.
  • Crumb the lentil loaf and use it as the "ground beef" in a vegan shepherd's pie.
  • Pan-fry some slices in olive oil or vegan butter, top with vegan cheese, and make sandwiches in your favorite crusty bread. Use spreads like vegan pesto or sweet mayo if your diet allows the consumption of eggs. Serve with a green salad.
  • Pan-fry some slices in olive oil or vegan butter, serve over a bed of greens, and drizzle with an avocado dressing like guasacaca.
  • Make tacos with crumbled slices of the loaf. Top with pico de gallo, slices of avocado, and pickled vegetables. Use a drizzle of cream if desired.
Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Lentils Brown, Dry. FoodData Central. United States Department of Agriculture.