You asked for it, you got it! A couple of days ago, I couldn’t decide which recipe to post here on the blog, so I polled readers on my Facebook page, and the votes were about two to one in favor of these savory veggie-lentil loaves! I must admit I was a bit surprised given my own love of sweets. For those new to an anti-candida diet or anyone who follows a dairy-free, egg-free and gluten-free diet, this recipe will meet your dietary needs perfectly–and it’s here just under the wire for the holidays! In fact, it may just make an appearance on our own holiday table this year, we enjoyed it so much. And not to worry–the sweet option will show up next time. Thanks to everyone who voted!
As a rule, I must admit I’m not a huge fan of the concept of “mini” (unless you count mini skirts, which I adored in my 20s and 30s and wore fairly frequently). One of my friends in childhood collected those Wade figurines that used to come for free in boxes of Red Rose tea–tiny birds, rabbits, puppies, frogs, even flowers and plants, all painstakingly painted and glazed. They were cute, I supposed, but I would have been worried I’d lose them too easily; and really, I wondered what the heck one would do with them except perhaps count them and then place them back on the shelf (and these days, I’d wonder how the heck one would dust them all). When I was first introduced to a platter of petits fours at a party years ago, my initial impulse was to eat four or five of them to equal the same mass as one “full” piece of cake. (Miniature chocolates never interested me, either–obviously).
The HH does keep telling me that he thinks my car is far too “mini,” but I love it even if there isn’t quite enough room to house both my groceries and The Girls in the back seat at the same time. (“We love it, too, Mum. And I don’t mind having to drive with my head resting on Elsie’s bum because of how crowded it is. . . it’s worth it if it means we get a drive to the trail!”).
Besides, my little vroom-vroom is a Bugatti Type 41 compared to the car I once rode in on a blind date. My friend Sterlin had fixed me up with her classmate’s brother. Mr. Bro drove up in a red Alfa Romea Spider, shook my hand, then rounded back to his side of the car without so much as a glance in my direction (despite the fact that I was wearing one of those aforementioned mini skirts). Had I not rushed to grab the handle and slide into the tiny seat, I daresay he would likely have driven off without me. We proceeded to have the shortest date on record (less than 45 minutes, including dinner, as I recall), and that was the last I ever heard from him. Despite the enormity of his ego, his car remains the smallest one I’ve ever seen.
But back to the loaves. An exception to my miniature-aversion, they won my heart (and stomach). While I will always adore my full-sized nut roasts, I wanted something a little more elegant for this recipe, something you could feel proud to serve to friends–or at a holiday dinner. They provide a rather impressive presentation with their verdant cloak of rich avocado-tahini sauce, inspired by a sauce made with an avocado-tahini combo in Nava Atlas’s latest cookbook. And since the serving size is already pre-determined, there are no awkward moments after starting to cut slices too thick and ending up with only a few paltry dregs left by the time you get to Aunt Agnes if she’s the last one served.
The loaves themselves are not another attempt at mock-meat, but rather a full-on, veggie-centric offering, moist and colorful with carrot, zucchini and fennel (if you’re not a fennel fan, you can use another veggie such as celery or even broccoli in its place; but do give the fennel a try. 2012 was my Year of Learning to Love Fennel, and I highly recommend it in this dish). The mild flavor of the loaves is perfectly complemented by the creamy, savory sauce.
And it may be a cliché to say, but the loaves are big on flavor despite their diminutive size. And clearly, they won the maximum number of votes among all of you, too. 🙂
Individual Veggie-Lentil Loaves with Warm Avocado-Tahini Sauce
Delicious, nourishing and comforting, these mini loaves are chock full of vegetables and high in protein. And they make a lovely presentation if you’re serving to guests at a holiday dinner. For a weeknight meal, you can bake in a regular loaf pan. This recipe can be easily doubled.
For the loaves:
1/2 cup (120 ml) dry brown or green lentils, rinsed and picked over to remove any small stones
1-1/2 cups (360 ml) vegetable broth or stock, plus up to 1/2 cup (120 ml) more, if necessary
1 Tbsp (15 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
1 small or 1/2 large zucchini (4.5 oz or 125 g), coarsely chopped (you can leave the skin on)
1/2 medium fennel bulb, coarsely chopped
1/2 large white onion, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, sliced
1/2 large carrot, grated
1/4 cup (60 ml) quinoa flakes
1/3 cup (80 ml) garfava flour (or use chickpea flour)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) paprika
1/4 tsp (1 ml) celery salt
1/4 tsp (1 ml) onion salt
1 Tbsp (15 ml) Bragg’s, wheat free tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp (5 ml) white or light miso paste
For the Sauce:
1/2 small avocado
2 Tbsp (30 ml) tahini
1/4 cup (60 ml) vegetable broth or stock
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 tsp (10 ml) Bragg’s, wheat-free tamari or soy sauce
2 Tbsp (30 ml) fresh parsley, chopped
Prepare the loaves: Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Spray 6 miniature loaf pans with nonstick spray, or grease with coconut oil. Set aside.
