Quinoa, Almond and Mushroom Loaf

A lovely celebratory dish, loaded with flavour and goodness.  I’m very pleased with this one, and so were all the non-vegans I served it to last weekend.  My mother’s birthday falls at this time of year, which is great, because I got to cook a great vegan Sunday roast with all the trimmings….including a red wine sauce;  that doubled as a test run for a trial recipe for a delicious Christmas loaf that anyone can enjoy.  Unfortunately, I was so busy cooking and entertaining I forgot to take photos……ooops 🙃….. until the next day when I had a leftover slice with mash and peas and a miso gravy …… and I know this loaf would also be delicious served with rice, steamed broccoli and a lightly spiced tomato sauce.

So.  Take your pick of accompaniments!

 A very adaptable, delicious, flavoursome, nutritious, vegan dish.  Who could ask for more! 💚

You can make it in advance, and leave it in the refrigerator overnight, and when it comes to baking, it’s very versatile.  It will cook long and slow at the bottom of a hot oven, or quicker at the top of a cooler oven.  I had potatoes roasting at Gas. Mk. 7 /220C and this dish sat on the bottom shelf for over an hour, covered in silver foil until the last 15 minutes.  You just need to make sure it comes out golden on the top and that it doesn’t dry out.   It also holds together perfectly when sliced, so the whole thing could be cooked in advance, sliced and frozen (each piece wrapped individually) …and individual slices then re-heated as wanted.

And as I think I already mentioned, you couldn’t pack more serious goodness into it if you tried!  🍃

It’s a dish that requires a little organisation, but it fits very nicely into several easy stages.

Hope you enjoy! 💕 💕

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QUINOA, ALMOND AND MUSHROOM LOAF

Serves 8

Stage 1: cook the perfect quinoa!

Ingredients:

  • 175 gms. quinoa
  • 300 ml. water

Method:

  • Rinse the quinoa very, very thoroughly, to remove the bitterness that can sometimes accompany quinoa.
  • Place a saucepan (that has a lid) on a medium high heat.  Add the quinoa and dry roast for 4-5 mins.
  • Stir it constantly to avoid burning.  When the quinoa rattles and pops in the pan, and has a nutty fragrance, add 300ml. water.
  • Bring to a rapid boil and then cover with a tight-fitting lid, reduce heat to the absolute minimum (I used a heat diffuser) and then simmer very gently for approx. 30 mins. until all the liquid has been absorbed. A glass lid is a bonus because you can see what’s happening!
  • Then switch off the heat, and leave to stand, covered, for 10 mins.
  • Then fluff it up with a fork and voila! the perfect quinoa.
  • Set aside.

Stage 2:  chop and sauté  the vegetables (which can be done while the quinoa is simmering)

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbs. olive oil
  • 200gms. chestnut mushrooms
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 4 tbs. fresh or dried herbs – I used tarragon, parsley and thyme
  • 1.5 – 2 tsps. salt
  • 1.5 tsps. ground black pepper
  • 0.5 tsp. chilli powder

Method:

  • Peel and finely slice the onion.
  • Peel and crush garlic.
  • Place the mushrooms in a food processor and blitz on pulse until they are coarsely chopped in small pieces.
  • Mix finely chopped herbs, salt, pepper and chilli powder together.
  • In a wide pan, on a high heat, add 3 tbs. olive oil.
  • When hot, add chopped onion and sauté for 5 mins.
  • Add crushed garlic and sauté for 1 min.
  • Add chopped mushrooms and sauté for 3 mins.
  • Add herbs and spices, combine and sauté for 1 min. then remove from heat and set aside.

Stage 3: prepare dry ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 150 gms. almonds (no need to remove skins)
  • 100gms. soft dried apricots
  • 30 gms. chickpea flour
  • 75 gms. sunflower seeds
  • 80gms. bread (I used gluten-free)

Method:

  • Chop or grind the almonds in a food processor, until reasonably finely chopped but not powdered.
  • Half way through blitzing the almonds, add the bread and blitz on pulse for a few seconds until the bread is evenly crumbed. The bread and the nuts can be done in two separate operations if you prefer.
  • Finely slice the apricots and combine with chickpea flour.
  • In a skillet on a medium-high heat, toast the sunflower seeds until golden and fragrant, approx. 3 mins.

Stage 4: prepare wet ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 20gms. chia seeds
  • 40gms. tomato puree
  • 1 tbs. tamari
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 200 ml. water

Method:

  • Grind the chia seeds finely.
  • Combine ground chia seeds, tomato puree, tamari, lemon juice and water thoroughly to form a smooth paste and then leave for 10 mins.

Stage 5: bring everything together

Ingredients:

Final ingredient:

  • 25 gms. potato starch (or cornflour / corn starch)

Method:

  • Place the cooked quinoa in a large bowl.  Add the sautéed mushroom mix and combine.
  • Add the chopped almonds/breadcrumb mix, dried apricots coated in chickpea flour, and 60 gms. of toasted sunflower seeds.  ( Reserve 15 gms. sunflower seeds to decorate).
  • Stir to combine evenly.
  • Add 25 gms. sifted potato starch/ cornflour bit by bit.  Stir thoroughly to combine.
  • Add chia seed/tomato liquid.  Mix everything together throughly.
  • Transfer to a lightly oiled loaf dish.   The interior of my loaf dish measures 22cm.x 12cm. and is 8 cm.deep.
  • Compress gently using a fork to remove any air pockets and create an even surface.
  • Scatter remaining 15 gms. of sunflower seeds over the top.

This loaf can be made in advance and refrigerated (covered) for 24 hours or so.

To bake: cover in silver foil and bake in a medium oven for about an hour.    This loaf is very adaptable in terms of cooking conditions, you can place it at the bottom of a hot oven for up to 90 mins.  Remove the silver foil for the last 15 mins.

Serve immediately, piping hot, with your chosen accompaniments 🌷

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Peace

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Deliciousness

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Enjoy

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