When I bought my first vegetarian cookbook years ago, I quickly found out that cooking meatless can be fun and yummy. At the beginning, I followed the recipe instructions in the book step by step, but it didn’t take long until I unbridled my imagination and started experimenting.
The recipe below is a result of trying out different combinations of ingredients, changing their amounts and adding more flavour and nutritional value to the dish. Lentils are known to be low in fat but high in proteins, sauerkraut is packed with vitamins and minerals important during our long winters, when there are no freshly grown vegetables available.
Baked Lentil Loaf on Caramelized Sauerkraut is a substantial dish which won’t weigh you down. It is also suitable for the gluten-free diet.
Baked Lentil Loaf on Caramelized Sauerkraut
Serves 4 – 6
For the loaf:
- 200 g lentils (1 cup)
- 50 g oat flakes (½ cup)
- 5 tablespoons coarse yellow cornmeal
- 2 eggs
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 medium size carrots (about 70 g)
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon marjoram
- ground black pepper to taste
- oil for basting
For the sauerkraut:
- 700 g sauerkraut
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 large onion
- 5 tablespoons oil
- Put the lentils in a sieve and rinse under running water. Transfer to a saucepan and fill with water up to 2 cm above the level of the lentils. Place over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Adjust the heat and let simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked through.
- Meanwhile, peel and wash the carrots. Grate them into a clean mixing bowl. Peel the garlic. Rinse the oat flakes in a sieve under running water and let drain.
- Strain the cooked lentils in a colander. Transfer to the grated carrots. Add the wet oat flakes, spoon in the cornflour and the oil, then break the eggs into the mixture. Season with the salt and marjoram. Finally, crush the garlic on top. Mix until all the ingredients are well combined.
- Grease a baking dish with a little oil and transfer the lentil mixture into it. Shape a loaf with your hands.
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC and put the baking dish inside. Bake for about 40 minutes, basting the loaf with oil every 10 minutes. When a golden brown crust forms on the top, take the dish out of the oven. Cover to keep warm.
- Meanwhile, peel and chop the onion. Place a large pan with a heavy bottom over a medium heat. Sprinkle the sugar around the pan and let melt until a golden brown liquid forms.
- Spoon the oil into the caramelized sugar and let warm, stirring it gently around the pan. Add the chopped onion and roast until translucent, stirring now and then.
- Add the sauerkraut with its juices and cook over a medium-low heat for another 10 minutes or until the sauerkraut is tender enough for your liking. Put aside.
- Divide the cooked sauerkraut onto plates and put a few slices of the lentil loaf on the side. Serve immediately.