Christmas is coming!!!! Christmas is coming!!!! I think actually to be more politically correct: Winter is coming!!! (Harder to say without sounding very Game of Thrones.
If Christmas is coming then so is Christmas dinner! In my house this means a lot of vegan some gluten free and a bit of meat. I outsource the meat to the meat eaters and the rest is a heck of a lot easier than you'd imagine. There'll be more roast potatoes (cooked in oil and PLENTY of seasoning) than you could ever possibly imagine you'd need (and they'll all be eaten), caramelised carrots with a hint of orange, something garlicky and green, Yorkshire puddings (made with dairy-free milk), homemade stuffing (I'll get that recipe up ASAP), gravy (made with veg stock, red wine and corn flour so GF) cranberry sauce (homemade but I'd happily eat that stuff out of the jar!) and the piece de resistance.... drum roll..... Nut loaf! That brings us to why you're here now. This lentil and nut loaf is the best I've had in a long time. worth every second spent making it, and something that even the meat-eaters would appreciate on their plates. Trust.
You'll have to forgive the lack of photos today. I made these last night and we ate more than I thought we would. It's not really a dish I thought my husband would love, but love it he does! As much as I love this blog, the second one is in the freezer waiting for Christmas day and I'm not taking it out for a shoot!
LENTIL & NUT LOAF
I honestly think you can play around with the measurements and amount of veggies you use in this so long as you have a moist but not cake batter runny mix at the end. So play around!
MAKES TWO 8" X 4" LOAF TINS
PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOK TIME 60 MINS | TOTAL 90 MINS
1 cup red lentils (uncooked)
3 cups nuts (almonds, cashew, walnuts)
1 cup oats (1/2 ground 1/2 whole)
3 handfuls baby spinach (roughly chopped)
3 sticks celery (finely chopped)
1 yellow onion (roughly chopped)
3 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 cup chopped tomatoes (a full can will be fine)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp Marmite (dilute in a little boiling water to make liquid)
3 tsp thyme
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp ground pepper
1+ tsp salt
2 tbsp chia/flax seeds
6 tbsp boiling water
1 cup of seeds; pumpkin, sunflower... (partially ground)
fresh cranberries (some for baking some for display
Pick over your lentils and rinse them well. Bring two cups of water to boil and add your lentils. Keep your eye on them, taking them off the heat once the water has drained and lentils are a bit mushy (usually 10-15 mins). Season with salt once finished cooking and add to a large mixing bowl.
make the flax or chia egg in a little bowl by mixing with hot water. Leave aside until the end.
Add your nuts to a blender or food processor and blitz until desired texture. Add to the mixing bowl.
Next take half the oats and blend these to a powder. Add all oats to the mixing bowl.
Heat a tbsp oil in a pan and gently fry the onions and celery until soft. Add the spinach and stir for a minute then crush the garlic in a stir for another minute or so. Season with a sprinkle of salt and sugar if needed. Add this to the mixing bowl.
Add tomatoes, Marmite and balsamic to mixing bowl.
Mix spices together and add to mixing bowl.
Add the egg mix and give it all a big stir.
TASTE and add seasoning here. Add more salt or Marmite, paprika, pepper etc.
Grease a tin (brush with oil). I add a strip of baking paper to make it easier to remove once cooked.
Pour half the mix in to each tin (alternatively leave to set a bit in the fridge and mold in to shapes or bake in a muffin tin) Next we need to add the crust.
Put one cup of seeds in a blender or food processor and grind down a bit. press them in to the top of the loaf until completely covered. I add fresh cranberries here too, they add a delicious sour taste but best to add them 20 minutes before the end of cooking time.
Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for up to an hour.
Leave to cool down in the tin for a little bit before removing.
Serve immediately, reheat later or freeze and thaw out in the fridge 24 hours before needed.