Preheat oven to 350°F.
Sauté the onion in oil or butter until it begins to soften. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt and pepper,
and cook until the mushrooms release their juices and become soft. Add the garlic and dried herbs, and
continue to cook. When the pan begins to dry out again, add a good splash of red wine or sherry and cook until
it is reduced. The contents should be moist but not swimming in liquid. Remove from the heat and let cool a
While the mushroom mixture cools, butter or oil a 9-inch loaf pan and line with parchment paper or foil.
In a large bowl, toss the brown rice and nuts together. In a separate bowl beat the eggs with the cottage
cheese. Add the egg mixture to the rice/nut mixture, then stir in the cooled mushrooms, grated cheese and
fresh herbs. Mix well. Taste for seasoning and adjust. (If you're worried about the raw egg, you can fry up a
little patty to taste.)
The mixture can be kept, covered, in the refrigerator at this point for no more than a day.
Fill the loaf pan with the nut mixture, rap a few times on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles and smooth
the top with a spatula. Decorate with slices of mushrooms, slices of bell pepper, or whole walnuts if desired.
Place loaf pan on a baking tray.
Bake for about an hour or until the loaf is firm (slightly longer if the mixture was refrigerated). Remove from
the oven. Rest on a cooling rack for ten minutes, then lift the loaf from the pan using the excess parchment
paper or foil. Peel off the parchment or foil and serve on a platter, garnished with fresh herbs.
Serve with a mushroom gravy, accompanied by your favorite autumn vegetables.
Nut loaf is a very forgiving recipe. You can add more mushrooms or less cheese if you want to lighten it up,
for example. You can use ordinary button mushrooms for a wonderful classic nut loaf, or you can substitute
some or all of the buttons for fresh shiitake. I've never used the more exotic wild mushrooms because I
imagine their flavor would get lost, but if you have the spare cash, they may be worth experimenting with.
Alternative Serving Ideas:
Besides the delicata squash mentioned above, I've seen nut loaf stuffed into other small squashes such as
Acorn or Sweet Dumpling.
For a retro-look, use a ring-shaped mold instead of a loaf pan, unmold onto a round plate and fill the center
with mashed potatoes. Decorate with curly parsley.
Crumble leftover nut loaf into a pan of already sautéed onions, carrots, parsnips and/or turnips. Turn this into a
casserole dish and dollop the top with mashed potatoes to cover completely. Run a fork over the potatoes to
create ridges. Drizzle butter over the top and bake it in a 350° oven until the filling is bubbly and the potatoes
have started to brown. Viola! Vegetarian Shepard's Pie.
And of course, there's always the nut loaf sandwich.