Nutloaf. Such an unsexy name for a dish that I can’t get enough of. Granted, it’s not the most photogenic creation to leave my kitchen, but what it lacks in looks it more than makes up for in flavour. Nutloaf is the vegetarian answer to the Sunday roast, guaranteed to be a hit with all who dare to experience its majesty, vego or otherwise. I first came across nutloaf late last year as I began to investigate Christmas day alternatives to the roast lamb and turkey. One of my lovely readers (Hi Kelly!) suggested I have a go at making a nutloaf. I was instantly intrigued and got right on the case.
My first attempt was a bit of a disaster to be honest, I should have listened to all those wise people who have cautioned against cooking something for a crowd that you’ve not tested beforehand. It was dry and crumbly and looked more like stuffing than a loaf, but damn it still tasted good so I really should give it another shot. I’ve since found another recipe and re-worked it to suit my personal preferences (see the original here). What I’ve discovered through all of this is that nutloaf is an incredibly versatile dish that can handle additions and subtractions based on what you’ve got on hand.
I particularly love this version because it takes on a really great texture which helps keep it together. It is full of flavour without being overly heavy and I think the addition of finely chopped mushrooms really helps build the flavour profile without overwhelming it. I served this up with some roast vegies (of course) and mushroom gravy and it was sensational. Best part is that it keeps amazingly well in the fridge for up to a week. Heat up a slice in the sandwich press with a couple of roast spuds or whack it in a sandwich just like you would with roast beef and enjoy over and over again. I’ve been eating it for the last three days and I’ve yet to tire of it. I hope you’ll give it a shot and enjoy it as much as I do.
serves 8-10 - vego - gluten-free adapted from a recipe over at The Kitchn
1 small white onion
1 tbspn rice bran oil
1 cup white mushrooms, finely chopped (I used my food processor)
1.5 cups swiss brown mushrooms, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 tspn dried thyme
1 tspn dried marjoram
2 tspns cumin seeds, ground
2 tspns dried sage
1 tspn coriander seeds, ground
1/2 cup red wine
2.5 cups cooked brown rice (cooked in vegie stock, 1 cup dried makes about 3 cups)
2 cups walnuts, finely chopped (I used the food processor)
2 cups unsalted cashews, finely chopped
200g grated cheese (I used a mix of colby, mozzarella & parmesan)
1/2 cup fresh basil and chives, finely chopped
salt & pepper to taste
Prepare rice according to the directions on the pack. I cooked mine in vegie stock for a flavour boost.
Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees centigrade.
Grease a loaf pan and line with baking paper.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over a medium heat, lightly sauté the onion.
Add the mushrooms cook gently, they will start to lose their moisture, at this point add the dried herbs and cook until all the moisture has been absorbed.
When the pan is dry add half the wine and increase the heat slightly. Use your judgement here, add some more wine if you think it needs it, otherwise cook the mushrooms until all the moisture has been absorbed. The more moisture you add, the longer it will take to absorb.
In a separate mixing bowl add the rice and nuts. Mix well.
Mix the eggs with the cheese and then add to the rice and nut mix.
Add the herbs and mix everything through well.
Add about a teaspoon of salt and black pepper and mix well.
Pour the contents into the loaf pan and then pop it in the oven. It will take between 45 minutes and an hour to cook, it’s done when the top is crispy, brown and firm to the touch.
Treat it just like you would a cake, let it cool for a few minutes and then turn it out on to a cooling rack. Serve with roast vegies and mushroom gravy.