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This modified version of a nut loaf is the perfect meat substitute for special occasions such as Thanksgiving or Christmas. Many people find holidays especially hard if they are cutting down on meat, but this dish is a healthy and hearty option that goes perfectly with some roast vegetables and vegan gravy.

I knew I struck gold with this recipe when I was cooking for 12 meat-eaters and it proved to be the most popular dish of the evening, even when up against freshly caught salmon and oven baked chicken. Whilst everyone was fighting over the last slice of nut loaf, the chicken in the corner sat neglected. I begrudgingly celebrated the triumph of the nut loaf, seeing as I got much less of it than I would have liked.

My sister and I have been cooking nut loaf every Christmas for the last 8 years. Each year we tweak the recipe a little. It is a very versatile dish, changing the nuts or vegetables can dramatically change the taste and texture without getting any less delicious. The cashew and cauliflower compliment each other excellently and provide a suitable base to soak up the various seasonings that give this dish it’s seasonal feel. Feel free to add grated vegan cheese if you want an extra cheesy flavour but I find the nutritional yeast is enough. If you feel the mixture needs thickening add more cashews or a few tablespoons of whole-wheat flour.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cauliflower

1 cup unsalted cashews

4 tbsp soaked chia seeds blended with 1/2 cup of water

3 tbsp nutritional yeast

4 spring onions, finely chopped

1 large onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup chives, chopped

4 garlic cloves

1 tspn cumin

1 tspn rosemary

1 tspn thyme

1 tspn sage

2 tbsp soy sauce

METHOD

Preheat oven at 350F

Chop the cauliflower up into a manageable size and feed it through the food processor (grating or blending also work but is more time consuming).

Blend the cashews into a fine dust like consistency.

Add the cauliflower and cashews into a large mixing bowl along with the blended chia mixture and nutritional yeast.

Finely chop all remaining veg and add into mixture along with the herbs, spices and soy sauce.

Mix until all the ingredients are evenly balanced.

Grease loaf tin with coconut oil and line with greaseproof paper.

Cook for 45-60 minutes