This is my first ever attempt at making a nut loaf. I have never understood why they are so maligned in the veggie world as being insipid and boring. Being born in 1987 maybe I came along too late to experience the full onslaught of veggie nutloaf overkill, as to me, they are always so comforting and tasty, and pretty rare to come across at restaurants.
The only time I have a nut loaf is every Christmas, bought from a local deli. Given the ridiculous amount of potatoes and veggies in the main, plus starters and many desserts, I wouldn’t be devastated if there was no nut loaf included at all, but my mum always feels some sort of guilt at my ever so slightly less varied Turkey and Ham-less plate, and ensures that I get the roast too! Now that I have made my own, it’s something I will try out more regularly throughout the winter, as it’s perfect with a comforting Sunday roast. I also feel the need to experiment more to find the absolute perfect flavour of this, but I was pleased with it for my first attempt! I also have great plans for the leftovers, nut loaf sandwiches!!!
I think that one reason nut loafs can often be avoided, is that they can sometimes be so dense and stodgy. I have tried to make mine lighter, with slightly less nuts than most recipes, without compromising the obvious necessity of nuts, being the namesake! Quinoa and red lentils balance out the texture and density. I have omitted the breadcrumbs also, and instead used my ever favourite and oh so versatile chia gel to bind the mixture. This is one hell of a superfood nutloaf, which a massive amount of complete protein and nutrients coming from the quinoa, lentils, nuts and chia seeds.
It is fairly essential to have some sort of a sauce with a nut loaf. I had super unhealthy processed gravy with mine! I am not perfect all the time! ;-) Next time I will try out a homemade onion & red wine gravy to go with it. I plan to have this with lemon tahini sauce in my nut loaf sandwich! I am not a big fan of tomato relish, but I have often seen nut loaf served with it so you could try that also.
This keeps well in the fridge for about a week in an air tight container. You could also make it in advance, and leave it in the fridge for a day before roasting if you are making it as part of a big Christmas dinner or something. It is also perfect for freezing in individual slices.
- 100g quinoa
- 50g red lentils
- 100g roasted cashews
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, grated
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1.5 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
- 1.5 tbsp fresh thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried sage
- 1 tsp dried paprika
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 3 tbsp ground chia seed with 9 tbsp water to form a gel
- Mixed seeds to sprinkle on top
Cook the lentils until soft, and the quinoa until the outer shell is just splitting from the seed. Toast the cashews in a pan until lightly browning, then blend in a food processor. How chunky you leave them is up to you, but you need to keep in mind that the smaller they are the better they will bind. Fry the chopped onions until are browning. Combine the quinoa, lentils, nuts, onion, pepper, carrot and garlic in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and add the fresh herbs, along with the dried herbs and spices. Add the flax egg and stir until well combined. Spoon in to a greased and lparchment paper lined baking tin, and sprinkle the top with the mixed seeds. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour at 200 degrees celsius until a skewer comes out clean.
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