Healthy Christmas Chestnut Loaf | Vegan Oil Free
All the singing about chestnuts roasting over an open fire during this time of year has made us want some chestnuts! Did you know that chestnuts are mostly starch? Other tree nuts are high in fat but the chestnut is super starchy, which is good news for those of us keeping close tabs on our fat intake.
Today we’re sharing our Christmas Chestnut Bake recipe with you. It’s a loaf dish along the lines of our meatless Meatloaf Bites but made with chestnuts and all of our favorite savory winter herbs and spices. This recipe is perfect for holiday dinners because it’s simple, packed with seasonal flavor, and can be made the night before to save you time in the kitchen later.
You can buy chestnuts pre-roasted and peeled, which is what we recommend. Roasting and peeling raw chestnuts is hardly a time-saving endeavor and we’d prefer to spend the time spreading good cheer among our family and friends.
Next, we need to make some flax “eggs”. Ground flaxseed makes an egg-ceptional substitute for eggs in baking. Eggs add moisture, binding, and leavening to baked goods so it’s easy to replace them when you know the action you need in your recipe. Flaxseed becomes very gelatinous when you add water to it, so it’s perfect for binding ingredients while adding moisture. We don’t need a lot of leavening (rising) in this recipe, so we don’t need to worry about it but if we did, we would simply use a little baking powder.
One tablespoon of flaxseed mixed with 2-3 tablespoons of water will equate to one “egg” and we’ll need a total of 2 flax eggs for this bake. Whenever you have a recipe that calls for flax eggs, be sure to mix them first thing as the flaxseed needs a minimum of 5 minutes to absorb enough of the water to get gelatinous.
Next, get the butternut squash prepped. You can certainly peel, seed, cut, and roast a fresh squash if you’ve got the time. We opted to use a bag of frozen butternut squash to save time. Whichever method you choose, your squash will need to be cooked all the way through as we’ll be mashing it like potatoes. We put our frozen chunks in a steamer pot on the stove and it was ready in less than 10 minutes.
While that’s going, chop up some mirepoix (a fancy culinary term for diced carrots, celery, and onions) along with a few mushrooms and some fresh garlic. We’ll saute the mirepoix and mushrooms on the stove in a little vegetable broth; it’s fine to use plain water but broth does help deepen the flavors.
Sauteeing in water is easy; just add enough liquid to the pan to keep your ingredients moving around. When the liquid evaporates and your veggies start to stick to the pan, add a little more! We find that doing this hydrate-evaporate cycle anywhere from 2-4 times during cooking is about all it takes to cook everything perfectly.
Once the vegetables have softened, it’s time to throw in the chopped garlic and seasonings. We always add fresh garlic last because it’s the first ingredient to burn during cooking. The residual heat from the veggies will be enough to cook it as well as start toasting the herbs. Along with the garlic, we’ll add some parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, nutritional yeast (we prefer Well Your World Nooch, naturally), smoked paprika, and black pepper. Once that’s all combined, remove it from the heat and let it sit while we finish up.
Pulse your water chestnuts with some cashews in the food processor. You can leave the cashews out and double up on the chestnuts if you’re really trying to limit your fat intake. Don’t over grind them; we’re looking for more of a coarse meal. Add those to a mixing bowl along with the mashed butternut squash, vegetable saute, flax eggs, and a little chickpea flour. Stir together and spoon into a parchment-lined loaf pan.
Cover it up with some aluminum foil and bake at 350º for an hour. Remove the foil and return to the oven for another 30 minutes. After the loaf has cooled for at least 20 minutes, it’s ready to lift from the pan, slice and serve. We recommend serving it with some Well Your World Mushroom Gravy Mix for even more holiday dinner vibes.
We love this hearty and healthy dish during the winter. The combination of herbs and spices gives us a burst of seasonal flavor and the butternut squash creates a lovely creaminess (without added fat). We hope you’ll try this one and let us know how you like it. Tag us on Instagram @wyw_community and tell us what you think!
Til Next Time, Xoxo Reebs
Christmas Chestnut Bake
Everyones favorite seasonal nut baked into a sliceable loaf for a healthy holiday meal.
- 2 tablespoons flax seed meal + 4 tablespoons water
- 10 oz butternut squash, peeled and chunked
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 2 small carrots, diced
- 1-2 cups veggie stock
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ½ teaspoon dried sage
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- ¾ cup raw cashews
- 5 oz roasted chestnuts, peeled (about 20, or 1 cup)
- ¼ cup chickpea flour
Preheat your oven to 350F.
In a small bowl whisk together the flax meal and water and set aside.
Next, steam the butternut squash for 10 minutes and set aside.
Saute the onion, celery, and carrots, adding a bit of veggie stock as needed to keep from sticking. After a few minutes, add the garlic and saute for another minute.
Add the rosemary, sage, thyme, paprika, and nutritional yeast along with a bit more veggie stock and saute for another couple minutes. Kill the heat.
In your food processor, pulse the cashews and chestnuts into a coarse grind. Try not to make nut flour. We want it nice and coarse for texture.
In a large mixing bowl, add everything you’ve prepared above as well as the chickpea flour and mix well.
Spoon it into a baking dish or parchment-lined loaf pan and bake covered for an hour. Remove the foil and bake for another 30 minutes to an hour. The time here will depend very much on the size of the vessel you choose. A baking dish will require less time than a loaf pan.
Let sit for 10-20 minutes to cool. It will "rm up a bit more once cool, but don’t expect a typical dry loaf. Enjoy! This one is so delicious!