Lentil Chestnut Loaf

How do you make lentils into something extra special? Transform them into a lentil loaf using roasted chestnuts as the secret ingredient, featuring their unique, delicious sweet and nutty flavor and slightly chewy texture. Even better-unlike other nuts, they are very low in fat. You can roast fresh chestnuts, which are available during the winter holiday months of the year or, alternatively, roasted and peeled chestnuts available in vacuum-packed cans or bags.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Lightly oil a loaf pan and sprinkle bottom with 1/2 cup of the breadcrumbs.

Heat oil in a skillet over moderate heat. Add chopped onions and sauté for 5 minutes and then add chopped mushrooms, continuing to sauté for an additional 5 minutes. Or, if cooking without oil, bring the pot to high heat and add the chopped onions, stirring constantly for 3–5 minutes to allow the onions to caramelize without burning and then reducing heat to proceed with the recipe. Add celery, chestnuts, herbs, and the remaining 1 cup of the breadcrumbs to the sauté, stirring to lightly toast the breadcrumbs, add a small amount of water, if necessary, to prevent burning.

In a mixing bowl, combine all the sauté ingredients with the flour, lentils, sesaame tahini, and white miso. Transfer the mixture into the prepared loaf pan, cover, and place into the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Then remove cover off the loaf pan and bake an additional 15 minutes.

Remove from oven, place loaf pan on a wire rack, and allow the loaf to settle and cool for about 15–30 minutes. Using a table knife, go around the sides and edges of the loaf pan to loosen the loaf and carefully invert onto a serving platter. Slice and serve!

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