It is SO HOT on Jeju right now. Rainy season is almost over, which means, of course, the humidity will start kicking our butts right about now. I refuse to turn on my aircon until August. This means that my kitchen doesn’t get used too much because my friend ‘the fan’ doesn’t really do a great job of cooling the whole space. However, I did turn on my oven to make this delicious lentil loaf. I made a different version of a lentil loaf before using beets and quinoa. Today’s loaf is less complicated.
I love, love, love making lentil loaves because they are SO EASY. One basically just has to cook all the ingredients, mix them up, put them in a pan, oven, and boom! – you’ve got dinner. Lentil loaves are protein- and fiber-packed, which works for athletic vegans/vegetarians. You can also put any vegetables into your loaf to make it different every time. This time I tried barley as a carb and it worked very well. I am starting to really enjoy barley in the place of rice. If you’ve never had barley, give it a try. It is flavorful yet mild. The texture is pretty cool as well. Barley is also richer in fiber than other grains. Hello that much-desired “feeling full longer” effect!
2 cups of brown lentils (cooked with bay leaves and dashi seaweed to reduce **ahem ahem** gas)
2 cups of barley
1/2 onion, chopped
1 carrot, shredded
1 cup of string mushrooms, chopped. Other mushrooms will do.
2 tbsp soya sauce
1 tbsp dry basil
1/2 tbsp dry cilantro
1/2 tbsp dry thyme
1/2 tbsp coriander powder
1 pinch of cumin
Black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
1. Cook the lentils and barley separately. Set aside to cool. Set 1/2 cup of lentils aside. When they have cooled pulse in a food processor until they become a paste. This paste will serve to bind the loaf.
2. Fry the onions until golden brown. Add the mushrooms and cook until desired readiness of the mushrooms. Add the carrot and cook until it is softened.
3. In a very large bowl mix everything together until well-combined. Place the mixture into the loaf pan and press firmly. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes.
4. Cool the loaf before slicing, otherwise it will tend to fall apart.
Here is the best part of tonight’s dinner.
This. Sauce. Is. Delicious.
Rich and creamy, fragrant with wild mushrooms, yet completely dairy- and guilt-free. It’ll work on pasta as well!
Wild mushroom sauce
4 cups of wild mushrooms, chopped. Use at least 3 different kinds for best
1/2 cup of almonds, soaked
1/2 cup of soy milk
1/2 tbsp dry basil
salt and pepper to taste
1. Use the same frying pan from when you fried onions and carrots and heat a splash of oil. Fry the mushrooms on high heat for about 10 minutes.
2. While the mushrooms are frying, discard the water from the almonds and process in a food processor until fairly smooth yet the oils haven’t been released. About 3 minutes. Add a few tablespoons of water, if necessary. Set aside.
3. Lower the heat and add the soy milk. Mix.
4. Add the processed almonds. Mix. The sauce should be fairly thick by now. If it is too thick add more milk or water. If it is too runny, add more almond paste.
5. Add basil and cook for minutes.
My carnivorous man friend really enjoyed this loaf (more so than the previous version!) Make this recipe for a pot-luck or a friendly gathering. If you don’t want to use a loaf pan, just make patties out of the loaf mixture and grill them in tin foil for a tasty veggie burger version. You can also pan fry the patties, though the recipe becomes less healthy, of course.
I am enjoying watermelon season here on Jeju. Peach and red plum season is coming up with persimmon season to follow. Maybe I’ll make some vegan fruit desserts.
I LOVE vegan cooking!
Today’s question: What’s your favorite vegan summer dessert?
Enjoy the sunlight,