Festive Lentil, Parsnip and Portobello Mushroom Loaf

Ayurveda gives us wonderful teachings about maintaining equilibrium in body and mind through the changing seasons. This time-tested science prizes eating a local, seasonal plant-based diet. Ayurveda understands that Mother Nature gives us exactly what we need in our local natural environments to combat the effects of the seasons. In early Winter, she gives us nourishing and strengthening foods in the plentiful varieties of earthy root vegetables we find in our stores such as parsnip, carrots, potatoes, celeriac, and beetroots. We have stores of seeds and nuts to enjoy as good quality fats which help to keep us warm and give us the energy to fight the effects of Winter season. And the dried fruits we store and make traditional desserts with in this season also give perfect nourishment and extra energy for the season.

Eating seasonal foods that grow in our own climatic zone is a great way to boost our immunity according to Ayurveda, not only for the Winter months but in the Spring and Summer seasons ahead also. When I look at the Winter foods that Ayurveda prescribes, it delights me. Not only do I love to make warming rejuvenating soups and stews with these foods. Also I am amazed that our ancestors knew exactly what we should be eating for our health and well-being and the traditional festive foods we have inherited from them reflect this. Roasted root veggies, puddings with nuts and dried fruits flavoured with warming spices which help also to keep the body warm and support immunity. It’s not by chance that cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and nutmeg are the fragrances of Christmas.

To me, all this means that we can enjoy many traditional Festive season goodies without compromising our health, by applying a little of the wisdom of Ayurveda and drawing from Mother Nature’s seasonal bounty.

I’m sharing with you some Festive seasonal recipes to give you some nourishing and colourful meals you can enjoy with family and friends in the coming weeks, or make them the first and second courses of your special meal. Here is a lovely easy to make Festive Lentil, Parsnip and Portobello Mushroom Loaf. Next time, I will be adding some lovely easy-to-make vegetable dishes to complement this recipe as well as a healthy but yummy dessert for you to round the whole meal off with.

Buon Appetit….and Happy Holidays!



This is an easy to make vegan alternative to the nut roast, full of Winter warming goodness. You will need a loaf tin and parchment paper to line it, plus foil to cover the roast during baking.


1 cup organic puy lentils

3 cups water

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus a little extra

1 medium sized onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic minced

3 large Portobello mushrooms, finely chopped

1 medium sized parsnip, finely diced

1 cup organic oats

2 tablespoons ground golden linseed

2 tablespoons Braggs amino acids

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 tspn of dried thyme

¼ tspn cayenne pepper

1 tspn dried chilli flakes

¼ tspn cayenne pepper

1 pinch plus ¼ tspn rock salt

Winter Masala Ingredients for cooking the lentils:

1 tspn coriander seeds

1/2 tspn cumin seeds

¼ tspn dried ground ginger

a pinch of green cardamom powder.


Preheat oven to 375f or gas mark 4

To begin with, we’ll make a Winter Masala to cook the lentils in. In an iron skillet lightly toast the coriander seeds and grind them in mortar and pestle. Then lightly toast the cumin seeds and grind. Mix the freshly ground seeds with the ground ginger powder, and green cardamom powder. Bring the 3 cups of water to the boil in a large saucepan of water with the pinch of rock salt added. Once the water is boiling add one tspn of the winter masala blend and the bay leaf. And then add the 1 cup of lentils. Turn down the heat so that the water simmers covered until all liquid is absorbed. The lentils must be tender. Place the lentils aside to cool.

Gently heat the olive oil in a pan and sauté the onions and garlic. Add the ¼ tspn of rock salt as the onions and garlic cook. Then add and gently cook the chopped mushrooms covered until soft then add the finely diced parsnip. Cook for around another 5 minutes on a low heat or until the parsnips are soft then remove the pan from the heat. Add 2/3 of the lentils, oats, flax seed, tomato paste, tamari, herbs and spices and mix well. You can add the remaining Winter Masala also. Use a blender or food processor to combine the mixture, just enough for the mix to stick together but with the vegetables still partly intact. Mix in the reserved lentils.

Line the loaf tin with parchment paper and press the mixture firmly into the tin.

Cover with foil and place in the oven for 25 minutes. Then please remove the foil cover and cook for a further 8 minutes. You can also keep the uncooked loaf overnight in the fridge, covered with the foil and cook the next day. Serve hot with a vegan gravy of your choice or with the colourful and simple Beetroot and Coconut Chutney that I will share with you next time.


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