Holiday Lentil & Buckwheat Loaf

Not the sexiest name, I know, but trust me, it’s exactly what your holiday table is missing.

Have you ever spent holiday dinners eating Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce? I have to admit, this sounds pretty good to me right now, but it is nice to have a thoughtful (non-turkey-shaped tofu disaster) addition to this for those who are on a health-conscious, plant-based path.

Even those who eat everything around the holidays will like this recipe (I mean, probably not my Dad, but like, most people who like food). It has all of the flavours of a traditional stuffing, has a good hearty texture and could even be served in place of stuffing without any song and dance.

The lentils and mushrooms ensure that it is meaty and protein-rich enough to replace the roasted turkey (or roast beef or whatever) while the buckwheat gives it a doughy vibe that replaces any desire for highly refined bread-based stuffing.

The fresh veggies are there in abundance (mushrooms! celery! onions! garlic! all of the fresh, immune-boosting Christmas herbs!) but you can’t really tell, so you will still feel like a big side of the Brussels Sprouts Casserole too.

Psyllium Husk!

But the biggest secret of all is the glue that keeps it from falling apart. Lots of chia seed (that we grind up in a spice grinder or blender) and psyllium husk (available at health food stores and fancy, healthy grocery stores). These two ingredients keep this loaf from falling apart, which is already amazing, but they also are FULLY LOADED with fiber and are even recommended as fiber supplements on their own. So you’ll be sending your guests home with fond memories and some regularity. I’ll thank you on their behalf.

This ‘loaf’ (can you help me come up with a better word? Brick-shaped terrine maybe?) reminds me of the ‘dressing’ (stuffing that doesn’t see the inside of a turkey) that was often made around holiday time when I was working in nice restaurants. It was (usually kind of fancy) stuffing, mixed with eggs and then wrapped in parchment to make it round and then foil. It was then baked, cooled and sliced so that it could be pan-fried before serving.

I guess you could go this route for our recipe too, if you’re feeling fancy. You could also make the loaves, cool them, dice them up, warm them in the oven and serve in a nice dish with a spoon (or on top of a platter of massaged kale, that would be awesome).

OR, if you don’t want the set loaf vibe, make this recipe up until the point just before the chia and psyllium are added and just omit them. It will resemble a loose sauté of veggies, lentils, buckwheat and sunflower seeds, but you could stuff it into little acorn squash halves, or again, serve it warm with a spoon as a delicious, protein-rich side dish (be sure not to add the parsley until right before serving so that it maintains its green.

A true bonus is that this loaf makes the best leftovers. We’ve been testing the recipe over the last few weeks and have been eating it warm (reheated in the toaster oven) in a collard with some Eggplant Mayo and this Cranberry Sauce. I’m going to be very sick of it by the time Christmas rolls around, and this baby might come out loaf-shaped, but at the moment, it is literally getting me/us through the craziness of the season.

Check out these other delicious holiday faves to help set you up to win:
Mushroom Gravy
Cranberry & Pear Compote
Stuffing-flavoured Kale Chips
Green Bean/Brussels Sprouts Casserole
Festive Bitter Lettuce Salad
Swiss Chard & Sweet Potato Gratin
Sun-dried Tomato & Pesto Cheese Spread
Gingerbread Men
Tiger Butter

