Every now and then you come across a recipe that is a cut above the rest – one that makes everything you’ve made before pale in comparison. I present – The Nut Loaf.
I must admit the name doesn’t really do it justice. What is it? Well, it’s a loaf made entirely of nuts, rice, mushrooms, onions, herbs and cheese. Somehow, it all melds into an appearance and texture just like a meat loaf. And it tastes AMAZING. As in, better than the meat version.
This may be the perfect meatless entree for a special meal, holiday or otherwise – it’s incredibly hearty, and I think it could satisfy even the most passionate of meat lovers. It’s actually kind of incredible how tasty it is…and how the texture is so similar to a meat loaf (though of course it’s not pretending to be meat, because it’s a Nut Loaf. Mmm…Nut Loaf.)
Props to our friends Lynne and Kirk for discovering this masterpiece and serving it to us a few years ago. We enjoyed it with friends Jamie and Dan in a fun holiday-inspired meal, with shiitakes from the Indy Winter Farmer’s Market. If you’re looking for a centerpiece for a special meal, you can’t go wrong with this one!
- 9 inch loaf pan
- 1½ cups walnuts
- ½ cup cashews
- 1 yellow onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 ounces shiitake mushrooms
- 3 ounces baby bella mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1½ cups cooked brown rice
- 4 large eggs
- 12 ounces Swiss cheese, grated
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- If you don’t have leftover cooked rice on hand, cook the brown rice according to the package instructions (we combined 1 cup short grain brown rice with 2 cups water, brought to a boil, and simmered for 50 minutes).
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Place 1½ cup walnuts and ½ cup cashews on a baking sheet and toast for about 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned. Allow to cool.
- Meanwhile, finely chop the onion and mince the 3 cloves garlic. Clean and finely chop the mushrooms. Finely chop the 2 tablespoons fresh parsley. When the nuts have cooled, finely chop them with a knife or in a food processor.
- In a saute pan, heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, 1 teaspoon marjoram, 1 teaspoon thyme, and 1 teaspoon sage. Cook about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms are golden. Transfer to a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, lightly beat together 4 eggs.
- In the large bowl, combine the onion and mushroom mixture with the toasted walnuts and cashews, parsley, 1½ cups cooked rice, 1 cup cottage cheese, 12 ounces Swiss cheese, beaten eggs, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper.
- Butter a 9 inch loaf pan, line bottom with parchment paper, and butter it again. Pour the mixture from the large bowl into the pan.
- Bake 1 hour until golden brown. Let cool in pan for 20 minutes, then invert loaf and remove from pan. Serve warm.