Unlike many people, I grew up with a vegetarian in my immediate family – my maternal Grandfather. We were very close, and I spent a great deal of time during childhood with my grandparents. Grandfather decided to become a vegetarian as an adult, part of a spiritual commitment to Theosophy (https://www.theosophical.org/), to which he devoted much time and attention. I don’t believe it was ever a “health” decision, other than for spiritual health.
Lucky for him, my Grandmother was a skilled cook, and willing to spend the time experimenting with recipes that would accommodate his needs. She would often bring “Carrot Nut Loaf” to family gatherings, while the rest of us enjoyed roast chicken, turkey or steak. They also ate two very different meals at home, as she never embraced vegetarianism or Theosophy (being a staunch Methodist through and through), but she never complained about the added work – at least when I was in earshot!
His diet, as I look back on it now, was not particularly healthy. He ate a lot of full fat dairy (buttermilk and strong cheeses were favorites), and an excess of sugar (baked goods, ice cream and full sugar sodas). During his last decade he developed type II diabetes, and later suffered several ischemic strokes and a final fatal heart attack at age 83.
Although vegetarianism didn’t appeal to me, after reading about the whole foods plant based diet and its positive affects on health, the “cleaner” vegan approach called to me. I fully expected to be repeating the past, cooking two meals like my Grandmother before me, but within a few weeks of this new “regime” my husband joined the experiment. It is so much easier when people living under the same roof eat together and share the same diet! And I often think back on my Grandmother, struggling with cooking extra dishes – and wonder what amazing things she could have accomplished with my food processor, high speed blender and juicer!
I found this recipe thanks to Vegan Prairie Girl (http://veggieprairiegirl.blogspot.com/2009/11/carrot-and-cashew-nut-roast.html) and it seems similar to the one my grandmother used. She also made some sort of a mushroom gravy to go on top.
1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 cups carrots, cooked and mashed
2 cups cashew nuts, ground
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 tbsp. tahini
1-1/2 tsp. caraway seeds (optional)
*1 teaspoon yeast extract*
Juice of 1/2 lemon
*1/3 cup stock* from the carrots
salt and pepper
1. Fry the onion and garlic in the oil until soft.
2. Mix together with all the other ingredients and season to taste.
3. Place in the mixture in a greased loaf pan.
4. *Cover with foil* and bake at 350F for one hour.
5. Remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes.
6. Leave to stand in the baking pan for at least 10 minutes before turning out.