If I had to cook for my parents

by Josh Racho

I try to take every opportunity I can to cook for friends and family, regardless of how good or bad a recipe may be. I do so mostly for fun, but also to show them I can. Having transitioned to a whole food, plant-based diet about a year ago although my family and friends are very supportive, my diet is a total mystery to them. For this reason I prefer to prepare meals that to their complete surprise contain absolutely zero animal products. Often the holidays, a time of family meat-centric meals are the opportune occasion to show off my meat-free kitchen know-how. I go for an alternative to the standard turkey and ham: a lentil walnut loaf. It highlights seasonal veg thanks to raisins and grated apples and the addition of fresh thyme provides a holiday feel.

Take that, turkey
Take that, turkey

Don’t be shy about looking up meat-free recipes as an alternative for family get togethers and other special occasions—certainly if you want to avoid the bloated tiredness that is all too familiar to most. It may be called a loaf, but I promise if you give it a shot—and maybe even make a nice little glaze to go along with it—you’ll be happy you tried something new. Plus, how impressed would those parents of yours be to see that you tried out a fun new creation rather than a frozen turkey and some five-minute boxed potatoes?


Lentil Walnut Loaf

1 cup dry green lentils

4 cloves garlic minced

3 tbsp ground flax with 1/2 cup warm water

2 small sweet onions, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

2 large carrot, shredded

1/2 cup oat flour

3/4 cup oats or breadcrumbs

6 button mushrooms, sliced

2 gala apples, grated

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp cumin

1 cup favourite nuts, chopped and toasted

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Cook the lentils according to the instructions on the package.
  3. Meanwhile, mix the ground flax seed with the water and let sit for 10 minutes.
  4. Use high power blender or food processor to make a sort of paste texture from the lentils, allowing some chunks to remain.
  5. Combine the lentil mixture with the remaining ingredients and place in pan to bake until cooked completely.