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    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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Cranberry Orange Lentil Quinoa Loaf.

With each passing day, Cullen gets a little bit older, a little more alert, and a lot more fun.  With that though also comes extra demands, and less and less time available for me to do much other than shake toys, bounce in front of mirrors, and change diapers.  I do my best to follow my own healthy tips, but I often have to rely on dinners to be my most nutritious meal of the day. 

A lot of times I rely on those dinners to be good sources of protein and vegetables, and this recipe provides both.

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Absolutely packed with flavor, this “loaf” of lentils and quinoa makes for  delicious entrée to serve to your family or friends.  Pair with green beans and rosemary mashed potatoes, for a hearty, filling, and healthy meal. 

Cranberry Orange Lentil Quinoa Loaf

by Emily Malone

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients (4-6 servings)

  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 ribs celery, finely diced
  • 2 large carrots, finely diced
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons peach (or other fruit) salsa

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Then start by combining quinoa, lentils, vegetable broth, and orange juice in either a sauce pot or rice cooker. Cook until all liquid is absorbed, and the lentils and quinoa are cooked.

Meanwhile, finely dice the mirepoix vegetables – celery, carrots, and onions. Dice them evenly and as small as you can, because pieces too big will make it harder for the loaf to bind together. Sauté the vegetables in a skillet over medium high heat until they begin to soften.

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In a small dish, combine chia seeds and 1/2 cup water, and let sit for five minutes until thickened. It should be gel-like after a few minutes, and will serve as an egg replacement.  (If you prefer, you can also sub in 3 eggs.)

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Once the vegetables are cooked, add the cranberries, sunflower seeds, and balsamic vinegar to the pan. Remove from heat.

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Stir in the cooked lentils and quinoa once they are ready, along with the chia seed mixture, and then combine and season the whole pan.

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Press firmly into a greased loaf pan, making sure to push mixture flush against all the edges.

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Spoon salsa over the top to form a coating. I used peach salsa from Trader Joe’s, but any fruity salsa would be tasty.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. Allow loaf to cool slightly before cutting carefully.

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Slice and serve!  Casey and I both agreed that this was incredible. The subtle fruity hints of flavor add a great balance to a savory entrée.

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The combination of lentils and quinoa make this fairly high in protein, so it’s great for vegetarians or vegans who are looking for a break from their regular staples.  I will admit that it didn’t hold together quite as well as I had hoped, but that is often the challenge with vegan cooking. Still, the flavor alone is enough to make you not care of it crumbles here and there.

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This is one of those great meals that not only tastes great, it looks wonderful on the plate. Vibrant colors, nuts and seeds, bite sized vegetables – this recipe has it all.

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I’m planning on making another loaf of this to take to one of my friends who recently had a baby.  It’s good both hot and cold, and won’t last long.  Casey and I ate the whole loaf ourselves in one night!

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Enjoy!

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73 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Amber K     at 11:15 pm

Ooh I’m intrigued. I’m not usually a fan of fruit in savory things, but this looks tasty.

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Lolly     at 1:31 am

I wonder if you took 1/2 cup of the mixture or so and pureed it and then added it back into the remaining loaf mixture, if it would hold together better? I am not a vegetarian but have friends that are and I like to cook for them. This looks like it would impress and be appreciated for being something other than an old standby.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Good idea! I may try that next time.

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Casie     at 2:18 am

Perfection! Looks like something I’d be able to freeze for a quick meal. Seeing as I eat eggs I’m definitely going to give this a try next week.

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bri     at 2:58 am

I was going to suggest the same as Lolly did above. I’ve made a lentil loaf and processed half the cooked lentils and it helped hold it all together
Looks like a great meal, can’t wait to try it out!

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Sneakers2Sandals     at 3:09 am

That looks awesome! My husband hates the idea of eating anything resembling meat loaf. I wonder How those would come out in a ‘ball’ fashion.

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Angela @ Happy Fit Mama     at 3:38 am

I love the combination of the fruit with the lentils and quinoa. This might be something my kids would like, too. It’s got all of their ‘likes’ for the moment.

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Laine     at 3:53 am

I made regular meat loaf for the first time this week. I’m going to make this next. I love the idea of having a loaf of something in the fridge as a go-to meal during the week.

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Simply Life     at 3:59 am

Oh I LOVE this idea!!! Reminds me of something I’d see at Whole Foods and would wonder how they made it!!!

