Vegan walnut and almond nut loaf. It looks like a meatloaf, and it smells like one when it’s baking, but it’s 100% plant based. Delicious and healthy!
This is our first vegan Thanksgiving, and I’ve been struggling with the idea of not having a centerpiece for my table. It used to be the turkey, surrounded by vegetables, potatoes, rolls, and cranberries. Now what? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want a turkey, miss a turkey, or crave a turkey in any way, shape, or form. It’s just that I’m a traditional kind of woman, and I like my meal centered on something special. Thankfully, I found my center, and it’s amazing.
I scoured the internet looking for my “meat” dish. I found a lot of fake meat ideas, but I didn’t want a fake meat,that’s highly processed and made with soy protein isolate, and other not so good things. Finally, after what seemed like hours of clicking, Googleing, and eye strain, I discovered a nut loaf on The Kitchn’s website. Yeah, yeah, I know, that’s not very Thanksgiving like, but, it can be dressed up on a platter with herbs and cranberries. Anyway, I veganized it, and it’s amazing. I’ve found my new centerpiece. Yay!!!!
As I was grinding the nuts, and mixing up the flax seed egg replacer, I started to panic, because this recipe called for FIVE eggs! From my experience, any recipe that calls for more than three eggs doesn’t turn out too well if you’re going to use an egg replacer. But as soon as I started stirring the flax seed and water together I was able to calm my energy, because I knew it was going to work out just fine.
Do you know what one of the best things about cooking vegan is? You can taste the batter before putting it in the oven! I did that and realized that it needed more salt. When you make this, you do that too. We all have different taste buds so what is lacking for me, might be too much for you.
As you can see, the nuts need to be ground into small little pebbles. Use a food processor if you have one. I recommend the Cuisinart DLC-10S Pro Classic 7-Cup Food Processor, White, available at Amazon.com.
The flax seed, water, and silken tofu make a fantastic egg and cottage cheese replacement. See how awesome the flax and tofu bind to the nut mixture! The addition of the mushrooms to the nut mixture looks great, and, you can taste it to make sure you have enough salt and herbs. No worries about getting salmonella from raw eggs. Ready to bake.
Once the loaf started baking and the aroma started wafting through my kitchen I was so happy. It smelled incredible. Actually, it reminded me of how my turkey meatloaf used to smell. That pleasant scent is all because of the herbs.
As you can see, it looked beautiful. It held together perfectly. And, it was easy to slice. Success!!! It also tasted fantastic. It was savory and nutty, and a little crunchy and chewy, and I can’t wait to serve it on Thanksgiving Day!!!!
To my friends who have started eating vegan and have been asking me about recipes for Thanksgiving. THIS! When this nut loaf is paired with mashed potatoes and gravy (you have to drizzle some on the loaf as well), tons of vegetables, cranberry sauce, and everything else on the table, you will not miss the bird. I promise.
One more thing. When I told my husband that I was going to try this out, he gave me his infamous one eyebrow raise. Not good. Then he tried it, and he liked it, he really liked it! Taste tested, Gregory approved.
Stay tuned for vegan stuffing and pumpkin pie.
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Vegan Walnut and Almond Nut Loaf
- 1 onion medium chopped
- 1 tablespoon vegan butter or oil
- 2 cups finely-chopped Portobello mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme if you have a pre mixed dried Italian Seasoning you can use 4 to 5 teaspoons of that instead of all of the separate dried seasonings
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- Red wine or sherry
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 2 cups walnuts finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor
- 1 cup cashews or almonds finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor
- 5 tablespoons of ground flax seed + 15 tablespoons of water – mix well
- 1 cup silken tofu
- ¾ pound grated vegan cheese: Parmesan Gruyere, cheddar, fontina, smoked or any combination (I used Dayia chedder and pepperjack shreds)
- ½ cup mixed fresh chopped sage oregano, thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350°F. and line a 9 inch bread pan with parchment paper, or lightly grease with vegan butter or vegetable oil.
- Sauté the onion in oil or butter until it begins to soften. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook until the mushrooms release their juices and become soft. Add the garlic and dried herbs, and continue to cook. When the pan begins to dry out again, add a good splash of red wine or sherry and cook until it is reduced. The contents should be moist but not swimming in liquid. Remove from the heat and let cool a little.
- While the mushroom mixture cools, line the pan with parchment paper or grease with vegan butter or vegetable oil.
- In a large bowl, toss the brown rice and nuts together. In a separate bowl beat the flax seed mixture with the tofu. Add the flax/tofu mixture to the rice/nut mixture, then stir in the cooled mushrooms, grated vegan cheese and fresh herbs. Mix well. Taste for seasoning and adjust.
- The mixture can be kept, covered, in the refrigerator at this point for no more than a day.
- Fill the loaf pan with the nut mixture, press the mixture with the back of a wooden spoon to smooth the top and to get rid of air bubbles.
- Bake for about an hour or until the loaf is firm (slightly longer if the mixture was refrigerated). Remove from the oven. Rest on a cooling rack for ten minutes, then lift the loaf from the pan using the excess parchment paper or foil. Peel off the parchment or foil and serve on a platter, garnish with fresh herbs and cranberries.