Meat Free Monday – Cheese and Lentil Loaf

I thought it was about time I did a weekly veggie food slot as so many of you have asked me for recipes and/or advice. Mr Thinly Spread and I are both vegetarian and have been since our teens and we are raising four happy and healthy vegetarians as you can see from this blog!

If you have any questions about vegetarianism or raising veggie children please ask away in the comments section and I will do my best to answer them but, if I can’t, a good first port of call is the fantastic Vegetarian Society.

Cheese and Lentil Loaf

This  is our family’s Sunday roast of choice. The children also insist that there must be one on the Christmas table but I cook it in a ring mould then to make it look more festive. The original recipe can be found in the Cranks Recipe Book which my husband already owned when I met him, and which I have adapted considerably over the years (the recipe not Mr TS….although…!). This quantity serves the 6 of us (with a variety of appetite size) and is plenty for 4 adults. It freezes REALLY well uncooked or cooked so I cling wrap any left over and pop it in the freezer. It will keep well in the fridge for 3 or 4 days and is great mashed up with some mayonnaise and spread on a bagel!


400g red lentils

1 litre of water

Large onion, diced

100-150g cheddar, grated ( I vary this according to how cheesy I want it)

1 heaped teaspoon Marmite

2 – 3 tsps sun-dried tomato pesto (or 1 tsp sun-dried tomato and chilli paste)

2 tsps dried mixed herbs

2 free range eggs, lightly beaten

Breadcrumbs (about 50g)


  • Cook the lentils in the water with the Marmite added until they are soft and you have a rough lentil puree with all water absorbed. (You may need to add more water, keep an eye on them, lentils can be unpredictable little devils and either boil over suddenly or dry out!)
  • Stir in the tomato paste and dried herbs, the cheese, onion and the eggs and add enough breadcrumbs that the mixture is stiff but not rigid!
  • Spoon into an oiled and base lined 2 lb loaf tin and level the surface
  • Cook on the middle shelf at 200°C for about half an hour until firm and smelling delicious!
  • Serve with roasted roots, gravy and veg or boiled potatoes and salad. I sometimes wrap the mixture in puff pastry with a lattice top and I also use it as the filling for veggie sausage rolls!

This is a really good protein meal for kids and the Marmite is a good source of B12. If you serve it with broccoli and potatoes and follow it with a good fruit salad (using orange juice as the liquid) you will have a really well balanced meal. I have yet to meet a visiting child who doesn’t love it and the veggie sausage roll version goes down very well at school Christmas parties.

If you fancy going meat free every Monday, pop over to the Meatless Monday website for more ideas!

The McCartneys are on board too and their Meat Free Monday website is well worth a visit.




Filed under Chris Cooks, Meat Free Monday, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

23 responses to “Meat Free Monday – Cheese and Lentil Loaf

  1. Lentils scare me. As you know I was veggie for eight years and in that time I never successfully cooked anything with lentils… As it’s you (😉 ) I’m going to try this and see if it’s me…

  2. Ooh sounds great! Always looking for lentil recipes! Will give this a go!!!

  3. Oh I love lentils and use them all the time to bulk out what meat we do it. I was a veggie for 13 years and then craved meat when pregnant with Mini, so I ate it! We now eat meat in moderation.

  4. Jenny paulin

    I have never tried lentils!! Maybe this is a way to see how they taste? However, I don’t think I could serve it at home without a meat side for my OH as he puts his nose up if I serve a meat free dinner! Sounds nice anyway so I may put lentils on my next shopping list🙂 thanks x

  5. I will definitely try this! I’m always on the look out for new veggie loaf recipes…this sounds great! Thanks for sharing x

  6. Oooo! I’m going to like this weekly visit! I will definitely be trying them out!

  7. Mmmm that sounds fab! What a good idea too! We’re all meat eaters in this house, but we do like veggie recipes, so I may just have a go at this too!

  8. Love lentils – am bookmarking this and will definitely give it a go!

  9. Have just bought my jar of pesto! Fingers crossed the kids like it… but how can they not!?

    Maggy x

  10. Aw, darn it. I thought it said Free Meat Monday…

    *slinks away…*

  11. Pingback: Half-Term Solutions Guest Blogger- Thinly Spread » Street Smart Kids Blog

  12. bodgel

    Just making this today because – horror – we’ve lost our ancient Cranks recipe book full of useful notes and interesting stains. Couple of thoughts:
    – I would say this makes maybe enough for 8 unless you have a huge appetite
    – we use a 50/50 mix of red and puy lentils – the puy lentils stay firmer so you get more bite; you need to put them in 8-10 minutes later than the red ones
    – chopped sun dried tomatoes makes for another contrasting texture and shot of flavour
    – we put some of the breadcrumbs on top mixed with parmesan for a crust … and tonight I’ve thrown in some paprika just for fun.

  13. Queenie

    Thanks for this recipe. Was just reading about cheese and lentil loaves on Facebook and your recipe came up near the top when I Googled. I’m definitely giving this a go the next time my parents come for lunch but I won’t tell my mum there’s lentils in it (she’s a veggie who never eats them!)

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