Okay, so this isn’t the simplest recipe in the world in that it’s pretty easy to make but has a lot of steps and takes a good bit of time. That said, it’s a showstopper, if I do say so myself, and perhaps a good addition to the vegan Halloween canon. It was inspired by a post in our Humane Halloween group of a cake designed to look like Oogie Boogie from Nightmare Before Christmas and my first thought was that I’d like that better as a lentil loaf. (Once a savory girl, always a savory girl.) I spent the better part of October figuring out in my head how it might take shape and here we go. It’s alive! ALIIIIIIVE! (Okay, I mixing up my horror here.)
The trickiest part of this recipe is cutting the Oogie Boogie shape out and making sure things are properly cooled so the drawn on details don’t run. (This will make the lentil loaf not warm when served, but what you can do is take a picture of the OB in all his glory, then re-heat.) I recommend having at least one other set of adult hands on deck to help lift the loaf out of the pan for decorating as it is heavy and large. I will not lie: it is kind of a messy project but it is worth it, and the loaf itself - dense and flavorful with caramelized sauce under a light mashed potato topping - is worth it for its own merits and can be made without the Nightmare Before Christmas scary dude. My son, not a fan of lentils in general, loved it but I think mashed potatoes always helps.
Lentil Loaf 2 ½ cups dry brown or green lentils, sorted, cooked until firm (this was 7 minutes in my Instant Pot) 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed ½ cup water 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 1 yellow onion, diced 1 heaping cup carrots, diced 2 celery stalks, sliced or diced2 tablespoons minced garlic 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce 2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce 3 ounces tomato paste, stirred with enough water to make a marinara-like consistency 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast A couple of squirts of liquid smoke (optional) 1 tablespoon ground sage 1 tablespoon thyme 2 teaspoons smoked paprika 2 cups rolled oats 1 cup vegan BBQ sauce of choice Salt and pepper to taste 7 ounces breadcrumbs
Green Mashed Potatoes 6 cups russet or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks 2 cups English shelled peas 1 cup plain, unsweetened non-dairy milk ⅓ cup melted vegan butter 2 teaspoons garlic powder Salt and pepper to taste
Flourish 1 cup vegan BBQ sauce of choice 1 tablespoon unsulphured molasses
Stir together the flax and water, storing in the ‘fridge until needed.
Line a rectangular baking pan with parchment paper with enough “overhang” so the loaf can be lifted out. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet for a minute over medium heat.
Add the onions, carrots and celery, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. Lower the heat to low and add the garlic, tamari, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste blend, nutritional yeast, ground sage, thyme and paprika, stirring until mixed.
Transfer to a large bowl. In a food processor, pulse 4 cups of the cooked lentils with 1 cup of the breadcrumbs until it gathers. Place this in the large bowl with the remaining lentils, remaining breadcrumbs, flax mixture and 2 cups of rolled oats. Add salt and pepper. Stir everything together with a large spoon.
Transfer to the baking pan and press down with the back of a spoon until everything is flat and level. Spread the one cup of BBQ sauce evenly over the top of the loaf and bake for 65 minutes.
When there’s about 20 minutes left of cooking time, start your mashed potatoes.
Fill a large pot with your potatoes and cold water. Boil until the potatoes are tender and easily pierced with a fork.
Cook the peas in boiling water for two minutes. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth with the non-dairy milk and melted butter. Place the potatoes in a large bowl with the blended peas, garlic powder, and salt and pepper.
By now, the loaf should be completed. Spread mashed potatoes on top of the loaf, reserving some for spreading on the sides. Allow the loaf and mashed potatoes to cool before cutting or it will break apart. Wait at least team minutes. While you are waiting, mix together the BBQ sauce and molasses and store in the fridge to thicken and cool.
Using a small, sharp knife, cut your Oogie Boogie shape. The pieces you cut off can and should still be eaten! Just put them in a separate container.
Once the shape is cut out, get someone to help you carefully lift your loaf out of the pan and place on a serving platter or cutting board. Your loaf will need to be entirely room temperature for the drawn on details to not run. Add remaining mashed potatoes to the sides. Once it is ready, draw on the face and stitchings. I used a squeeze bottle I usually use for decorating cookies but you can cut a small hole in the corner of a plastic bag and gently squeeze out the BBQ sauce mixture. Take a picture, show off to your friends, re-heat, cut and enjoy!
Protein, Lentils, Seasonal, Fall, Halloween, Main Dish, Entrée, Potatoes
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