The #SundaySupper group is so full of creativity and ideas that it’s just too much for one day a week, so Family Foodie has launched #WeekdaySupper. But, rather than everyone in the group cooking something all the time, we are taking a more relaxed approach, with just one recipe from one member, each day of the week. This is my first #WeekdaySupper recipe, and whether you are a vegetarian or just looking for a meat-free meal to add to your weekly repertoire, I hope that my Moroccan Lentil Loaf will appeal to you.
Lentil loaf can sound a little drab and uninsipiring, but it does not need to be at all. Not just for vegetarians, if you play around with it to get a combination of flavours you like, this is a hearty dish which will satisfy everyone.
I decided to make a Moroccan loaf because the flavours work so well with the lentil base, providing just the right balance of exotic sweetness and fragrant spice. I live to travel, and conjuring up tastes of faraway lands is one way to enliven my British kitchen on a cold, miserable night.
Morocco is an assault on the senses – the medinas and markets are a riot of colours, tastes and smells, all colliding with each other. The food echoes this, with vibrant colours powered by an earthy rainbow of spices: tumeric, ginger, paprika, cinnamon, cumin, pepper.
This loaf does take a bit of time and pre-planning, but once made, it is incredibly versatile and will keep for a while. It’s worth making in advance to get you through those busy week nights when you just need to throw something together. You can even slice it and have it cold in a sandwich – perfect for lunchboxes.
This loaf is vegetarian, and if you use gluten-free oats, it is entirely GF. I have used an egg to help it to bind and to give it a nice top, but this can be omitted for vegans. It is packed full of nutritious things, with protein from the lentils and flaxseed, and a delightful array of vegetables and fruit.
Preheat the oven to 200C. Grease and line a loaf tin.
Rinse the lentils and put in a pan with about a pint of water or vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 30 mins with a lid on. Stir occasionally. Drain the lentils and put into a bowl to cool.
Dice the onion, garlic and celery and begin to saute in a frying pan with a little vegetable oil. Finely chop the peppers and carrot and add to the pan. Add the tumeric, paprika, cumin and pepper. Stir and saute until the vegetables have softened, then remove from the heat.
Mix the flaxseed with about 2 tbsps of water and set to one side.
Roughly chop the dried apricots and beat the egg.
Use a food blender to puree about half of the lentils. This will help to stop the loaf falling apart.
Combine everything in a large mixing bowl, adding the remaining spices, oats, sultanas, flaxseed and most of the egg at this stage – reserve a small amount of the egg for the top of the loaf.
Spoon into the loaf tin and lightly brush the remaining egg over the top. Put into the oven and bake for about 45 mins, until browned.
Leave to cool fully in the tin, then turn out carefully. It is a little delicate, but it should be firm enough once cool. Cut into slices and serve – it works well with mashed potatoes and gravy, or steamed vegetables and a dip, or any way you like!
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge – it will also freeze very well.