Wednesday, November 4, 2009

My First Thanksgiving

Kyle and I are going to host Thanksgiving at our apartment this year. I am so excited to plan the menu. I think Thanksgiving food can be kind of bland (turkey) or gross (candied yams), but I love mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, pie, etc. I am excited to make everything a little "fresher" than usual. Also, I am going to make a veggie loaf instead of a turkey. The idea of a tofu loaf really doesn't excite me so I wanted to come up with something that would be really delicious. I talked to one of my friends at work and she helped me come up with a quinoa white bean loaf. I am going to saute onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and mushrooms. For gravy I think I will something really rich like a red wine mushroom gravy. The loaf should be protein heavy and not too starchy to serve with potatoes. Another of my friends helped me further create the loaf recipe by telling me about an online Loaf Generator. I entered in ingredients for the protein, carbohydrate, liquid, etc. and here is the recipe that I will use this as a guideline for ratios the ingredients.

Thanksgiving loaf


1/2 cup pine nuts
2 TB olive oil
One onion, diced
One large garlic clove, minced
One large carrot, peeled and grated
Two celery ribs, diced
One cup mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
2 cups cooked white beans
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable broth, as needed
1 heaping TB flaxseed meal
1 tsp. dried basil
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tsp. salt


Preheat the oven to 350º. Spray a loaf pan or 8x8 square baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside (an 8x8 pan makes a crisper loaf).

Grind the pine nuts into a coarse meal using a food processor or spice/coffee grinder. Place in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Sauté any vegetables you've chosen in the olive oil until soft. Add to the large mixing bowl along with all the remaining ingredients. Mix and mash together well, adding only as much liquid as needed to create a soft, moist loaf that holds together and is not runny (you may not need to add any liquid if the grains and protein are very moist). Add more binder/carbohydrate as needed if the loaf seems too wet.

Press mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until cooked through.

Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then turn out onto a plate or platter and slice. Serve with potatoes, vegetables, and vegetarian gravy, if desired.

Cold leftover slices of Thanksgiving loaf make a great sandwich filling.

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