Holiday Lentil Loaf
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 loaves
  • 2 tsp Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 1 Onion, diced (or 3 shallots, diced, as pictured)
  • 3 Celery Ribs, diced
  • 4 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Portobello Mushroom, roughly chopped
  • 2.5 c (175g) Shitake Mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • ½ Leek, diced
  • 2 tsp fresh Thyme, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh Rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh Sage, chopped
  • ½ c fresh Parsley, chopped
  • ½ c Walnuts (or Sunflower Seeds), soaked for 6-10 hours, drained and rinsed
  • ½ c Puy Lentils (or any lentils), soaked for 8-12 hours, drained, rinsed and cooked with a small sheet of kombu.
  • ½ c Buckwheat, soaked for 8-12 hours, drained, rinsed and cooked.
  • 6 Tbsp Chia Seed, ground in a spice grinder
  • 4 Tbsp Psylium Husk
  • Sea(weed) Salt, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350*F
  2. In a large frying pan, on medium heat, melt the coconut oil and sweat the onion, garlic, leek, celery, mushrooms, thyme, sage and rosemary until the onions, celery and leeks are translucent and the mushrooms are soft and have shrunk.
  3. Turn off the heat and add the cooked lentils, buckwheat and sunflowers seeds. Mix together.
  4. The mixture should be quite dry (no liquid pooling on the bottom), if it's not, turn the heat back on until it evaporates.
  5. Transfer contents to a large bowl, add the fresh parsley and adjust seasoning to taste.
  6. (You can easily serve it at this stage if you choose not to make it into a loaf)
  7. Add the ground chia and psyium and mix well.
  8. Firmly press mixture into two parchment-lined loaf pans.
  9. Bake for 45-50 minutes and let cool on a cooling rack.
  10. Slice (you can reheat the slices at this point) and serve (with miso/mushroom gravy and/or cranberry sauce).


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4 Responses to Holiday Lentil & Buckwheat Loaf

  1. Dana McIntyre December 15, 2016 at 10:27 am #

    Hi Jacqui! Thanks for your (thorough) feedback, I appreciate it. If it is the texture of the chia/psyllium that you weren’t excited about, it could be that you just had to cook the loaf a little bit longer (or turn your convection on) to dry it out (or dry out the mixture more before adding the chia/psyllium). The more wet the mixture, the more potential for that slimy texture (it shouldn’t be slimy, just ‘bound’). You could at this point, with the loaves you’ve already made, bake the individual slices before serving, which will dry it out too. As for the blandness, I definitely haven’t gotten that feedback yet, in fact someone told me they would scale back the herbs because of all of the flavour. What comes to mind (especially because you mentioned that the tamari improved yours) is just to adjust the salt content? The buckwheat and lentils are salt vacuums (naturally very low in salt) and definitely need more than you would think to bring out their flavour. Above all, always taste it and adjust the seasoning before it goes into the loaf pan because the flavour (not texture) will be the same going in as it will be coming out and that’s your last chance to adjust. I like your idea of the tomato addition, it would add some natural salt and acidity too (keep in mind that your cran/rhubarb will add acidity too). Your Mum’s version sounds delicious, the texture on the outside sounds like it would be really nice. Try the toasted buckwheat! You could even sprinkle it on top before it goes in the oven. Let me know how it turns out :)

  2. Jacqui December 14, 2016 at 2:43 pm #

    I just made this – because I only have one loaf tin I cooked one first. I’m glad I did. It was a bit under-seasoned. As a stove-top dish, it was really good, but I don’t really like the chia-seed and psyllium taste and once cooked it tasted lind of bland. So I have added some chilli poweder and tamari and some cracked pepper to the 2nd oneand because I have already made the mixture with the chia seeds and psyllium I will have to live with it!. I have already made a rhubarb and cranberry relish that I aways have at Christmas, so I will serve it with this. It did remind me of the meatload my mum used to make and I loved that as a kid. I don’t eat meat any longer, but I think it’s the sage that I love most about this. Mum used to put 2 tbsp tomato sauce in hers and then she rolled it is toasted breadcrumbs. I think next time I make it I might toast the buckwheat and use less chia seeds and let it set, then coat it in the toasted buckwheat – maybe just on the top? Would that work?

  3. Dana McIntyre December 12, 2016 at 10:02 pm #

    Hi Mer! I’m so happy to hear it :) Let me know what you think.

  4. mer December 12, 2016 at 12:18 pm #

    Wow…I was wishing for a loaf recipe for the holidays and voila! like magic! Can’t wait to try this. Thank you so much :-)

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