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hannah alehandra     at 3:59 am

Hey Emily, this recipe looks delicious! And just like you my most nutritious meal is always dinner, too. Thanks for the recipe. Hope all is well, much love from England.

http://hannahalehandra.blogspot.com/

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Kinley @ Better Off Barefoot     at 4:17 am

Oh that looks really good! I love loafs of anything though ;)

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Alex @ Raw Recovery     at 4:19 am

I love the combination of cranberries and orange. I’m excited to try this loaf!

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Tessa @ Amazing Asset     at 4:23 am

Oh yum what a wonderful looking recipe! I am definitely saving this for later, aka pinning it :) Thank you Emily!

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Ali @ Peaches and Football     at 4:50 am

This looks so pretty and tasty! I too am going with the egg route but I think I’ll toss in some bread crumbs to see if that also may help bond the loaf a bit more.

Yum!

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Alice     at 4:55 am

That looks so good but last Summer I sadly developed an allergy to quinoa. This was after years of eating it and completely out of the blue. After some research I discovered this wasn’t too uncommon! Will likely try this with brown rice or millett, yum!

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Karen     at 5:19 am

This is perfectly capturing my mood right now…my idea of comfort food! Love the addition of the orange juice and cranberries to contrast with and perk up the flavor of the lentils. Thanks!

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Christina @ Just Running     at 5:52 am

I prepared quinoa for the first time last night, and I used your quinoa and black beans recipe. I was worried about how it would taste because of the cinnamon and cocoa powder, but it turned out great (of course). Thanks, Emily!

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Leah     at 6:24 am

thanks for providing an egg option!

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Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers     at 6:24 am

What agreat dish, very creative!!

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Kris     at 7:15 am

Rather than making it a loaf, I think I’d try baking either in muffin shape, or baking it in a square or rectangular baking dish and cutting it into squares (doubling if it goes in a 9×13).

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Katie @ Peace Love & Oats     at 7:20 am

I was never a big fan of my mom’s meatloaf, but this looks DELICIOUS! Haha lots of great foods mixed in there!

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Katie @ Serenity in the Storm     at 7:35 am

Yum! I’ve never been one to make or eat meatloaf type dishes (we didn’t grown up eating them), but this looks so filling and delicious, I might have to try it. :-) Thanks!

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Emily (Edible Psychology)     at 7:48 am

Looks delicious! I have only made a lentil-type loaf once, but I was so impressed with how tasty (and relatively easy) it was. Thanks for reminding me!

~Emily~

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Renee     at 8:02 am

I think I’m going to make this for dinner tonight. I have about a quarter jar of that Peach salsa in the fridge (and all the other ingred. on hand) and was wondering what I could do with it. I’m going to try the puree idea too.

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Julie (A Case of the Runs)     at 8:10 am

I love making lentil loaves for lunches all week! To make mine stick better, I mash the lentils a bit. I think the egg would help, too, although of course, not for vegans.

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Andrea @ Vegvacious     at 8:12 am

For some reason I’m intimidated with trying a lentil loaf — as a meat eater I could make a butt kickin’ meatloaf, so maybe I’m afraid it won’t be as good??? I don’t know, but this recipe has definitely motivated me to try!

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Heidi     at 9:09 am

This looks delicious and filling! I can’t wait to try this. Thanks :)

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Cyndi     at 12:01 pm

Looks good! I’m always looking for recipes that use lentils. (By the way, I made your chickpea hummus burgers a couple of weeks ago and they were delicious!)

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Kilee     at 12:21 pm

Emily, I eat organic meat and fish, but always find myself wanting to prepare more vegetarian meals when I see your recipes :) Thanks for all of the great veggie-filled recipes, Kilee

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Alaina     at 1:02 pm

Oh, I can just imagine what this would taste like and I love it. :-) This is definitely going to be bookmarked!

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Lindsay @ Peas.Love.Balance.     at 3:06 pm

This looks amazing!! I might prep it tonight so I can just pop it in the oven tomorrow :)

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Gina (Yogattude)     at 3:13 pm

OOooh, that would be fantastic repurposed over salad for lunch the next day (assuming there are leftovers!)

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Michaela     at 3:43 pm

I love the idea of putting salsa on top! Yum!
Small suggestion: next time try to add some ground oats to the mixture. I find that this really helps loaves to stay together.

