Little lentil loaf with mushrooms and fresh sage is a satisfying main course to serve with cranberry sauce at the festive table.
Does everyone else have the same crazy diary situation at this time of the year? Mine is filling up fast and I know Christmas will be here before I know it. I need to get started with list writing so that I’m organised for gift shopping, and I’m definitely already thinking about what to serve on the big day.
Today marks the beginning of sharing a series of festive recipes with you. I know some of you will be thinking “Whaaat, Christmas is ages away!”, but I also know some of you have already finished your gift shopping. And it’s never too soon to start thinking about food.
I posted a question on Facebook last week asking what sort of recipes people would like to see in the lead up to Christmas, and one of the answers was “Something non-meaty to serve with cranberry sauce” (I’m looking at you, Stefani). So that’s exactly what I’ve created. I live to serve, haha.
Little lentil loaf
Humble lentils are one of my favourite ingredients and they lend themselves very well to creating ‘non-meaty’ main course meals. I really enjoy lentil or nut loaf and often make one for Christmas. My one complaint is that they take forever to cook, can be quite expensive to create if they have a lot of nuts in them, and usually only me and my girls eat it.
So today I’ve created something similar, but made mini loaves in muffin tins. Not only do they cook more quickly, but they’re perfectly portion controlled. You can make a full (or double) batch, or take just a few along with you for Thanksgiving or Christmas, and freeze the rest.
I started by sauteeing onion, garlic, mushrooms and fresh sage until the mixture was well coloured. This goes into the food processor with a drained can of brown lentils, oats, sunflower seeds, a chia egg, smoked paprika and tamari/soy sauce to season. I pressed the mixture into greased muffin tins, glazed the tops with a little barbecue sauce, and baked them until set and golden brown.
These little lentil loaves are moist, not too dense, nicely textured and richly flavoured. I decorated them with a little sprig of rosemary to make them look more festive and served them with a spoonful of cranberry sauce. They were a big hit with everyone at my table, including the two year old, so there’s a very good chance I’ll be making them again for Christmas.
The nutritional breakdown isn’t generally a priority for me at Christmas, but these little loaves aren’t just delicious. These are high in iron, protein and fibre, so they’re an ideal ‘non-meaty’ main course any time of the year.
- 1 tbsp chia seeds soaked in 3 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic finely chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh sage finely chopped (about 8 large leaves)
- 100 g button mushrooms sliced (3.5oz)
- 1 can brown lentils drained (about 240g/8.5oz)
- 1/4 cup rolled oats
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce if not gluten free)
- 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- Barbecue sauce to glaze (optional, check ingredients if vegan/gluten free)
- 6 sprigs fresh rosemary to decorate (optional)
- Preheat oven to 200C (390F) fanbake.
- Set chia seeds and water aside to soak for 10-15 minutes, until thick and gloopy.
- Heat olive oil in a frypan (skillet) over medium heat, add onion and garlic and saute until golden. Add fresh sage and mushrooms, and cook for another 5 minutes, or until soft and fragrant. Turn off the heat.
- Add the onion and mushroom mixture to the bowl of a food processor along with the soaked chia seeds and all remaining ingredients (except for barbecue sauce). Whiz to combine, but don't over process - you want to retain some texture here.
- Press the mixture evenly into a greased 6 hole muffin pan. Glaze the tops with a little of your favourite barbecue sauce (optional).
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until set to the touch and golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan a little before removing them.
- Decorate with a sprig of rosemary, if desired.
- Little lentil loaves can be made ahead of time and gently reheated just before serving. Serve with cranberry sauce and your favourite festive side dishes.