Leaves have a’fallen, now lentil loaves are a’callin’

Courtesy of Catherine Evans

While recent events have induced a spell of chaos among us, the need for love, kindness and self-care is a necessity. Right now it may be challenging to trod through life, dive into challenging conversations and look toward positivity, but the value of distraction, a break and treating yourself to a little happy time is boundlessly helpful. With Thanksgiving just a little more than a week away, the idea of “what we are thankful for” will be perceived in a new light. Let us look deeply at what we value, what enlivens us and what brings us happiness.

Perhaps these notions seem trivial in the present moment, but the ability to decompress and gain per­spective is a heartening and helpful way to reevaluate what is important, what we hold dear and what we are devoted to. In the midst of mulling over these thoughts and questions, let these recipes line your stomach, hug your insides and give you an excuse to consume sweetness, revel with rich flavor and feed your soul to fullness and contentment.

One of the most challenging aspects of a Thanks­giving meal, or any holiday meal for that matter, is deciding what to serve. In the midst of rushed deci­sion making, it is easy to overlook a dish or just settle for your go-to in a crunch.

Thinking and contemplating the contents of your table may send your head racing with mixed emo­tions, from mouth-watering to utter panic.

So, as you gear up for the holiday season, let me propose a small assortment of possibilities, if for nothing else but to get your own creative gears going.

By sharing our cooking style and ingredients I demonstrate how easy it is to incorporate delicious foods into your own culinary repertoire and create your own bounty.

Here is an assortment of our favorite recipes to sample and make yourself!

To bake a Pumpkin Ricotta Loaf, start by preheat­ing the oven to 350°, and coat a pan with coconut spray or a little olive oil.

Add all of the dry loaf ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix. Next, stir in the cashew milk, coconut oil, agave and vanilla extract.

Place mixture into bread pan and cook for 30 minutes. Mix the ricotta cheese ingredients together while the loaf cooks.

Take the loaf out of oven and pour cheese over the bread. Place it back in the oven for 45 minutes, or un­til the loaf is a golden brown color.

Take the loaf out of the oven and let it cool.

Mix together the glaze ingredients, then spread them over cooled loaf.

Cook your brown rice and lentils. The cooking process goes faster if these are made ahead of time, but are also great freshly prepared!

Chop all of your ingredients keeping then quite small

For the Vegan Lentil Loaf, preheat your oven to 400°F.

In large frying pan, heat one tbsp. olive oil over medium-high. Add the onion, garlic, carrot and cel­ery. Sauté everything until the onion becomes trans­lucent (about two minutes).

Add the mushrooms, kale, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper and continue sautéing until everything is just tender.

In a large bowl, combine the sautéed vegetables, brown rice, lentils, flaxseed meal, oat flour, nutrition­al yeast, walnuts and cranberries.

Mix everything very thoroughly. Don’t be afraid to put some muscle behind it. Mashing the ingredients together helps then bind better. This step is import­ant–make to press and bind together

Line a cake pan with parchment paper, and firmly press the mixture into the pan.

Bake for 25 minutes. Remove the loaf from the oven. Either add a cranberry glaze over the loaf or drizzle a little olive oil over the top. Bake for another 10-15 minutes. Remove the loaf from oven, allowing it to fully set for 10-15 minutes.

Cut, serve and enjoy!

Courtesy of Catherine Evans
Courtesy of Catherine Evans

Ingredients:

Vegan Lentil Loaf

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium-large carrot, grated
  • 1 rib celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 c kale, shredded and tightly packed
  • 1 1/2 c mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1/4 tsp fresh oregano
  • 1 tsp salt black pepper to taste
  • 1 c overcooked green lentils
  • 1 c cooked brown rice
  • 1/3 c flaxseed meal
  • 2 tbsp oat flour
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup ground walnuts (optional)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (optional)

Ricotta Pumpkin Loaf

  • 2c Bob’s Red Mill Oat Flour
  • 1c cashew milk
  • 1/2c coconut oil
  • 1/2c agave
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 2tsp baking soda
  • a generous amount of pumpkin pie spice
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 2tsp vanilla extract

Cheese

  • 3c ricotta cheese
  • 1/4c agave
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1tbs cinnamon

Glaze

  • 1c powdered sugar
  • 1/4c pumpkin puree
  • 1/2c coconut yogurt
  • 1tbsp cinnamon

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