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Kristen @ Change of Pace     at 5:59 pm

I am so excited about this recipe! It may sound silly but I love the idea of a lentil loaf. :)

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Luv What You Do     at 6:59 pm

I was just running through the list and my pantry in my head because I think I have all the ingredients in my house. I just made two fabulous veggie recipes this week and this looks like a great third to try.

Do you think you could do burgers/patties too? I have seen quinoa burgers at WF and they are delish.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Maybe! Try mashing some of the lentils up first to help the burgers hold together better. Let me know if you try it!

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Kathryn     at 7:32 pm

I think this recipe is the definition of “scary looking” vegan food that’s actually just a bunch a really yummy stuff put together in a new way. Thanks for keeping me open-minded to new foods and lifestyles!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Haha I hope it’s not scary looking! :)

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Mika     at 8:20 pm

This looks AMAZING! I cannot wait to try this recipe in the coming days. Thank you for sharing.

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emily     at 10:03 pm

This is such an interesting combination of flavors. It sounds so unique and delicious! I will definitely be trying this recipe- thank you!

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Kati Mora, MS, RD, Kellogg's FiberPlus(R) Wellness Advocate     at 7:35 am

This dish looks so colorful and flavorful! And I bet its a great source of fiber. I can’t wait to give this a try! Yum.

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Renee     at 7:44 am

Okay….made this last night. I used eggs instead of the chia seeds. It tasted good, and my boyfriend really liked it, but I thought mine came out dry compared to your pics. I think I need to bake it for only 30 minutes, instead of 45. We’re having the leftovers for dinner tonight and I think I’m going to heat up some of the leftover peach salsa to put over it as a sauce. And, it you let it cool a bit (like 10 mins) it’s much easier to cut without it falling apart!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Dry – really? Huh, ours wasn’t dry at all. No idea why! Maybe different lentils? We used green french lentils (I should have specific that, sorry!).

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Karen Reply:

Oh really? French lentils cook more firmly and would explain why mine was mushier than desired. I made it last night but cooked in a shallow casserole dish as I could tell that the chia egg wasn’t going to its job, esp. due to the moistness of the mix. In the end, it turned out really well, and I dished it out casserole style.

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Karen Reply:

Emily – An unrelated question: I’m about to replace my slow cooker/crockpot. Any suggestions? (I couldn’t find any in your Amazon shop.)

Thanks!

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Renee Reply:

I used what I had on hand…which was orange lentils. Maybe that was it? I heated up the leftovers last night and put a little more peach salsa on top and it wasn’t as dry.

I really liked the flavor of the lentil/quinoa mix with the orange juice. I may make just that part again for a side dish. Yum.

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Amanda     at 8:39 am

I whipped this up last night and appreciated the salsa – I think that gave the dish some kick!

Thank You!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Glad you liked it! Thanks for letting me know! :)

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Hillary     at 11:40 am

yummm — I’m on a lentil kick lately. Love the addition of chia, too. This recipe is rockin’ the superfoods :)

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Maren     at 1:30 pm

Yay! I’m making fruit salsa tomorrow for a party, so I might as well throw a little in your loaf recipe and try it out. Thanks for planning my meals for me. Dinner decided!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Yum! Hope it was a hit!

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TeenyLittleSuperChef     at 4:20 pm

Oh man, where was this recipe 2 months ago when I was racking my brain trying to come up with a vegan main dish for Thanksgiving. Oh well, better late than never. I can’t wait to make this loaf, it looks absolutely delicious and has all the flavors I love paired with quinoa. Thanks for the great recipe!

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Alexis @ Hummusapien     at 6:41 pm

I am BEYOND excited to make this. I really need more recipes that aren’t super beany or sraight up tofu. I can’t wait to pick up all the ingredients on my next Trader Joe’s run! Especially that peach salsa!

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Sara     at 7:14 pm

This worked well and is quite tasty! However, adding eggs to the hot mixture made them cook a little before putting it in the oven. (I haven’t ever used chia seeds….) Any suggestions on making it so the eggs just help bind and don’t cook before the oven?

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Emily Malone Reply:

Shoot, didn’t consider the egg cooking from the heat. Not sure how to avoid that! Maybe allow the cooked mixture to cool before assembling and baking?

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Renee Reply:

I had the same thought. I just let it cool a little bit and then tempered the eggs with a small amount of the mixture before I mixed it with the rest of the ingredients and it came out fine.

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Jeralyn     at 7:38 am

This so much more healthy then my meatloaf version. I can’t wait to try it.

