This spectacular vegetarian loaf is soy, dairy, egg and gluten-free. Serve it with mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy and cranberry sauce for a special holiday meal or for that perfect comfort food.
Note: To set yourself up, be sure to read through the recipe and the notes below, before you begin.
To start your mise en place, cook the quinoa, brown rice and black beans. Note, these can all be prepared ahead of time.
Place flax meal into a bowl and add water.
Next, heat a fry pan over medium heat; add the oil, if using, followed by the onions. Let cook for a few minutes, or until they become somewhat soft and translucent, then add the mushrooms. Continue to cook until the mushrooms have browned and all of their moisture has evaporated. Once done, place into a large mixing bowl.
Meanwhile, prepare the celeriac and sweet potatoes (grate and chop—see notes below) and place into the mixing bowl.
Next, pulse the walnuts a few times. Add the sunflower seeds and pulse a few more times. The nuts do not need to be too fine, but they should be fairly broken up. Add the nuts to the mixing bowl.
Next, add the garlic to the food processor and mince. Add the fresh herbs and pulse a few times. Remove and add to the mixing bowl.
Next, add the cooked brown rice, quinoa and black beans to the food processor and pulse a few times. Depending on the size of your food processor, you may need to process the ingredients separately. This is especially important for the black beans, as they should still have some chunky texture to them. Place everything into the mixing bowl.
At this point, add the soaked flax to the food processor and purée for a minute. Once the mixture has become gummy and “egg-white” like, remove and add to the mixing bowl.
Next, add the nutritional yeast, salt, pepper and the poultry seasoning to the mixing bowl and mix well to combine.
Lastly, taste for seasoning, adjusting the salt, pepper and/or poultry seasoning to your tastes. Note that the seasoning may also need adjusting based on the ingredients used — for instance, if the rice, quinoa and beans were pre-seasoned, then this will affect the overall seasoning of the dish.
Preheat oven to 350°F (160°C). Divide the mixture into 2 non-stick loaf pans. Alternatively, line the pans with parchment or lightly coat with oil or non-stick spray. Bake covered with foil for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for another 15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (75°C).
Once done, let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Meanwhile, you can go ahead and make the gravy.
To start the gravy, heat a large stainless steel fry pan over medium-high heat. Note: The use of a stainless steel pan rather than a non-stick pan is important, as it helps to create the nice golden color and caramelized flavor of the onions and mushrooms.
Add the oil, followed by the onions and a pinch of salt. *Note: If desired, omit the oil and dry-sauté the onions with a bit of vegetable stock or water.
Sauté the onions until they are translucent and slightly browned, adjusting the heat as necessary. Next, add the mushrooms. Cook until their water evaporates and they start to brown nicely. Stir frequently to prevent any burning. Once the mushrooms and onions have cooked through and have nice color—which will greatly add to the flavor of the final gravy—deglaze with the vermouth.
Next, add the flour. Note: Regular all-purpose flour can be used if desired. Let cook for 30 seconds or so and then slowly add the water. Stir constantly. Add the first 2 cups of water and let come to a simmer before adding more water. You are looking for a nice gravy- or sauce-like consistency. Let it cook for a few minutes to cook out the starch. Add the tamari and apple cider vinegar. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed.
*Although cooking your own beans is preferred, canned beans can be used. Other beans, such as pinto or cannellini beans would also work—the color would just be slightly different.
**To make your own flax meal, simply grind flax seeds in a grinder for about 10 to 15 seconds.
Any combination of vegetables can be used, and if you don’t have one or the other, you can simply use one type of vegetable. However, the celeriac and sweet potato combination is really nice. If you have a food processor, use the grater blade to grate the vegetables. Then use the regular blade of the food processor to pulse the grated vegetables a few times to chop them up. This may seem like a long process, but the final texture and flavor of the dish makes it worthwhile.
Note: The Poultry Seasoning adds a very nice “holiday” flavor to the loaves. Feel free to play around and add your own spices and herbs.
At first, this dish may seem time consuming to make, but the final results are well worth it. The recipe makes 2 loaves, which is nice, and they keep and freeze quite well.
Serving Notes: Be sure to serve it with the gravy (or another type of gravy) as it really makes for an enjoyable meal. Cranberry sauce, preferably homemade, is also a must. For side dishes, mashed potatoes and steamed or roasted vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts or carrots, go well.