Beet Loaf

Beets and buckwheat are two foods close to my heart, either alone or in tandem.  This is a nice way to feature both in a stick-to-your-ribs rainy-day kind of meal.  While the loaf stands alone, it can be taken to another level by slathering it with a spicy tomato sauce or miso gravy.  A hot cup of soup or mess of vegetables besides, and you’re looking at crunchy comfort food of the vegan variety.

What you need:

  • 2 lbs yellow beets, peeled and chopped (red works too, but you’ll have a neon-hued loaf)
  • 1 cup tomato paste (home-made preferred)
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped (optional)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup oat bran or wheat germ
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds
  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 2 cups kasha (roasted buckwheat groats, plain or sprouted buckwheat groats also work if you have trouble with the kasha taste)
  • 2 tablespoons sausage spice (I like the one from Miyoko Schinner’s homemade vegan pantry but there are dozens of recipes bouncing around the net as well)
  • additional salt to taste

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F (170 C).
  2. In a large food processor (2L capacity minimum, or work in small batches if the one available is smaller), process the chopped beets, onion, garlic, tomato paste, olive oil, water or broth, tamari and celery (if using) until completely puréed.  This will take several minutes and lots of scraping the sides down at first.  Persist, the mixture will eventually become a homogenous paste.
  3. Turn the vegetable slurry out into a large bowl and return the food processor work bowl and blade to the motor unit (no need to rinse it out).
  4. Process the oat bran, walnuts, kasha and flax until completely broken up.  This too will take a few minutes.  If the walnuts start going to butter, it isn’t a problem, but if that happens – it’s likely time to stop the machine and head to the next step.
  5. Turn the grain and nut blend out into the large bowl.  Add the sausage spice to the bowl too.
  6. Mix everything together until well combined and taste for salt.  Add extra as desired, the amount (or not) needed will depend of the salt level of the broth and tomato paste.
  7. Transfer the loaf mix to an ungreased 9”x13” glass or ceramic baking pan.  Cook for 60 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
  8. Let the loaf cool in the pan at least 10 minutes before serving.

Variation:

  • If beets aren’t so much your thing, the loaf can be made with carrots, parsnip, winter squash (not pumpkin… this requires something dry) or celery root (celeriac) instead.

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