It’s that time of the year again when food becomes an abundance for many and the aroma of Christmas dinner meanders throughout the homes of every household.
This year how about trying something a little bit different, and go Vegan? With our rich, wholesome, chewy and highly mouth watering Nutty Loaf and roasted winter vegetables, it makes for a rather tasty alternative to Turkey. Even the preparation of this Christmas meal can follow and match any tradition of preparing the night before as many of the steps can be prepared in advance. From the brown rice, the shredding of the vegan cheese and the chopping of the nuts. Even non vegans have tried this in my house last weekend and they all asked for seconds. I promise it’ll impress! Without further ado, lets get our mistletoe hung over the kitchen door, our silly seasonal apron on and pre heat the oven!
Vegan Nutty Loaf
Serves 6 to 8
1 onion, diced finely
2 shallot onions
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
2 teaspoons of agave syrup
2 cups of finely- chopped mushrooms (See Recipe Note)
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
1 teaspoon of freshly chopped parsley
1 teaspoon freshly chopped sage
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
Vegan Red wine – try one of the great selections from Case wines, in this instance I used Charte D’Assemblage Rouge 2012: full list here http://www.cases.ie/catalogsearch/result/?q=vegan+wine
2 cups of cooked brown rice
2 cups walnuts, finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor
1/2 cup of cashews
½ cup of almonds, finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor
4 chia eggs + 1 mashed cooked sweet potato – perfect for binding
(Tips on how to make Chia Egg: 1 tablespoon of chia seeds and 3 tablespoons of water = 1 chia egg. Stir well, and place in the fridge to set for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, the result should be a sticky egg-like substitute. A quick and easy egg replacement, featuring freshly ground flax or chia seeds)
1 cup vegan cream cheese
3/4 pound grated vegan cheese: Parmesan, cheddar, fontina, smoked or any combination all available here: http://artofzenfoods.com/
1/2 cup mixed fresh chopped herbs such as parsley, oregano, thyme
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 200°C.
The night before: cook the brown rice and then chop the nuts and set aside for the day in the fridge.
…The next day!
Sauté the diced onions in coconut oil until they begin to soften. Add the mushrooms and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, cook until the mushrooms release their juices and become soft. Add the garlic and herbs, and continue to cook. When the pan absorbs the natural juices, add a good helping of red wine or sherry and cook until it is reduced and moist with no residual juices. Remove from the heat and let cool a little.
Oil a 9-inch loaf pan and line with parchment paper or foil.
In a mixing bowl, add the brown rice and mixed chopped nuts together. Then add the chia eggs and vegan cream cheese, stir in the mushrooms, grated vegan cheddar cheese and fresh herbs. Mix well. I mean REALLY well. Get that wrist action going! Add some salt and pepper and add in the agave syrup for good measure and to add a little sweetness. Taste for seasoning and adjust. (If you want to taste it, set a little aside and fry off on a pan, to taste, and if you feel you want a little bit of a certain herb then add away!).
Fill the loaf pan with the nutty loaf mixture, making sure to press down with a spatula to get rid of any air bubbles and smooth the top before placing a decorative few slices of mushrooms, sliced cranberry or whole walnuts – for that festive feel.
Place loaf in the oven and bake for about an hour or until the loaf is firm and browning. Remove from the oven and rest on a cooling rack for about 15 minutes, then lift from the pan, and its ready to be cut and served with a mushroom gravy, accompanied by your favorite winter vegetables!
1 cup of dried porcini mushrooms
3 cup water
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
3 cups of wild organic mushrooms, stems trimmed and sliced 1/4-inch thick
Freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
4 medium shallots, (1 diced finely and the other 3 sliced in half and left whole)
1/4 cup of vegan red wine
1/3 cup all-purpose gluten free flour
1 tablespoon tamari sauce
1 table spoon of coconut palm sugar
½ teaspoon of fresh parsley and thyme
Place porcinis in a bowl and pour about 2 cups of boiling water over them and let sit for about 15 minutes until soft. Transfer porcinis to a chopping board and finely chop; set remaining liquid aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add 2 cups of wild organic mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook until mushrooms have released their liquid and softened, about 5 minutes usually does it. Transfer to a medium bowl; set aside.
Back to the pan: Add the bay leaf, diced shallot, and reserved chopped porcinis, season with salt and pepper, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until shallots begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add wine and cook until wine has almost completely evaporated, about 1 minute.
Sprinkle the flour into the pan and cook, stirring frequently. Whisk in the remaining 2 cups of water, tamari sauce, and reserved porcini soaking liquid and simmer, whisking constantly, until gravy has thickened but not too thick, about 3 minutes. Take out the bay leaf.
Add the sauce into a blender and make into a fine liquid.
Now fry off the remaining 1 cup of mushrooms and sautee the remaining sliced halved Shallots, add in some fresh chopped parsley and thyme and a sprinkle of coconut palm sugar. Fry until golden almost crispy brown and carmelised. And add to the gravy sauce when serving.
1 Aubergine, sliced into lengths
1 Parsnip, sliced into lengths
1 Butternut squash, sliced into lengths
2 Carrots, sliced into lengths
2 Garlic cloves
Sprig of Fresh Thyme, Parsley and Rosemary
Sprinkle of Salt and Pepper
1 tablespoon of agave syrup.
Place the veg on an oiled oven dish, glaze in agave syrup and put in the oven at about 200°C for about 30 minutes until a roasted brown crispy colour.
3 cups of fresh peeled brussels sprouts
1 teaspoon of walnut oil
1 teaspoon of coconut palm sugar
Salt and pepper
Boil the sprouts in water for about 30 minutes until nice and soft,
Add walnut oil into a frying pan and heat, pour the sprouts on pan and fry until slightly browned and add a little sprinkle of salt and pepper along with coconut palm sugar for that golden seal.
Peel and chop about 4 large potatoes into quarters
Par boil in water for 10 minutes
Then remove and place into a piping hot oven dish filled with a pour of about 3mm of oil and let oven fry for about 25 minutes until golden brown. At 200°C
Time to serve up all the food!
I mixed the roast potatoes with the brussells sprouts in a bed of mushroom gravy and shallots – then added the roasted veg and nutty loaf altogether and YUM! I hope you enjoy this healthy seasonal dish that will match any Christmas turkey but doesn’t hurt any animals at all! Guilt free on all levels and highly nutritional! You won’t even feel bad for having seconds!
Have a peaceful, Merry Christmas and stay tuned for the Christmas Vegan desserts coming soon!