My niece Sarah Oliver in Belfast reminded me of this old favorite vegetarian dish when she asked for the recipe this past week. It’s from a by-now nearly ancient vegetarian cookbook that I acquired back in the early ’80s written by Nikki and David Goldbeck, called “American Wholefoods Cuisine.” At the time, I was a vegetarian, though I ate pepperoni on pizza as well as fish, eggs and cheese.

I remember missing hot dogs mostly because I really like relish and ketchup on something in a bun. I also missed a comfort-food meal of meatloaf and mashed potatoes. This nut and rice loaf, beautifully glued together with eggs and cheese, did the trick for me.

The loaf worked so well that I could slice it for a sandwich the next day with mayo and lettuce. I even made it for company suppers and put together some kind of sauce with mushrooms or tomatoes to put on it. Often I prepared a recipe-and-a-half or even doubled the recipe so I would have leftovers to use in a vegetarian shepherd’s pie sort of thing with leftover mashed potatoes on top. Leftovers were good sliced and browned in a frying pan. As usual, I tweaked the recipe. I varied quantities of nuts and seeds in order to use what I had on hand, and sometimes I used bran instead of wheat germ. The original called for nutritional yeast, which I almost never used. I also added herbs and garlic.

The family name for this recipe was simply “loaf,” and even though it filled the meatloaf niche, I never thought of it as fake meatloaf, but rather a perfectly toothsome dish in its own right. Why would you want to make this if you aren’t a vegetarian? Because it tastes good.

Loaf of nuts and rice

Yields 5-6 servings

1½ cups cooked brown rice

½ cup wheat germ or bran

½ cup chopped walnuts

½ cup mixed chopped sunflower, pumpkin or sesame seeds

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic minced

2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese

1 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon basil

Pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a nine-inch loaf pan. Assemble all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well until they are uniformly combined. Pack into the loaf pan and mound the top slightly. Bake for 45-50 minutes until the top is a rich dark brown. Let it sit for a few minutes to set before slicing it to serve.

Looking for…

Pumpkin preserves. Laura Seavey in Glenburn and a friend of hers are looking for a recipe for preserves made with pumpkin that her friend remembers her mom making in the 1940s or ’50s. All they recall about the recipe is that it called for lemon, and the instructions said to cut the pumpkin into squares. If this sounds familiar, would you share?

Send queries or answers to Sandy Oliver, 1061 Main Road, Islesboro 04848. Email: For recipes, tell us where they came from. List ingredients, specify number of servings and do not abbreviate measurements. Include name, address and daytime phone number.

Sandy Oliver, Taste Buds

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working...