This weekend we celebrate Thanksgiving here in Canada. Happy Thankgiving!!! This is my most favourite holiday as it is all about family and food. And expressing what we’re thankful for. I am deeply thankful for my loving & supportive family & friends, and for my health and circumstances which currently allow me to follow my passions: music (singing & opera), teaching, and food (including creating a healthy life & body through food). Thank you to all of you for your support, blog post & facebook comments, e-mail subscriptions, and kind words about my blog. It is a joy to me and has provided me with so many wonderful meals that I never would have thought to make otherwise — and any time any of you mention something you saw on Kitchen Operas, it makes my day.
Last night we celebrated Thanksgiving dinner as a family. I’ve been making Sherry Barber’s Vegetarian Nut Loaf for every Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner for the last few years now, to feed us vegetarians in the crowd. What I have most loved about it is that the flavours go so well with the veggie side dishes that typify fall harvest and winter holidays: mashed or roasted potatoes, root veggies, roasted cauliflower, cranberry sauce, shitake mushroom gravy, or my family’s favourite gravy — Mushroom Veloute Sauce (coming soon to a Kitchen Operas post near you). When you have nut loaf, you don’t even miss the turkey — and everything goes well with it, so you feel like you’re eating just like the omnivores! In fact, the omnivores always ask for the recipe to take home with them along with nut loaf leftovers.
I adore Sherry’s loaf (and you really must give it a try), but have been meaning to try another one in order to also have a vegan option up my sleeve… I’ve been inspired by Jennifer’s Vegan Lunch Box posts for years now, where she feeds her son, “Schmoo” healthy vegan lunches. A small link in her sidebar is to The Magical Loaf Studio, where one can mix and match vegan ingredients to create delicious nut loaves (there are gluten-free options too!). Yum. I have had a printout of a recipe for one of these loaves up on my bulletin board for dog’s years… and I am so pleased that I finally gave it a go!
My sister Heather and I wanted to make a veggie main course to go along with Thanksgiving dinner, and this loaf won out. We used what we had on hand, and that’s the joy of the loaf. It’s mix & match, and generally it will turn out well. If it’s too wet, add more dry stuff, and if it’s too dry, add more liquid. What could be easier? And so, “Heather’s Loafie Surprise”, also known as Lentil & Oat Thanksgiving Loaf. Enjoy with family & friends!
Lentil & Oat Thanksgiving Loaf (a.k.a. “Heather’s Loafie Surprise”)
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled & diced
- 1 rib of celery, diced
- 1 c. of mushrooms, chopped
- 2 c. cooked green lentils
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, finely ground in a food processor or spice/coffee grinder
- 1 c. uncooked oats
- 1/2 c. uncooked cream of wheat
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 Tbsp. tamari or 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 c. to 1 c. vegetable broth, as needed
Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray, and set aside.
In a large pan over low heat, heat the olive oil, and sweat the onions until translucent. Add the red pepper, carrots, celery & mushrooms, and saute until all veggies are softened.
In a large mixing bowl, combine sauteed veggies, lentils, seeds, oats, cream of wheat, spices, and tamari or salt. Mix well, and mash all of the ingredients together. Add vegetable broth, 1/4 c. at a time, adding only as much as you need to get a moist loaf that holds together without being runny.
Press the loaf mixture into the prepared loaf pan and bake at 350F for 45 minutes, until cooked through. The top and edges will become golden brown and slightly crispy.
Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a plate. Slice into 2-3cm slices (about 1″), and serve with your favourite veggie gravy. Perhaps shitake mushroom gravy?