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March 2014

Best Lentil Meatless Meatloaf

Best Meatless Meatloaf slice 

Best Lentil “Meatless” Meatloaf

I’ve been experimenting lately with some new “healthier” recipes. With a little less flour and sugar in my life, I’ve been looking for recipes that are nutritious, tasty, and help ward off cravings for foods that I’m trying to avoid. This hearty “faux meatloaf” packs lots of flavor and the lentils and brown rice keep you feeling full and satisfied. 

Download Best Lentil Meatless Meatloaf

1 1/2 cups lentils, picked over and rinsed

3 1/2 cups vegetable broth (or water

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium onions, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon black pepper

2 cups pre-cooked brown rice (great use of leftover rice)

1/3 cup ketchup or barbecue sauce


1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x5 loaf pan or line with parchment paper (for easy removal)

2. In a large pot, bring the lentils and vegetable broth or water to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover with lid, and simmer until cooked and they have absorbed most of the liquid, about 30-45 minutes.

3. While the lentils simmer, heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add chopped onions, carrot, celery and bell pepper and cook until softened – 7-10 minutes. Stir in garlic, salt, thyme, cumin, and pepper and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Set aside to cool.

4. Drain the lentils in a fine mesh strainer and return to pot; mash lentils with fork or back of a large spoon. Stir in the brown rice, sautéed vegetable mixture, ketchup and mix until combined.

5.  Gently press the mixture into a lightly greased loaf pan. Spread extra ketchup on top if desired. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving, as this will help the loaf firm up. 

Rinsed lentils 

Meatless lentil loaf 2

Hearty Vegetable Bean Soup

Best Hearty Vegetable Bean Soup 

This is a simple, hearty, delicious vegetable soup. Reminiscent of a Tuscan bean soup, it’s packed with flavor and incredibly satisfying. To keep it vegetarian, just omit the pancetta, and use vegetable stock. I like to stir in a little brown rice into the serving bowl, but it’s also great with a nice slice of rustic bread that has been toasted and drizzled with olive oil. Feel free to grate some fresh parmesan over the top of the soup too! 

Download Hearty Vegetable Bean Soup recipe


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large brown onion, diced

4 carrots, diced

3 celery stalks, diced

½ teaspoon salt

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 teaspoons fresh thyme

¼- ½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

1 - 28 ounce can Muir Glen diced tomatoes

2 medium zucchini, diced

2 - 15 ounce cans white cannellini beans, low sodium, drained and rinsed

1 – 15 ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 quart low sodium chicken or vegetable stock

1 piece Parmesan cheese rind, about 5 inches by 2 inches

1 rosemary sprig

1 bay leaf

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon or lime or juice

1. Heat oil and pancetta in large Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pancetta is lightly browned and the fat has rendered, 6 to 10 minutes.

2. Add the onion, carrots, celery and salt.  Cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes - stir frequently so as not to brown. 

3. Add the garlic, tomato paste, thyme and red pepper flakes and cook for about 1 minute longer. Add tomatoes, zucchini and rinsed beans, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add the chicken or vegetable stock, rosemary, parmesan rind, and bay leaf and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low.  Cover partially and simmer for 30 minutes.

5. Discard rind, bay leaves and rosemary sprig and season stew with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, use back of spoon to press some beans against side of pot to thicken stew.  Stir in parsley and fresh lemon juice. This soup tastes even better the next day.

1 piece Parmesan cheese rind soup