Vegetarian "Meatloaf"

I won't lie to you--it looks kind of like dung. It's cheap, though. (Shockingly, I "invented" this in college.)

Vaguely based a recipe for lentil-carrot burgers from a PETA cookbook, which I modified because they didn't stay together very well and I'm too lazy to form a bunch of burgers and fry them a few at a time.

1 pound lentils
1 onion
2-3 carrots
1 can tomato paste
1 egg (optional)
onion powder
garlic powder
dried parsley (optional)
bread crumbs (so far I've always used seasoned bread crumbs just 'cause someone gave me a can of that kind)

Cook the lentils until they're fairly soft. While they're cooking, chop the onion and grate the carrots. Sauté the onion and grated carrots in some oil until they begin to get slightly brown. [I'm not sure that grated carrots are usually easy to saute; they don't quite come out like carrot chunks would, but it does something to them, and since I use a teflon pan, they don't stick or burn].

Mash the lentils with a fork or potato masher. If you need to use a fork, make sure to cook them really well as it will make the mashing eaier. Add in the cooked onions and carrots, the tomato paste, the egg (if using) and the spices (to taste - I use at least a tablespoon of paprika, usually a lot more). Then add the bread crumbs - add enough to make it bind the mixture together. It's really pretty flexible. If you're the only one who's gonna eat it, it's easier (and kinda fun) to mix the bread crumbs in with your hands.

Pat the whole mixture into a greased 2-quart glass pyrex dish and bake at 350 for awhile (usually at least 30 minutes). Sometimes I cover it if the top begins to look really dry.

It doesn't hold together that well immediately after it comes out of the oven, but if you let it cool, you can slice it and microwave individual servings.

The original recipe was as follows:

Lentil-Carrot Burgers

¼ c chopped onion

¼ c grated carrot

¼ c water

3 c cooked lentils, mashed

2 TBS chopped fresh parsley

3 TBS tomato paste

¾ c bread crumbs

salt to taste

Cook the onion & carrot in the water until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain off excess water, then combine onions and carrots with remaining ingredients. Add a little water if needed. Form into patties & fry in a lightly oiled frying pan until browned on both sides & heated through –about 10 minutes.

Makes about 10 patties

Takes about 25 minutes.

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