Veggie Meatloaf with Checca Sauce
A meat-less loaf with a quick and fresh tomato sauce. Freezes well, an easy make-ahead favorite packed with chunks of corn, lentils and rice. One of the best vegetarian loafs I've ever tried.
1 pint, halved
scallions, spring or green onions
minced, or more or less as needed
leaves, freshly chopped
olive oil, extra-virgin
salt and black pepper
|Lentil meatless loaf:|
vegetarian chicken broth, non-fat, low-sodium
or vegetable broth
uncooked, rinsed well
fresh or frozen
or any other vegetable oil, or you can use butter, divided
cubed and divided, about 1 1/2 cups
plus 2 tablespoons
salt and black pepper
or to taste
To make the Checca Sauce:
Combine the cherry tomatoes, scallions, garlic, basil, and oil in a processor.
Pulse the tomatoes until they are coarsely chopped, being careful not to purée (or you can chop by hand). Set aside.
Season the sauce with salt and pepper.
To make the Lentil Loaf:
Place the lentils in a large saucepan of cold water.
Bring the water just to a boil over high heat.
Carefully drain the boiling water and rinse the lentils.
Meanwhile, in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat, bring the broth to a boil.
Add the rice and return the liquid to a boil.
Decrease the heat to low, cover the rice, and gently simmer without stirring for 10 minutes. Stir in the lentils, onion, carrot, and celery.
Cover and continue cooking without stirring until the rice and lentils are tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes longer.
Turn off the heat. Sprinkle the corn over the rice and lentils and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
Uncover and fluff the rice with a fork. Cover and let stand for 5 more minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350℉ (180℃).
Spread 1 tablespoon of the oil or butter over a 10 by 4½ by 3-inch loaf pan.
In a heavy, large skillet, cook the spinach over medium heat until the spinach wilts, about 3 minutes.
Drain and squeeze the excess liquid from the spinach. Transfer the spinach to a work surface and coarsely chop.
In a large bowl, gently mix the lentil mixture, spinach, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, eggs, ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese, basil, salt, pepper, and half of the checca sauce.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan. Arrange the sliced tomatoes in a row over the lentil mixture.
Sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup of mozzarella cheese and 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Drizzle remaining 1 tablespoon of oil on top or dot the top with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.
Bake uncovered until the loaf is heated through and the topping is melted and starting to brown, about 30 minutes.
Let cool for 15 minutes. Slice the loaf into 2-inch slices, arrange on plates, and serve with the remaining checca sauce.
Leftover can be frozen.