A Nut Loaf is great any time of the year but has a special place at Christmas for many. This baked dish makes use of nuts, eggs, herbs, mushrooms, and veggies for a deliciously sweet-and-savory result. Nut loaves are extremely flexible, so you can also add in extras that you prefer, like cheese and wine, or substitute bread for rice.
While it may not sound too appealing, a nut loaf is all kinds of delicious! Though once the poster child of vegetarian food, the nut loaf has acquired an unfairly bad rep over time and is often banished to the culinary hinterlands but give it a chance and you’ll see that nut loaf is hearty, chewy, nourishing, and packed with a delicious burst of umami.
Whether it’s Christmas or sunny July and whether you’re a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian, there’s no wrong time for the perfect nut loaf recipe. Here’s how to whip one up, including egg substitutes and tips to make it vegan.
After all, what’s Christmas without a choice selection of nuts, am I right?
The Best Nut Loaf Recipe
- A loaf tin with a capacity of one kilogram
- Baking paper to line the loaf tin
- Food processor (to chop your nuts, unless you prefer to do it the old-fashioned way)
- Saucepan (large)
- 1 red onion diced
- ½ leek sliced
- 50 grams Butter
- carrot diced
- 2 Garlic cloves mashed, looking for a paste consistency
- 3 Garlic cloves finely sliced
- 100 grams Mixed nuts chopped
- 100 grams Chestnut mushrooms chopped
- 100 grams French green/Le Puy lentils cooked
- 150 grams Vegetable stock
- 2 Eggs beaten
- Orange zest from 1 orange
- 1 tablespoon Rosemary finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon Thyme leaves
- 30 grams Apricots or dried cranberries chopped
- 180 grams Cooked chestnuts chopped
- 100 grams Brown bread torn
- In your large pan, sweat the carrot, onion, garlic, and leek in butter until they’re soft, which should take about ten minutes.
- While your veggies are sweating it out on the stove, set your oven to preheat to 180℃ or gas mark 4.
- To your veggie mix, add mushrooms and let them cook. Once they’re cooked, add the lentils, mixed nuts, chestnuts, black garlic, bread, cranberries, and vegetable stock.
- Let this mixture simmer until the stock completely disappears. If you’re using red wine or sherry, this is where you add it in and let it completely reduce. Once that happens, add the thyme, rosemary, nutmeg, orange zest, pepper, and salt, mix well, and take the pan off the heat.
- Now, fold your beaten eggs through the cooked mix. Make sure that you cool it a little before folding in the eggs; we don’t want the eggs to cook. Be gentle; you don’t want your loaf to end up dense and thick.
- Transfer your mixture to your loaf tin. Don’t forget to line it with baking paper! Give the loaf tin a few raps so that any air bubbles disappear and smooth the surface with a spatula.
- If you’d like, you can decorate the loaf with walnuts and bell peppers (I usually don’t have the patience for such elaborate attention to detail!). Let this cook for around 35-45 minutes; you’ll know it’s cooked by the slightly crisped and browned surface of the loaf.
- And there you have it—the perfect nut loaf. Let it rest for ten minutes, remove the parchment paper, slice, and dig in right away, with Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce, or mouthwatering mushroom gravy and your favourite autumn vegetables.
- Since this is a nut loaf, you can also add in any other nuts and seeds that you want, such as walnuts, cashews, pistachios, sunflower seeds, and almonds. Nut loaf recipes are very forgiving, so you can use any type of mushroom, how many ever dried herbs you want, and even add in sherry or red wine.
- For extra richness, you can also add a cup of cottage cheese and about a three-fourth pound of any grated cheese you like. Some folks also use two cups of brown rice instead of bread—there’s so much flexibility this recipe affords!
- If you’re using rice instead of bread, don’t add the nuts in the third step mentioned above. Instead, mix the nuts and brown rice together and add this to the mixture of beaten cottage cheese and eggs. To this mixture, you can add your cooked and cooled veggies, herbs, and cheese.
Pro - TipsIf, by some miraculous turn of events, you have leftover nut loaf, you can crumble it into a pan of sauteed carrots, parsnips, onions, and turnips, top the whole thing with mashed potatoes and butter, and bake it at around 176℃ until you see the potatoes brown and the filling bubble. Et voila! A vegetarian version of Shepherd’s Pie!
What Can I Use Instead Of Eggs In A Nut Roast?
If you’re looking for a vegan version of nut roast, we live in an age where we don’t have to struggle with egg substitutes! Here are a few substitutes for eggs (each option substitutes one whole egg):
- Apple puree (mix half a teaspoon of baking powder with four tablespoons of apple puree)
- Apple cider vinegar and baking soda (one tablespoon of cider vinegar with one teaspoon of baking soda)
- Flaxseeds (mix three tablespoons of warm water with a tablespoon of milled flaxseed)
- Chia seeds (mix a tablespoon of seeds with two and a half tablespoons of water)
- Tofu (mix half a teaspoon of baking powder with four tablespoons of tofu)
- Chickpea water/Aquafaba (mix around 350 grams of normal flour with two tablespoons of chickpea flour)
- Yoghurt (use four tablespoons)
*Each option is incorporated into the recipe just as an egg would be.
How To Make It Vegan?
If you’re wondering what else you can do to make your nut loaf vegan, replace the butter with a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil or any cooking oil of your preference. Additionally, substitute the eggs with any of the options mentioned above (except yoghurt).
If you’re using cottage cheese and/or cheese in the recipe, replace it with tofu or any vegan variant.
Perfect Nut Loaf Recipe: The Bottom Line
Nut loaves are ridiculously delicious—if only more people gave them a chance! This is my go-to recipe, but as indicated, you can always make your own tweaks based on what works best for you. If nut loaves have disillusioned you or didn’t seem worth your while before, this recipe is a must try!