Wednesday, December 1, 2010


The one American holiday we always celebrate is Thanksgiving. My dear friend Erin would invite me to her home in Miami to celebrate with her and it was really great because we had many vegetarian options (since we are both vegetarians) and didn't feel excluded. I also enjoyed delicious Thanksgivings with Laila and her Middle Eastern-inspired table, never without tabuleh and hummus.

When we moved away, we came up with our own Thanksgiving -- my brother especially insisted on it. So we always had mashed potatoes, veggie gravy, Brussels sprouts, roasted asparagus, stuffed mushrooms and pumpkin pie. My sister and I would give my mom a day off and spend the whole day in the kitchen preparing the feast. And so once every year, we use our formal dining table.

I really hoped to celebrate Thanksgiving in Sweden since celebrating is rather contagious and luckily my fiance was eager. We spent some weeks planning our own tradition and then spent the whole day making food: Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, corn bread (we omitted the sugar), vegan gravy, cranberry chutney, pumpkin pie and a lentil loaf. Everything tasted authentically Thanksgiving and it was a great hit -- the leftovers were eagerly devoured next day.
We took a risk with the lentil loaf because we had never prepared it before, but it turned out delicious, especially due to the layer of tomato sauce on top. Really hearty, healthy and delicious, especially with vegan gravy. The vegan gravy recipe is inspired by Wild Oats - a health food store in Miami, which sadly no longer exists.

I'm putting up the recipe because my fiancé's mom and sister-in-law really enjoyed it and wanted to make it at home. So I'm also including Swedish measurements, but tbs = msk and tsp = tsk.

Thanksgiving Lentil Loaf
Serves 8 - 10

2/3 cup (1-1/2 dl) green lentils, uncooked
2/3 cup (1-1/2 dl) brown rice, uncooked
1 cup (2 dl) rolled oats (havregryn)
3 tbs olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped finely
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
1 large green bell pepper, chopped (paprika)
1 tsp herb de provence (or half dried thyme and half rosemary)
3 tbs soya sauce
2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 cube vegetable bouillon
1 tbs red wine vinegar
2 tbs tomato paste
2 tbs tomato sauce (recipe is below)
1/4 cup (4 msk) nutritional yeast (optional)
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup (1 dl) bread crumbs
salt and pepper

Tomato sauce:
2 tbs olive oil
400g can chopped or whole tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, chopped finely
1 tsp oregano
A pinch red chili flakes

1. Make the tomato sauce: In a heavy bottom pan, heat oil on low and cook onion until soft. Add chili flakes, oregano and garlic and cook for a minute. Add the tomatoes, break up the big tomatoes into smaller pieces (with your wooden spoon). Cook on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the water from the tomatoes has evaporated, about 20 - 25 minutes.

2. Boil the lentils until tender, but not overcooked.

3. In a separate pot, boil rice until tender, but not overcooked.

4. In a pan, heat olive oil and add the 2 chopped onions. Cook until soft. Add green peppers and 2 garlic cloves, along with herb de provence, chili flakes, bouillon (break up bouillon) and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until the peppers are tender and still green (they will cook further in the oven so don't overcook).

5. Grease a large loaf pan with butter, then sprinkle bread crumbs to coat the whole pan (so that nothing sticks). Preheat the oven to 190C/375F.

6. Drain the lentils and rice and transfer to a large bowl. Add the above onion and pepper mixture, along with the 2 tbs tomato sauce, tomato paste, soya sauce, red wine vinegar, mustard, nutritional yeast (if using), bread crumbs, oats. Stir and taste for salt and pepper. Lastly, add the beaten eggs and mix one last time.

7. Pour into loaf pan, press firmly and create a level smooth top. Then spread the left over tomato sauce on top. Bake for 30-45 minutes, until the top is turning color and looks slightly dry. Cool completely before transferring the loaf and cutting.

Vegan Gravy
Serves 8 - 10

4 tbs olive oil or butter
1/3 cup (1 dl) flour
2 large onions, chopped
1 small carrot, grated
1 cup (2 dl) mushrooms, chopped
1 tsp herb de provence
1/2 tsp oregano
2 tbs soya sauce
1-1/2 vegetable bouillon cubes
1/4 cup (4 msk) nutritional yeast (optional)
3 cups water

1. Heat olive oil and cook onions until soft. Add carrots, mushrooms, and herbs.

2. When mushrooms are cooked, add soya sauce, bouillon, and flour. Cook 2-3 minutes, then whisk in the water. Bring to a boil and whisk well so that there are no lumps. Simmer for 10 minutes on low. Add nutritional yeast (if using). Taste for salt and pepper.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...