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Lentil Cheese Loaf/ Vegetarian Meatloaf (Meatless Monday)

I am married to a South American.  And do you know what South Americans like?  Meat.  So I consider it a major accomplishment whenever I sell my husband on one more meatless dish.  The first time I made this Lentil and Cheese Casserole, my husband told me it was better than meatloaf.  And my mom makes a good meatloaf (whenever we visit, because she knows my husband likes it).  It isn't the prettiest dish (you know what color lentils are, right?), but it is delicious and meatless!

This loaf has extra onions (not so finely chopped) and probably some extra cheese too.  I like that this recipe is pretty fudge-able.

 Lentil Cheese Loaf (Vegetarian Meatloaf) 

2+ cups shredded regular or reduced-fat Cheddar cheese (I like sharp Cheddar)
2 cups cooked lentils (see instructions below)
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 t pepper
1/4 t dried thyme
1 cup bread crumbs
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 T butter, softened
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce

Preheat the oven to 350. In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients except the tomato sauce. Spread the mixture evenly in a greased loaf pan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 min.

Serve warm with tomato sauce, or make sandwiches on English muffins. 

To cook lentils:
Boil 3 cups water. Add 1 1/2 cups rinsed lentils. Reduce the heat, cover pan, simmer for 25-30 min. until lentils are tender. Drain liquid. Measure out 2 cups (may produce more than 2 cups). If you soak the lentils overnight, cook for 10-15 min.

The baby likes it too.

I thought it would need salt, but the cheese really provides all the salt you need. I made my lentils in the pressure cooker, but making lentils in a regular pot is simple and fast too. 

This recipe comes from The Six O'Clock Scramble (author Aviva Goldfarb granted permission to reprint the recipe, which she calls "Lentil and Cheese Casserole").  This cookbook has been the source for several more meatless recipes than have entered my regular rotation, including Tofu fried rice, Black bean burgers, Pasta with mushrooms and peas, Savory Udon Noodle Soup (with tofu),  and Asian pasta salad with ginger-soy dressing.  I'll be posting one more of those recipes in the next couple weeks. 

Happy Meatless Monday!

This post is part of
Hey What's For Dinner