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Tori @ Get a Word in Veg Wise     at 11:03 am

Any recipe that uses Trader Joe’s peach salsa is an instant win in my book. And I love the high protein content…putting this on my list to make this weekend! :)

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Hannah     at 7:45 am

I made this for dinner last night and LOVED it! I’m not sure how you come up with your recipes, but every one I’ve tried has been a hit! Love your blog!

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Jerilynne     at 1:14 pm

Hi Emily!

I made this the other day and I LOVED it!! The only problem is… I have a ton of leftovers. (Silly me didn’t halve the recipe like I should have.) How do you think it would hold up in the freezer??

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Emily Malone Reply:

I think it will freeze well! I’m so glad you liked it! :)

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Laine Reply:

It freezes really well. I sliced and froze mine and took it out for an emergency lunch last week.

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Stephanie     at 1:50 am

We made this the other night, and let me tell you, this was nothing short of amazing. I used Mango salsa since that was all I could find and it was so good. Definitely a ‘win’ in our books! Thanks for the recipe :)

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Alice     at 1:23 pm

Wow, once I started cooking for my daughter, all looking after my food needs went out of the window! I sat down and went through the recipes on here long for something that would be healthy, vegan, do me for some lunches AND that I already had all the ingredients for. Bingo! Amazing, it lasted me a good few dinners and lunches and my non vegan husband loved it.
Ok so I didn’t quite have all the ingredients… The first time I subbed the sunflower seeds for pumpkin which isn’t bad. Of course I had no salsa but chopped up some fresh peaches and mixed with a little balsamic vinegar which worked a treat.
Just made the second one YUM :-) will definitely be making more for the freezer soon.

[Reply]

Alice     at 1:25 pm

Wow, once I started cooking for my daughter, all looking after my food needs went out of the window! I sat down and went through the recipes on here long for something that would be healthy, vegan, do me for some lunches AND that I already had all the ingredients for. Bingo! Amazing, it lasted me a good few dinners and lunches and my non vegan husband loved it.
Ok so I didn’t quite have all the ingredients… The first time I subbed the sunflower seeds for pumpkin which isn’t bad. Of course I had no salsa but chopped up some fresh peaches and mixed with a little balsamic vinegar which worked a treat.
Oh and I can confirm this works well with pineapple juice and mixed fruit juice (no orange juice in the house)!
Just made the second one YUM :-) will definitely be making more for the freezer soon.

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Peta     at 8:37 pm

I made this and it was delicious – just like all your recipes! Thanks Emily.

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Christine     at 5:41 pm

Made this tonight-delicious! It didn’t stick together completely but still tasted great!

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kait     at 6:07 pm

i’ve tried this before and it was delicious, thinking about making it again this year but was wondering if i could use flaxseed meal as an egg replacement instead?

[Reply]

Link Love & Vegan How-To | Adventures in Taste     at 11:25 am

[...] been working my way through Daily Garnish’s Cranberry Orange Lentil Quinoa Loaf, which I made this weekend, and it is a filling, savory way to get in a lot more protein and a lot [...]

Laura     at 6:35 pm

I made this lentil loaf tonight, and I loved the flavor. I accidentally used pumpkin seeds instead of sunflower seeds because I misread the recipe. I also used red lentils, which I probably overcooked with the quinoa because the mixture was very mushy. I covered the pot of the lentil/quinoa mixture with a lid while it was cooking. Was I supposed to do that? I feel like the liquid took forever to go away, and it never fully did because it was mushy. I feel like I overcooked the lentils the first time I tried to make a lentil loaf as well… not sure what I’m doing wrong. After baking, the loaf texture itself was mushy as well, but not terrible nor inedible; that mushiness helped hold the loaf together at least!

[Reply]

Laura Reply:

I made this again last week, undoing some of the mistakes that I done last time (listed above). I used green lentils instead of red, which helped a lot. The lentil/quinoa mixture cooked perfectly, and my loaf looked a lot like the one in the pictures posted here. I also used sunflower seeds, where were a lot better than the pumpkin seeds in my opinion.

[Reply]

Last Minute Healthy Holiday Recipes | Healthy Weight Loss Blogs     at 12:00 pm

[...] lentil loaf might be on our Christmas menu this [...]

Daily Garnish » Blog Archive » Weeknight Cooking with Blue Apron.     at 7:41 am

[...] walked in the door – our whole family sat down to homemade mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy, cranberry orange lentil quinoa loaf, and roasted brussels [...]

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