Your whole food, plant-based life.

Stuffed Sage Lentil Loaf with Wild Rice Cranberry Pumpkin Stuffing

We are having our very first Thanksgiving dinner without turkey and I am over the moon about it. I should explain. I have been a vegetarian for over 18 years, and 100% vegan for over 2. But every year, when people would gather at our home for Thanksgiving dinner, my husband and I were the only vegans. So a turkey always made an appearance for the rest of the guests. I often recruited my mother for this part of the meal.


Thanksgiving Vegan Loaf


This year our group is smaller. And since there are quite a few vegetarians coming, we came up with a group consensus. We will have all the delicious traditional Thanksgiving sides, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, yams, cranberries, mushroom gravy, stuffing, pumpkin pie with whipped cream and pecan pie. But it will be 100% vegan. For that, I am grateful.


vegan loaf


I really wanted to come up with something delicious as a main course. A dish that brings all the traditional Thanksgiving flavors together and was beautiful, too. This recipe for Stuffed Sage Lentil Loaf has the traditional stuffing ingredients (minus the bread) combined with wild rice, pumpkin and cranberries for a pop of flavor. It is moist and hearty. The extra stuffing is used as a bed to serve the loaf on and works as a great side dish.

It’s pretty easy to throw together. You can cook everything the day before and assemble and bake the day of.

The day before:

  1. Cook lentils: Cook on stove top. Pick through and rinse lentils. Place 1 1/2 cups lentils and 3 cups water in pot. Bring to a boil, cover tightly, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until tender, approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Cook Teff: Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Add 1/3 cup teff, cover and reduce heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally for 15-20 minutes until the liquid is adsorbed. Set aside to cool.
  3. Cook the wild rice: Rinse rice. Bring 1 cup of rice and 4 cups of water (or vegetable stock) to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes or until rice has opened. You can drain off any left over water.
  4. Sauté the mushrooms and onions for the loaf.
  5. Sauté the onion celery mixture for the stuffing.

On the day you want to serve the loaf, line the loaf pan with the lentil mixture as per recipe, add stuffing and bake!

Note: I use a tiny spritz of oil in the pan but you can easily make it oil-free by using a dry sauté method and a little water if things start to stick.


vegan thanksgiving loaf


What is Teff?

Teff is an amazing, tiny, healthy grain from Ethiopia. It has a mild, nutty flavor and is filled with calcium, protein and fiber. It is gluten free and brings a lovely flavor and consistency to this loaf.

You can find Teff in your local Whole Foods or coop. We have included a link in the sidebar if you wish to order it.

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  1. Heather wrote on November 30, 2015

    I made this for Thanksgiving and it was wonderful! Even a couple of carnivores said it was delicious.
    Next time I would not cook the teff the day before, because it solidified in the fridge. I had to run the food processor for a long time to break up the teff and incorporate it, so the lentil mixture got too mushy. The top of the loaf had a nice crispy crust, but of course that became the bottom when I inverted it onto the extra stuffing. But it was definitely delicious!
    thank you.

    • Susan wrote on November 30, 2015

      Hi, Heather! Yes, the teff does stick together a bit but you can just quickly break it apart with your fingers before you add it. I am so glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Anna wrote on November 26, 2015

    I am not a fan of modifying recipes, on the contrary I adhere to recipes religiously. However this year, I saw this recipe and I wanted to try it! I did not want to leave the house on Thanksgiving eve, knowing how crazy the supermarket would be. With fear in my heart I substituted cranberries for dried goji berries, celery for asparagus, and teff for quinoa…and the results were surprisingly very pleasing. Although I believe cranberries would have been certainly better, goji berries worked decently. And since I never had teff I don’t believe I knew I was missing out on anything. Originally I was going to use Amaranth instead of teff but the directions on the package said to soak it overnight, and it wasn’t going to happen, hence quinoa found its way into the mixture. I just have one last question about consistency of the dish. My lentil loaf was quite mushy, only when it cooled down to room temperature it held its shape. Is it supposed to be this way or perhaps the grain substitution was not very fortunate?
    Susan, this recipe was a hit! You are truly brilliant! Thank you! This recipe is staying with me for good!

    • Susan wrote on November 30, 2015

      I am so glad your substitutions worked out! The loaf does have to stand a bit before slicing but not that long. 🙂 The substitutions could have affected it a bit. Cheers!

  3. Anna wrote on November 25, 2015

    Also, any suggestions for Teff substitution? I read that quinoa would work but I also have Amaranth.
    Thank you, happy thanksgiving! Can’t wait to try the recipe 🙂

    • Susan wrote on November 25, 2015

      I haven’t tried it with Amaranth but I would think it could work. Let us know if you try it! 🙂

  4. Anna wrote on November 25, 2015

    I have a lot of dried goji berries. How do you think this will work if I substitute cranberries for the goji berries?

    • Susan wrote on November 25, 2015

      Goji berries have a very different flavor profile than cranberries. If you LOVE them you could try it. But it will definitely change the flavor profile. Cheers!

  5. Stefie wrote on November 25, 2015

    Hi Susan
    I just want to say that
    I Love all your recipes, love you for sharing them with the us aspiring raw food newbies
    Have a blessed Thanksgiving

    • Susan wrote on November 25, 2015

      Thank you, Stefie! I love creating both raw and cooked recipes! I am so glad you like them. Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!

  6. Clara wrote on November 25, 2015

    Wow, this is so genius!! I love the twist of the stuffed lentil loaf, really…well done!
    We don’t celebrate Thanks giving here in Amsterdam, but this is definitely my weekend project. Thanks again and happy holidays!

    • Susan wrote on November 25, 2015

      Hi, Clara, I am so glad you are going to try the recipe. It is a new favorite here. Cheers!

  7. Je wrote on November 25, 2015

    What a lovely recipe! Wouldn’t be possible to sub red quinoa for the teff? I’m not sure if I can find teff in my area.

    • Susan wrote on December 2, 2015

      Yes, you can substitute quinoa but it might not hold together as well. You could add flax or chia to bind. Cheers!

  8. mik wrote on November 24, 2015

    Can’t wait to try this recipe! Looks scrumptious….

    Susan, what kind of lentils do you recommend for the loaf?

    Many Thanks,

    • Susan wrote on November 24, 2015

      Hi, Mik, Great question. I used organic brown lentils. Cheers!

  9. Carol wrote on November 24, 2015

    Thank you Susan—this sounds so yummy that my mouth is watering! 🙂 I’ll make it this weekend and savor it for days………….
    I’m thankful for you and your wonderful recipes.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Susan wrote on November 24, 2015

      Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Carol! I am so glad you like the recipe. We are loving it here, too! Cheers!

      • Austin Smith wrote on November 25, 2015

        What is pumpkin puree?

        • Susan wrote on December 2, 2015

          It is pumpkin that is pureed (blended) into a smooth “paste” like applesauce. Cheers!


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