I love how human beings are so inventive despite existing limitations. My one true love, music, is limited to a certain degree by the fact that there are only 12 notes in an octave. However, the thousands of possible combinations with these notes make it such that new tunes are produced daily and they have the power to move people to tears, cheer them up or provide relatable situations or emotions which help them feel like they are not alone. Much in the same way, I love how ingredients are a blank canvas with which you can paint literally anything; possibilities are endless.
Today’s recipe is a rustic masterpiece. A cruelty-free meaty meatloaf. Starring in this recipe are chestnuts, which are actually factually, believe it or not, seeds. Nutritionally, chestnuts are much lower in fat and protein and much higher in carbohydrates and water than nuts. Chestnuts are a low glycemic index whole food and a great source of blood-pressure-lowering potassium, metabolism-aiding B vitamins and immune-strengthening selenium. 10 kernels of chestnuts make Christmas come early with their 4.3 grams of fiber and 30% of the daily recommended intake for vitamin C (take that oranges!).
Parsnips, a beloved root vegetable of mine, add a sweet spicy flavour that is slightly reminiscent of nutmeg and cinnamon and provides your body/temple with apigenin, an antioxidant that helps prevent cancer.
Here’s the step-by-step guide to making this ah-mazing loaf, inspired by BBC Good Food’s recipe here.
Walnut, Parsnip and Chestnut Loaf
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 3 onions, chopped
- 15 g fresh sage + extra for garnish
- 200 g cooked chestnuts (I used prepackaged)
- 100 g organic walnuts
- 2 slices multigrain bread, chopped into itty bitty pieces
- 1/2 tsp. mace
- 1 flax egg (3 tbsp. ground flax + 3 tbsp. water)
- 500 g cranberries
- 175 g coconut palm sugar
- 600 g parsnips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Celsius.
- Chop up your 3 onions and heat them in olive oil in a skillet. When onions are soft and translucent, add freshly chopped sage leaves.
- In your trusty food processor, pulse your chestnuts until they become couscous-like in texture. Add to your onion mix.
- In your trusty food processor, pulse your walnuts until finely ground. Add to your onion and chestnut mix.
- Add said mix to a large mixing bowl and add flax egg, home-made breadcrumbs, mace, salt & peppa to it.
- In the meantime, prepare the cranberry sauce. Cook the cranberries on high heat with the sugar until they begin to snap, crackle, pop. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the parsnips for about 4 minutes.
- Cut parsnips lengthwise. Then, at the thinner end of the parsnip, cut pieces that are the length of your loaf tin’s width.
- Grease a 900 g loaf tin with vegetable oil and snugly line the bottom of your tin with the parsnip ends.
- Top parsnip ends with 1/2 the chestnut/walnut/breadcrumb mixture.
- Add 1/3 of the cranberry sauce to the mix as a layer.
- Add remaining chestnut/walnut/breadcrumb mixture and press down firmly.
- Cover in aluminium foil and bake for about 60 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.
- Serve with the remainder of the cranberry sauce.