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Vegan meat loaf – makes approx. 8 slices

Christmas is around the corner and although we are visiting family abroad and I probably won’t be the one cooking this year, the whole family has enjoyed this NO-meat loaf quite a few times over the last month while I’ve been working on the recipe. It’s proper comfort food, warming and filling, but without leaving you feeling heavy and over-full. The flavours of the porcini mushrooms together with the caramelized onions and pecan nuts is so moreish it’s unlikely there will be leftovers. Serve with sides of your choice and add the mushroom gravy for extra creaminess. Both your vegan loaf and the gravy can be made the day before, so you don’t have to spend the whole of Christmas day in the kitchen.

What you need:

For the vegan loaf:

150g brown rice -rinsed

150g green or brown lentils -rinsed

30g dried porcini or mixed forest mushrooms – soaked in boiling water for 30mins

2tbsp olive oil

2 onions – sliced

2 garlic cloves – chopped

1tbsp rosemary (ideally fresh) – chopped

100g pecan (or walnut) halves

2tbsp maple syrup

Salt and black pepper to taste

For the mushroom gravy:

30g dried porcini or mixed forest mushrooms – soaked in boiling water for 30mins

1tbsp olive oil

1 onion – finely chopped

2 garlic cloves -finely chopped

40-50ml red wine

1tbsp white flour

20cl vegan cream – I use soy cream from “Sojade”

2tbsp tomato puree

2tsp marmite

200ml mushroom stock (from your soaked mushrooms)

2 bay leaves

2tsp soy sauce

How you do it:

For the vegan meat loaf:

Start by soaking your mushrooms as you’ll want to use some of the stock to cook your rice and lentils in (you can soak all the mushrooms together and roughly divide them after. If you aren’t making the gravy on the same day, you can keep the mushrooms and the stock in the fridge (separately) for 24h).

Get all the chopping out of the way while you’re waiting for your mushroom stock.

Boil around ½ the amount of water needed for your rice and lentil mix – you can cook these together as they take about the same time (I often do this, the lentils arguably get a touch softer than they should, but since it’s all going into the food processor it doesn’t matter).

Once rice and lentils are cooking top up the liquid using your mushroom stock, adding a vegetable stock cube, bouillon or some salt.

Leave the rice/lentil mix to simmer on low heat (lid on) for approx. 25mins, then drain any excess liquid and put aside.

Preheat your oven at fan 180C.

Onto your onion, pecan and mushroom mix.

In a non-stick frying pan heat up the olive oil, then add the onions and gently fry them for about 10mins (the softer the better!).

Add garlic, rosemary and pecan halves and fry for another 5mins stirring frequently.

If you haven’t done so yet drain your mushrooms (keeping the stock!), give them a good rinse to get rid of any soil, squeeze all excess water out and add them to the frying pan mix.

Mix with the rest and fry for another few minutes.

Reduce the heat, stir in the maple syrup and fry until it starts to caramelize.

Season with salt and pepper and transfer it to a food processor.

Blitz for a very short time (you still want it to be very coarse), then add your rice and lentil mix and blend for another quick burst, just enough to turn everything into a sticky, but ideally still slightly coarse paste.

Taste and add seasoning if necessary.

Spoon your paste into a lined, oiled or non-stick cake or bread tin and bake for 30-35mins.

Once done leave to cool for a little before flipping it over, if you are preparing it the day before it’s best to keep it in the tin so you can heat it up in the oven on the day.

For the mushroom gravy:

Soak your mushrooms if you haven’t done so already.

In a non-stick frying pan fry the onion for about 3mins, then add the garlic for another minute.

Add the red wine and leave to simmer for a few minutes until it has reduced.

Lower the heat and sprinkle over the flour, stirring until everything is evenly coated.

Stir in soy cream, tomato puree, marmite, soy sauce and date syrup.

Mix well, then add the bay leaves.

Top up with the mushroom stock and season to taste.

Simmer for 5mins.

Add the mushrooms (remember to rinse them well) and simmer everything for another 5-10mins stirring occasionally.



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