Many people regard nut loaf with with a number of prejudices and stereotypes: that it's some kind of vegan penance for wanting to eat meat, that it's what vegans eat when they are called upon, against their wills, to celebrate with food, or what they used to eat before they had nice proprietary food from Whole Foods that made you not miss meat at all, at all.
Actually, nut loaf is one of the best luncheon/supper/light dinner recipes out there. (High tea fans might just find it good, as well.) In its classic form, less gluten-free vegan than an egg dish with breadcrumbs and a dairy sauce, it’s really just…what can I say? Nice. Fun. Indulgent, even, if you were the kid who always wondered why the grownups told you that you could only eat just a few nuts, or olives before dinner …Well, here you are. You can eat nuts to your hearts content, and no one will tell you you’re wrecking your appetite.
One of the things that will help is a food processor/minichopper. You’re going to have to do a lot of chopping.
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup onions, finely shredded.
1/2 pepper, finely chopped
1 1/4 cup of chopped tomatoes
2 T vegetable oil
adding veggies one by one, until browned and a little dry.
Then place in a bowl:
3/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped (optional: brown them first, with the veggies)
1 cup breadcrumbs (from wholewheat, artisan, or other righteous bread optional: ditto)
(optional) 1/4 cup wheat germ
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 T. flat parsley, chopped fine
1 T. summer savory or herbs de province
1 t. seasoned salt (Vege-sal, or Spike, or...)
Add sautéed ingredients to dry ones, moistening with a little water, vegetable stock or V-8 juice if necessary. Mix well, pressing into a buttered, floured loaf pan.
Bake for 45 minutes at 350 F.
While you’re doing that, make some
Saute 8 oz mushrooms,
cut small, until dry
2 T butter (or olive oil)
Add 2 T. finely minced onion and/or carrot
2 T whole wheat flour
Then add, slowly,
1 cup vegetable stock,
stirring until smooth.
(Optional: run through blender and/or add 1/2 cup cream.)
Turn heat off.
Serve as you would meatloaf, with potatoes, and a side vegetable and fruit dessert for dinner, by itself with soup/salad/fruit and cheese for an interesting lunch. Leftovers are nice over noodles or toast, especially with sauce....
If you feel like experimenting, you might add the mushrooms (with a pinch of thyme) into the loaf itself, or a 1/2 cup of olives, or try a cheese layer, or more eggs, blended into the mix, or hard-boiled and whole. Non egg people might want the cheese, about 1/2 C, instead. No Gluten people might like brown/wild rice. (And that's where I part company with the current wisdom of Our Tastes at All Cost. If you want to play with xanthan gum, fake eggs, and almond milk, you're welcome, but this early 20th century Lent/Depression/Ration point/Health food classic deserves its own kind of respect.) Some people might like theirs with lemon and parsley butter. And of course, you can make it with different herbs and spices: dill or nutmeg for a Norden feel, Italian seasoning, a hint of curry, Moroccan, Thai....
Anyway, Bon appetit!