But I think back to the days of the Farmies — the members of the vegan Farm commune/intentional community in Middle Tennessee — in the 1970s and 80s. When they wanted plant meat, they had to make it themselves using tofu or nuts. They made seitan from scratch using plain, all-purpose flour (which, by the way, I have done, and it takes FOREVER but tastes amazing), and they even fermented their own tempeh. I love perusing the old Farm cookbooks for retro recipes.
Anyway, a big staple for vegans in the 80s was nut loaf, the hippie version of meat loaf. I'm still slowly developing recipes for my vintage vegan cookbook project. Who knows when I'll get done? I'm done setting deadlines and timetables because that makes it way less fun. This week, I got inspired to create a retro Vegan Nut Loaf for the book. Served here with vegan bacon cheddar mashed potatoes (from Baconish) and cabbage fried in a little faux bacon-flavored olive oil.
This has a base of walnuts, cashews, and breadcrumbs, and it's all held together with good old-fashioned flax egg (none of that newfangled egg substitute in this recipe!). Keepin' it real.
Vegan Nut Loaf
Yields 8 servings
1 cup walnuts
1 cup raw cashews
2 cups whole wheat breadcrumbs
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 tsp. dried marjoram
1 tsp. dried tarragon
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. rubbed sage
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3 tbsp. ground flax seed + 6 tbsp. water
1 cup water
1 cup tomato sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Grind the walnuts and cashews into a fine powder in a food processor or coffee grinder. If using a coffee grinder, you'll need to grind them in batches.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground nuts, breadcrumbs, onion, herbs, salt, and pepper. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the ground flax and water and set aside for a couple minutes until the mixture is thick.
Stir the flax mixture into the nut mixture. Add the one cup of water and stir to combine. At this point, you'll need to get your hands in and knead the mixture into a dough.
Press the loaf into the loaf pan, and use your hands to even out the top. Bake for 20 minutes uncovered. Remove from the oven and top with tomato sauce, and then bake for 30 more minutes uncovered. Allow to cool for 10 minutes or so, and slice into 8 slices.