Tuesday, May 24, 2016

1980s-Style Vegan Nut Loaf

Veganism has come a LONG way since the 1970s and '80s. Well, I wasn't even born yet in the '70s, but I've heard about those dark days. I did go vegetarian in a small Arkansas town in 1994, so that was kind of close, right? Back then, there was no Field Roast, no Gardein, no Miyoko's Creamery cheese, or Daiya shreds. When I went veg, we did have a few products from Boca and Morningstar Farms (they contained eggs, but that was okay when I was lacto-ovo), so things had progressed a little by then.

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.


Jenny said...

I actually have a massive soft spot for nut loaf and I'm gonna give this a go for sure! It looks succulent and very tasty :D

Hillary said...

Thanks for this recipe, I've been intrigued by the idea of a nut loaf, but I've never made one myself!

Anu said...

Thank you for the recipe! Do you use fresh or dried breadcrumbs?

Bianca said...

Hi Anu! I used dried (purchased from Whole Foods) for this recipe, but I bet fresh crumbs would work as well.

Barb@ThatWasVegan? said...

I'm definitely making this! I love a good nut loaf... plus it's really fun to say ;)

Anonymous said...

When I saw this recipe I knew I had to have it last night. I didn't have all the spices on hand, so I winged it a little. It was delicious! And I loved the texture. Thank you for sharing this recipe!!


Happy Older Hippie Woman! said...

Vegan Nut or Bean loafs are favorites of mine. And, for me, rubbed sage is always a must. I'll definitely be giving this a try real soon!