Place the lentils and broth in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer; cover the pot and allow the lentils to cook for 25 minutes, checking for doneness after 15 minutes or so. Once the lentils are soft and the liquid has been absorbed, turn off heat (if the liquid is absorbed before the lentils are cooked, add another 1/2 cup/120 ml broth and keep cooking).
In a large nonstick frypan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the zucchini, fennel, onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the carrot and quinoa flakes and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is golden. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a food processor along with the remaining ingredients. Add the lentils to the processor and blend until well mixed but there is still a bit of texture from the vegetables (I made mine almost smooth, but a few flecks of carrot and zucchini were still visible). Transfer to the pans and smooth the tops of each.
Bake the loaves in the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, until the tops are well browned. Allow cool for 15 minutes before inverting onto serving plates. Top with a spoonful of Avocado-Tahini Sauce and serve. Makes 5-6 mini loaves.
During the final 15 minutes while the loaves bake, make the Avocado-Tahini Sauce (you can make it before hand, but note that the color will darken as the sauce sits): In a small food processor, blender or Magic Bullet, blend together all ingredients. Transfer to a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until just warmed through. Spoon over lentil loaves and serve. This sauce is also terrific over pasta. Makes about one cup (240 ml).
Suitable for: ACD All Stages, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, nut free, vegan, low glycemic.
Thanks to everyone who entered to win my trio of ebooks last week–and congratulations to Constance, who won! Whoo hoo! And don’t forget that the giveaway to win a series of 24 online cooking classes from Heather Nauta continues until tomorrow!
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Last Year at this Time: Mexican Spiced Black Bean Carob-Cranberry Cookies (gluten free; ACD All Stages)
Two Years Ago: Last Minute Recipe Suggestions (gluten free; ACD All Stages)
Three Years Ago: Warm Butternut Salad with Chickpes and Tahini Dressing (gluten free; ACD All Stages)
Four Years Ago: Chocolate Macaroons in a Flash (not gluten free; ACD Maintenance)
Five Years Ago: Cranberry Holiday Chippers Cookie (not gluten free; ACD Maintenance)
© Ricki Heller, Diet, Dessert and Dogs
[Disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links. If you buy using these links, at no cost to you, I will earn a small commission from the sale.]
I’m generally not a big fan of “meaty” loaves, but for yours Ricki, I would gladly make an exception. These look light, bright, and packed full of veggies- What could be so bad about that! 🙂
Hope you have a very Happy Holiday my dear, and the most joyous of New Years!
Thanks, Hannah! These are actually not “meaty” at all–they are very distinctly veggie! 🙂
They look very delicious, Ricki. Lentils and avocado are a wonderful flavour combination. This will be the next recipe I make over Christmastime!
Thanks so much! I agree–lentils and avocado work so beautifully together. Hope you enjoy! And have a very happy holidays. 🙂
Kari @ bite-sized thoughts says
Mini or not (and I don’t mind mini, although like you eat multiples!), these look delicious 🙂 I will look forward to trying them, they sound lovely.
I guess that’s the only saving grace of “mini”–you can eat several and not feel too bad about it! 😉
Ricki these are adorable and I would love to try them! You had me at avocado sauce 🙂 Merry Christmas to you and yours. xo
Thanks, Maggie! Hope you and Pete and the kids had a great Christmas. xo
I’m a big fan of lentil loaf, and the ingredients for this one sounds so fresh and wholesome — filled with exactly the sort of ingredients I’d want in my lentil loaf. (Well, except maybe for the fennel, though I’m trying).
I once got picked up by a date in his red Porche Spyder. He was gallant and adorable but we had been fixed up by his former girlfriend who had broken up with him, and was apparently trying to find him a replacement. He spent the entire evening telling me how much he loved her and how he couldn’t understand why she dumped him. It was awkward, to say the least.
Andrea, that’s hilarious (well, in retrospect, I’m sure!). And the HH did try to correct me on the spelling of “Spyder,” but I figured if Wikipedia spelled it with an “i,” I’d do the same. 😉
I know next to nothing about cars, but Alfa Romeo and Porche are different, right? One has a spider and one a spyder. I think you’re correct.
Ah, something else to lord over the HH! 😉
Thank you for the ebook deal!! Merry Christmas!
You, too, Jessie! Hope you enjoy them. 🙂 Have a very Merry Christmas!
I am sure this is my goof. I have no idea how to actually download or access the books. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks! (They were purchased under my JamesNJessieJohn at msn dot com address.) Thanks again.
Didn’t you receive them via email? I thought we had tweeted each other about this? Email me at dietdessertdogsATgmailDOTcom and we’ll work it out! 🙂
Is there anyway to do this with already cooked lentil?
