Cheddar Cheese and Lentil Loaf

This recipe came from my husband’s Aunt Maria.  Every time I make it, I vary the ingredients, depending on what I have and for experimentation, so I encourage you to change things up, if you want.  The original recipe goes as follows:

1/2 lb. cheddar cheese, shredded

2 c. cooked lentils

1/2 small onion

2 t. thyme

1/2 t. salt

1/4 t. freshly ground pepper

1 c. soft bread crumbs, packed

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 T. butter, softened

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the cheese, lentils, and onions, then add the salt, pepper, and thyme.  Next, add the bread crumbs, egg, and butter and mix thoroughly.  Bake in a greased loaf pan for 45 minutes to an hour (when cooking other things at the same time, it will take a bit longer).

A few notes:

This is great served with winter squash and rice.  I also like to serve it with pasta and marinara sauce (in which case I replace most or all of the cheddar with mozzarella).  Speaking of the cheese, you can use less if you’re looking for something lower in fat.  Just add a couple tablespoons of liquid (e.g. vegetable stock or water) to keep it from getting too dry.  Speaking of dry, if you cook your own lentils for this, be sure that they are fully cooked, or the loaf will turn out dry.  I’ve never used canned, but I’m sure they’re fine, just don’t include the canning juices.  When I make this, I usually make a double batch and freeze half of it to pull out on a busy night.  It’s a great substitute for meat as a main dish.  In fact, my carnivorous husband started craving this recently after I’d been out of the house for a couple weeks while our bathroom was getting remodeled.  So I made it the first week I was back home….I hope you love it as much as we do!

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