Some among us at the Spiral House make this lip-smacking dish every year at both Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as throughout the winter. It’s easy to take with you to a potluck and is equally appealing to vegans and non-vegans alike. Plus, when served up on a platter in slices with a parsley garnish and the mushroom gravy on the side, it makes a beautiful presentation.
Servings: One loaf will yield about 8 slices. The recipe can easily be doubled to yield 2 loaves just to ensure you have enough for your meal and leftovers for the next day. Be assured those at your table will be scraping up the crumbles from the serving platter with their fingers.
4 tablespoons Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Spread (available in tubs or sticks)
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried sage or 3 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon dried tarragon or 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil or 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
½ cup water
1 cup cashews, finely ground
1 cup walnuts, finely ground
1⅓ cups dried Italian-seasoned, gluten-free bread crumbs
1 flax egg: (stir 2 tablespoons ground golden flax meal into 6 tablespoons boiling water until you have the consistency of a beaten egg)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
¼ cup grapeseed oil for roasting
Garnish: Sprigs of herbs
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Melt Earth Balance in a large sauté pan, add onions and sauté until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for another minute or two.
- Add the sage, thyme, tarragon, marjoram, basil and flour and stir over a medium/low flame for another 2 minutes before slowly adding the water. Stir until thickened.
- Remove from heat. Add the nuts, 1⅓ cups bread crumbs, the flax egg, and lemon juice and stir.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary.
- Line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment paper and spray the entire inside of the pan, including the parchment paper, with grapeseed oil.
- Spoon the nut loaf mixture into the pan and gently shape into a loaf.
- Place the loaf pan in the oven. Heat the ¼ cup grapeseed oil in a saucepan on the stovetop. When the oil is just about smoking hot, slowly pour it over the nut loaf, pricking the nut loaf with a fork as you go so the hot oil can seep in and sear it.
- Bake the loaf for a total of 45 minutes to an hour, allowing the top to brown well.
- When done, remove from the oven, work a knife around the edges of the pan and turn it upside down on a platter. Garnish with herb sprigs to serve.
- Serve with vegan mushroom gravy.
Note: If you want to freeze leftover loaf slices, place them between layers of parchment paper and place in a freezer-proof container with a tight lid. Also, when you slice the loaf, use a serrated knife and hold your other hand over the blade to prevent the pieces from breaking apart.
Vegan Mushroom Gravy
8 ounces white or cremini mushrooms
4 tablespoons Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Stick
2 small or 1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 pinches dried or fresh thyme, chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups vegetable stock
- Wipe mushrooms clean of any dirt with a cloth or paper towel and trim stems. Slice.
- Melt the Earth Balance in a skillet over a medium heat and add the onion and thyme, sautéing until onions are translucent.
- Add sliced mushrooms and sauté just until moderately soft, especially if gravy is going to sit on the stovetop for a while and be reheated when the loaf is ready.
- Add flour and stir until thickened.
- Slowly add vegetable broth and gently stir until gravy is smooth.