Megan, you could try reducing the veg broth to just 1/2 cup and see how that works, but I haven’t tried it this way so can’t promise! It might end up too moist. I also cook the lentils in the broth to add more flavor, so if yours were cooked in water, you might like to add 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) powdered veg broth as well, or additional seasonings. Let me know how it works out if you give it a try! 🙂
Johanna GGG says
these look great – I am fascinated by miniatures – just as well because Sylvia loves little and tiny things right now – though I could do without them strewn over the house. I love big loaves but they can be messy to cut and these look adorable – have never had fennel in a nut roast so must try that (I was pleased you posted the savoury recipe – I love sweet recipes but it is far better for me to be making savoury recipes and esp at this time of year – I feel like I wont bake for months because of all the sweet food in my house)
The Healthy Apple says
Looks amazing, Ricki! Mmmmmm; what a great idea. Beautiful, darling!
Thanks, Amie! They are delish. 🙂
This sauce is amazing! I don’t have all the ingredients for the loaves but I was looking for a way to use avocado with a stir fry of: baby bok choy, onion, zucchini, green peas, garlic, ginger, and green onions. This sauce complements it perfectly! Thank you. This is my first week trying to follow phase one so it helped a lot!
That’s a great way to use it–I toss it with veggies all the time. So glad you liked it, and it helped! 🙂
THIS IS THE MOST SUBLIME THING I HAVE EATEN IN AGES
Thanks so much! Glad you liked them. 🙂
How do these reheat? I want to make them for Thanksgiving but the oven will be tied up with my omni family’s dinner.
Thanks for your comment, Wendy! They reheat beautifully. I have frozen them before, then either wrapped in foil or put on a cookie sheet and covered with foil. Just drizzle a WEE bit of veg broth (maybe 1 tbsp/15ml per loaf) over the top of each loaf first, cover lightly and reheat at 350F/180C for 25-35 minutes, till heated through. Be sure they’re fully defrosted first (or if they came from the fridge, no need to defrost, obviously!) 🙂
These look fabulous! Looking to buy mini loaf pans and finding different sizes. Can you tell me what size you used for these? Thank you!
These were great! I made 6 mini loaves in an 8-loaf capacity pan. Would probably work great in cupcake pans too. The avocado sauce was different, but I couldn’t stop eating it with this loaf. Made vegan mushroom gravy for the leftovers. First time using fresh fennel and cooking lentils. I will make these again.
Thanks so much for stopping back to let me know! I’m thrilled you liked them. And I agree totally about the avocado sauce. . . I was the same way with it!! 😀
Ricki, thanks for giving us such a great recipe. It sounds delicious! Are there any substitutions you might recommend for the miso paste?
Ricki Heller says
You could use about 2 tsp (10 ml) nutritional yeast instead. If you’re trying to avoid soy, though, the Braggs/tamari has it, too. Hope that helps!
I am very excited about your website! There is a plethora of recipes for many diet types. I am clueless about cooking, so your site is a sweet treasure indeed! Today, I made this recipe, the zucchini pie-yeast free and anti candida friendly recipe, and tomorrow I am making your grain-free pumpkin pie. So far, I have only tasted the zucchini pie and it is absolutely scrumptious. 😀
I have a question about this recipe. It is something I will eat throughout the week. Do I need to store it in the refrigerator or can it be left out at room temperature all week?
Thank you very much for sharing all of this information with everyone. It is very generous and thoughtful of you. I am deeply grateful to you for all your efforts in creating this website.
Ricki Heller says
Welcome–and thanks so much for trying out the recipes! I’m glad you enjoyed the zucchini pie. And thank you for your kind words about the site–I am so happy to hear that you’ve found it useful! 😀
For the veggie loaves, YES, you should wrap them and store in the fridge during the week. Thank you for pointing out that omission in the recipe–I will correct it asap! Basically, any cooked food should be stored in the fridge, especially moist foods like this one. Hope that helps!
Thank you for getting back to me so quickly and thank you for the additional note on how to store cooked foods. Like I said, I am clueless about cooking, so this is valuable information. 😉
Also, you are welcome. I really am pleasantly stunned about the high amount of the generous giving away of exceptional quality recipes, your kindness, and this charming, easy to navigate site.
My deepest gratitude and best to you.
Ricki Heller says
Thank you, Dana! Much appreciated. 🙂
You are welcome, Ricki. 😀
Kathryn Grace says
These look marvelous, and I’m not waiting until the holidays to try them. I can feel the textures and tastes on my tongue right now. Today, I shared this as the Recipe of the Day on a Facebook page I curate. It’s readership is still quite small, but I know the folks there will love it.
Thank you for this recipe. I’m glad to have found your blog and site. Best wishes!
Ricki Heller says
Thanks so much, Kathryn. I’m always happy to share links to my recipes! 🙂 Hope you enjoy them.
What are Quinoa FLAKES? I can’t recall ever seeing them in a store, or asked for in a recipe.
Ricki Heller says
They’re like rolled oats, except made out of quinoa. I found them in my local health food store. I used those because when I created the recipe, I wasn’t able to eat oats. You can basically use any kind of grain-based flake; if you’re able to eat oats, just sub with rolled oats. 🙂
Great! Thanks so much for your response 🙂 I’ll definitely be trying these 🙂
Ricki Heller says
Come back after you do and let us know how they turned out! 🙂