It's finally fall! We can now delight in warm, cozy meals such as this one I have for you today. I have been waiting all summer for the season dial to switch to fall so I could have an excuse to make my first lentil loaf! I was always a huge meatloaf fan before going vegan about 9 months ago, and I was astounded by how much this tastes like the real thing. But get this... I think it is even better! I was blown away. The day before making the lentil loaf I had decided to try making butternut squash soup for the first time as well. Also another shocking moment when I learned how much I love butternut squash! It is so sweet and smooth, and when combined with a little spice and warmth it really hits the spot. The soup needed something to go with it, though. A flavor companion. Then came the lentil loaf. Together they make the perfect fall flavor combination and warm feeling I do not think anyone can resist. The lentil loaf recipe is my modified version of Oh She Glows original recipe found here.
Butternut Squash Soup
1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes
1 teaspoon sea salt, for roasting
Olive oil, for drizzling before roasting
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Few dashes of cayenne pepper
1 cup dry green lentils
3 cups organic vegetable broth
3 tablespoons flax seed
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup sweet onion, diced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup gluten free oat flour (I ground up some GF rolled oats)
3/4 cup gluten free rolled oats
1 teaspoon sea salt
Few dashes of cayenne pepper
1 heaping tablespoon of dried thyme
Lentil Loaf Glaze
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
For the soup:
Begin by preheating your oven to 400 F and tossing your cubed butternut squash with a few drizzles of olive oil and sea salt in a large baking pan. Roast until tender and soft enough to stick a fork through with ease, mine took about 45 minutes. Scoop squash into the bowl of a food processor. Puree until smooth, then add your spices. I encourage you to use whichever spices you like best, this dish can be dressed up in multiple ways! I love the heat of cayenne and the warmth of garlic, but I am sure some maple syrup and chipotle powder would taste lovely in this dish too. Blend well and serve, or keep warm in a pot on the stove while you are preparing the lentil loaf.
For the lentil loaf:
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Rinse and drain your lentils, and combine the dry lentils with the 3 cups of vegetable broth, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook for about 40 minutes or until lentils are done. When finished, remove lentils from heat and let sit uncovered for about 15 minutes. During this time, combine the 1/2 cup of warm water with the 3 tablespoons of flax seeds and let sit while you prepare the rest of the loaf.
Reserve 1/4 of the lentils in a mixing bowl, and puree the rest in a food processor or high speed blender. There may still be some whole lentils in your pureed mixture - this is okay. Add the pureed lentils to the whole ones in the bowl and mix well. Now add the rest of the ingredients (including the flax and water mixture) and mix until fully incorporated. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper so that it is hanging out on either side of the pan, creating little "wings" for you to lift the loaf out with after baking. Fill the loaf pan with the lentil mixture, pressing down well to pack it in, and top with the glaze (just combine all the glaze ingredients in a bowl and mix well). Bake the loaf for 40-45 minutes.
Let rest for 15 minutes after removing it from the oven. Use parchment "wings" to help remove the loaf from the pan. Slice and serve with a cup of butternut squash soup, happy fall =)