Vegetarian Holiday Fare: Vegetarian Holiday Roast

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Serves 12

This excellent main dish is high in flavor, protein, and fiber, yet low in fat. Seitan, or wheat gluten, available at many health food stores, lends a texture to this loaf that will please your omnivorous guests.

• 1 1/2 cups lentils (3 cups cooked)
• 7/8 cup millet (3 cups cooked)
• 1 cup brown rice (3 cups cooked)
• 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts or 2 cups whole chestnuts
• 3 slices whole wheat toast, crumbled
• 1/2 cup almond butter
• 2 cups chopped onions
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 5 large cloves garlic, minced
• 2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
• 1 teaspoon dried celery seed
• 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 2 cups chopped seitan (optional)

1. Cook the lentils, millet, and brown rice separately, and reserve two cups of the lentil liquor for making Mushroom Gravy (below). If you are using whole chestnuts, preheat the oven to 400°F. Rinse the nuts and cut a cross about 1/2 inch deep in the small, pointed ends. Place the nuts on a cookie sheet and bake about 20 minutes, then cool for about 10 minutes. Remove the shells and cut the nuts in quarters.

2. Mix the cooked grains and lentils with the nuts, bread crumbs, and almond butter in a large bowl and set aside.

3. Sauté the onions briefly in olive oil, then add the garlic, sage, celery seed, rosemary, salt, and seitan if used. Sauté 2 to 4 minutes longer, stirring constantly, then add to the other ingredients, mix thoroughly (mooshing with fingers works best), and put into a large oiled baking dish. Lightly coat the top of the roast with olive oil, then bake at 350°F for 1 1/4 hours. Serve with Mushroom Gravy (below) and garnish with parsley.

Mushroom Gravy

Makes 1 quart

• 20 medium-size mushrooms
• 1/2 cup chopped onion
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1/2 teaspoon dried or 2 teaspoons fresh oregano
• 1/3 cup butter
• 1/2 cup unbleached flour
• 2 cups lentil liquor (from recipe above)
• 1 1/2 cups water
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1. Separate the mushroom caps from their stems, then quarter the caps and halve the stems. Sauté the onion in olive oil on medium heat for 1 minute, then stir in the oregano and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mushrooms have softened and the bottom of the pan is covered with liquid. Set aside.

2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the lentil liquor and water, and continue stirring until the mixture thickens and barely begins to boil. Add the mushroom mixture, salt, and pepper, and continue stirring until the gravy again begins to boil. Remove from heat and serve.

Recipe courtesyBrigitte Mars.

Click here for the main article, Vegetarian Holiday Fare.

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