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Splendid Savory Plant-Based Holiday Entrée

By Nancy Eisman

Your vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, and even the rest of your family and friends will be very thankful when you place this crazy good co-star on your holiday dinner table. Accompanied with the traditional green beans, sweet and/or mashed potatoes, and fresh or even canned cranberry sauce, step aside turkey, there’s a healthier, delicious Thanksgiving entrée in town.

With a nod to ‘60s and ‘70s meat-free, main dish creations, this version of a classic nut loaf is upgraded with the addition of earthy chestnuts and parsnips, freshly minced herbs, sautéed mushrooms and flavor-packed miso paste for lots of umami, assorted roasted nuts for flavor and texture, and a silky-smooth gravy to beautifully gild the lily, I mean loaf.

For Thanksgiving bake this recipe in a loaf pan, but use a ring mold and decorate accordingly like a wreath for a repeat appearance at Christmas. If there are any leftovers, congratulations you’ve got a tasty cold sandwich filling for the day after!

Savory Holiday Loaf
(Thanks BOSH! for the inspiration)


Ingredients for Savory Holiday Loaf

1 1/4 cups mixed raw nuts (pine nuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts)
2 cups parsnips, cubed
4 shallots, diced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
¾ cup carrots, diced
½ cup red bell pepper, diced
¼ cup jalapeno chile, minced
6 oz. cremini mushrooms, diced
1 package steamed chestnuts, chopped
½ cup vegetable broth
1 teaspoon miso paste
3 slices bread, toasted and ground to crumbs
½ teaspoon dried poultry spice
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
1 teaspoon fresh sage, minced
½ teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced

Preheat the oven to 360 degrees.

Spray the inside of a loaf pan with cooking oil. Line the pan with parchment paper. Lightly spray the paper with cooking oil. Set aside.

Toast the nuts in a dry pan or toaster oven for 3-4 minutes. When cool enough to handle, rough chop the nuts, leaving no large pieces.

Cook the parsnips in boiling water until tender. Drain and mash in a small bowl.

In a large pan, sauté the shallots, carrots, and bell peppers in olive oil about 3-4 minutes until tender.

In a large pan, sauté the shallots, carrots, and bell peppers in olive oil about 3-4 minutes until tender.

Add the jalapeno, mushrooms and garlic and cook 2 minutes.

Add in the chestnuts and cook another 3-4 minutes until softened.

Now add the herbs and spices, along with the breadcrumbs to the pan and stir to combine.

Pour in the vegetable stock, miso, mashed parsnips and chopped nuts.

If the mixture looks too dry add more stock. If too wet, add more bread crumbs.

Season the mixture with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared loaf pan, smooth out the top, cover with foil, and place on a baking sheet.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared loaf pan, smooth out the top, cover with foil, and place on a baking sheet. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 30 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and let cool 15-20 minutes before turning out the loaf onto a serving platter. Cut into nice, thick slices and serve with the gravy on the side.

Simple Gravy
(Thanks for the roadmap Simple Vegan Blog)

Ingredients for Simple Gravy

½ teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 ½ cups vegetable or plant-based “chicken” stock
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon white miso paste
¼ cup flour (white wheat or brown rice)
1 tablespoon fresh turmeric, grated
2 pinches of dried poultry seasoning
½ teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced

Add the oil to a saucepan and then add the shallots. Cook for 1 minute and then add the garlic.

Add the oil to a saucepan and then add the shallots. Cook for 1 minute and then add the garlic. Stir together, cook another 30 seconds, and then add the remaining ingredients.

Whisk the mixture to combine and bring it to a boil and cook for 3-4 minutes, continuing to whisk as the gravy thickens.

Lower the heat the medium, continue whisking, and cooking another 2 minutes until you’re happy with the consistency.

Lower the heat the medium, continue whisking, and cooking another 2 minutes until you’re happy with the consistency. Adjust seasoning if you’d like, and if the gravy is too thick, add a bit more stock or water and whisk again.

Pour the gravy into a serving bowl.
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