Everyone has those few foods where the mere thought transcends them back into time. Or where a certain food is attached to a memory or thought. While I could endlessly go on and on, some of mine include:
- Groundnut chicken curry
- Heart-shaped pizzas
- CapriSonne Apple Juice
- Collin the Caterpillar Chocolate cake
- Dosas with a generous side of butter
- Indo Mi instant noodles
(Any ideas why I was a ‘bigger-boned’ kid ;))
Another one that falls into the above category is meatloaf. While the mention of meatloaf conjures up negative connotations for most (school mystery meat and so forth 😯), I only have fond memories of eating it while I was growing up in Nigeria. Although the mashed potatoes were undoubtedly the better half of the meal, I still loved eating meatloaf drenched in black pepper gravy.
As my red meat consumption is now close to zilch, I made a vegan lentil ‘meatloaf’ last week. In spirit of last week’s post, it’s loaded with heart-healthy ingredients. The even better part is that all the ingredients are locally available in almost any country. After living in Nigeria, and now Mumbai, I know how irritating it is to come across a recipe which contains random, inaccessible ingredients (nutritional yeast- Are you kidding me?)
Before I get given false credit, I got this recipe off http://eatliverun.com
Vegan Lentil Walnut Loaf (makes 1 loaf)
- 1 cup lentils
- 3 cups vegetable stock or broth
- 1 large yellow onion
- 1 large carrot
- 1 stalk celery
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 3 tbsp ground flax mixed with 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- In a small bowl, combine the ground flax and 1/2 cup water. Set aside.
- Simmer together the lentils, broth and a pinch of salt for about 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender and have absorbed all the broth.
- Meanwhile, prepare your veggies. Chop the onion, grate the carrot and dice the celery. Sauté the onion and celery in the olive oil over medium high heat for six minutes, or until tender, not caramelized. Add the garlic and carrot and cook for about another four minutes.
- Toast the walnuts in the oven for six to seven minutes. Add them to the onion/carrot/garlic mixture on the stove and stir well.
- Add the oregano, salt and pepper as well and then take the mixture off the stove and transfer to a large bowl.
- Add the breadcrumbs, flax/water and cooked lentils and toss well. Press mixture into a greased loaf pan and set aside while you make the topping.
- In another small bowl combine the ketchup, maple syrup and vinegar. Spread on top of loaf. Bake for 40 minutes and then out on a plate.