Vegetable Nut Loaf

The concept of a nut loaf is almost a bad joke. Many of the early recipes for these vegetarian baked loaves in the 80's, when vegetarianism began to become a popular trend, were terribly bland. Thank goodness this doesn't have to be the case, in my short vegetarian stint my father used to make the most delicious nut loaf. In the recipe below I have tried to recreate this yummy dish.

Vegetable Nut Loaf

Portions: 6-8 Portions

Preparation: 15 minutes

Cooking: 45-60 minutes

Ingredients

Lentil Layer

  • 350g (1 1/2 cups) cooked red lentils
  • 50g grated cheddar cheese
  • 50g walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped

Carrot Layer

  • 150g (1 1/2 cups) grated carrot
  • 50g sultanas
  • 50g pistachios, lightly toasted and roughly chopped

Brown Rice Layer

  • 275g (1 1/2 cups) cooked brown rice
  • 50g grated cheddar cheese
  • 50g cashews, toasted and roughly chopped

Main Mix

  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 35g (1/2 cup) fresh brown breadcrumbs
  • 6 tbsp chopped mixed herbs eg. sage, rosemary, coriander, mint, chives, parsley etc.
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mild or hot paprika (according to taste)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper

To Serve

  • chutney
  • creme fraiche or sour cream
  • salad

Method

  1. Layers: Mix all the lentil layer ingredients together in a bowl so that they are well combine. Repeat this with the carrot and brown rice layers, keeping the mixtures in separate bowls.
  2. Main Mix: Heat the oil in a saucepan over a moderate heat. Add the onion and sweat until it is tender and transparent, add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. When cooled place in a bowl with the remaining ingredients and mix until well combined.
  3. Distribute the main mix among the three layer mixtures. Combining well so that all the ingredients are well distributed.
  4. To Cook: Preheat an oven to 190°C. Butter or oil a ???? loaf tin well. Distribute the lentil mixture evenly over the base of the tin, pressing it down. Follow this with a layer of the carrot mixture, pushing it down well. Finally spread an even layer of the rice mix of the carrot, being sure to press it down. Cover the loaf with foil and place on the centre shelf of the preheated oven or place in the fridge until ready to cook. Leave the loaf to cook for 45 minutes - 1hour until the loaf is firm to touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes then turn out on a serving tray or chopping board (you may need to loosen the edges with a sharp knife before turning out.
  5. To Serve: Serve slices of the loaf hot or cold with chutney, sour cream or creme fraiche and a light salad. This loaf makes an excellent accompaniment to a picnic.