Holiday time is when we often ask the culinary question: What do I serve to my family and friends as the main dish at my party? Here is a delightful dish that pleases vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike. It can stand front and center at any festive celebration throughout the holiday season.
This delectable loaf is crisp on the outside, tender on the inside, and bursting with flavor. For a traditional holiday menu, pair it with a sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and green beans. Serve your favorite vegan pumpkin pie for dessert.
Another great thing about this fabulous loaf is that you can prep it well ahead of time and then bake it before serving. Any left over loaf is tasty served as a sandwich filling for lunch the next day! Jazzylicious!
Amazing Holiday Nut Loaf
Makes 4 to 6 servings
- 2 tablespoons, plus one teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
- 1 large sweet onion, chopped
- 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium tamari
- 2 1/4 cups walnuts
- 1/2 cup raw or roasted sunflower seeds (salted or unsalted)
- 2 1/2 cups fresh whole-grain breadcrumbs
- 1 cup shredded vegan cheese
- Zest from 1 small lemon
- 1 teaspoon italian seasoning
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 cups jarred vegan marinara sauce, plus more if needed
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add 5 ounces of the chopped mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and tamari. Decrease the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are golden around the edges and the pan juices have evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes, adding a bit of water as needed to prevent sticking.
- Meanwhile, put the walnuts in a food processor and process until coarsely ground. Transfer to a large bowl. Put the sunflower seeds in the food processor and process until coarsely ground. Add the sunflower seeds to the walnuts, along with the onion mixture, breadcrumbs, vegan cheese, zest, italian seasoning, and salt. Stir until thoroughly combined.
- Stir 1 teaspoon of the remaining oil into 1 cup of the marinara sauce. Spread the mixture in the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Working with one-third of the mushroom mixture at a time, mold it by hand into a large ball, compressing it to release the oils in the walnuts and help hold the loaf together. Put the balls in the baking pan side by side and form them into a single compact loaf, patting it down and smoothing the top.
- Scatter the remaining mushrooms around the loaf. Spoon 2/3 cup of the remaining marinara sauce over the mushrooms. Spoon the remaining 1/3 cup of marinara sauce over the top of the loaf, spreading it evenly with a rubber spatula.
- Cover with foil and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the loaf is almost firm to the touch.
- Let cool for 15 to 20 minutes to firm up. Cut the loaf into generous slices. Serve warm, with some of the mushrooms and sauce from the pan spooned over each serving. Put the remaining mushrooms and sauce in a gravy boat or small bowl to pass at the table.