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Cashew Rice Loaf + Red Pepper Cheese Sauce

Holla Bloggers! Welcome to this stop on the Virtual Vegan Potluck! For occasions like this, sometimes you’ve got to whip up something special. Enter one of my all time favorite special occasion recipes. There are many amazing versions of vegan loaf recipes out there, but this one is well, special.

This is a recipe I’ve been serving up in my house for years, and whether for Thanksgiving, Easter, or just an anytime awesome vegan meal, it always gets rave reviews. After all, what’s not to love when yummy ground cashews & hearty brown rice are mixed with herbs and spices and baked to perfection? Not a whole lot, I can tell you that for sure!

I must point out that I rarely use cashews this heavily, as they can get pricey, and while a vegan’s dream ingredient for those missing the creaminess of dairy, can still be heavy-ish on the pocketbook and tummy if not used in (relative) moderation.

But with today being a special occasion, what better time could there be to make something (just a little) less ordinary, and perhaps (just a little) more delicious than usual? 

Cashew Rice Loaf + Red Pepper Cheese Sauce:
~ Adapted From the Silver Hills Cookbook

(1/3) cup short grain brown rice
(1) cup water for cooking the rice
(1) tbsp olive oil
(1) small onion, finely chopped
(1) cup finely ground raw cashews
(1) cup breadcrumbs
(1) cup soy or nut milk
(2) tbsp fresh or dried parsley
(1) tbsp soy sauce or Bragg’s
(1/2) tsp salt, or to taste
Olive oil for oiling the loaf pan

Start by combining the rice and cold water together in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, and turn down to simmer with the lid on for 35-40 minutes while you prepare all the other ingredients.

While the rice cooks, chop the onion finely and heat (1) tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the onion for 6-8 minutes until brown and fragrant. Once the onion is cooked, add it to a large mixing bowl that is ready and waiting to go.

In the mixing bowl, combine the cooling cooked onion with the remaining loaf ingredients. Once the rice is cooked, add it to the mixture while still warm, this will help it all to mix beautifully together. Mix everything well, and get in there with your hands to ensure it is all even. After mixing, the mixture should be nice and moist, but not too dry. Feel free to add a few extra breadcrumbs if the mixture feels too wet, but in my experience the ratios here are perfect.

*If you are subbing in gluten-free breadcrumbs, you may want to add a little more.

At this point, once your loaf mixture is all mingling together, you can set the mixture aside for later and bake it when convenient. To bake, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Transfer the cashew mixture to a well oiled standard loaf pan (or two smaller pans) and bake for 40 minutes, until the house is smelling wonderful and the loaf has browned on top.

Red Pepper Cheese Sauce:

(2) medium red bell peppers, seeded & chopped coarsely (you could use yellow or orange too for different colour)
(1) cup cashews or cashew pieces (slightly more affordable)
(1.5) cups water
(1/4) cup olive oil
(1-1.5) tsp salt
(1) tbsp nutritional yeast
(1/4) tsp garlic powder or granulated garlic
(1/4) tsp black or white pepper

Combine all ingredients in your blender, and blend on high for at least a full minute, even longer (up to 2 minutes is good). This recipe is so easy and simple and doesn’t require any pre-soaking of nuts or roasting of peppers!

Once your mixture is well blended, transfer to a medium saucepan and heat very gently on the stove. Cook this mixture over medium-low heat for 15 -20 minutes until heated throughout, and thick and bubbly. Make sure to stir frequently to keep the sauce from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pot. Cooking the cashews gently thickens them while cooking the pepper and spices together. Of course, you could pre-roast the peppers, but I love the beauty and ease of this sauce – it can be whipped up in minutes spur of the moment!

Serve this for a special meal. Or serve it every day. Turn it out onto a serving dish (wait for it to cool a minute) and garnish with fresh herbs and cooked greens. It’s not only fabulous fresh out of the oven and smothered in gravy, but equally delicious thrown in the fridge to be enjoyed later. Crumble leftovers over green salads with tahini dressing, or add it to a vegetable saute with garlic & kale. This dish is easy to make and always a hit for vegans and omnivores alike. Feel free to use different breadcrumbs and play around with the herbs and vegetables too. My favorite part of this recipe is it doesn’t need anything added, it’s perfect just the way it is!

Cashew Rice Loaf | IPOM

128 responses to “Cashew Rice Loaf + Red Pepper Cheese Sauce

    1. Thanks J! It IS kid approved…I just don’t tell them any of what is in it! There was a time when this was all the (then) one year old would eat…weird..but good! Keep me posted! XO 🙂

  1. Oh Shira! This is so incredibly beautiful, and you know I’m going to be making it. I love my little lentil loaf, but I’m pretty sure I’ll love this MUCH much more! So happy to be here at the party with you! xoxo!!!

    1. Thanks Somer!! Just getting in the hang of things this morning and looking forward to perusing all the wonderful food! This is by far my favorite loaf over all others, It’s that good! XO 🙂

    2. Wow, Somer, this was SOME DISH! We made the loaf and the cheese sauce for Thanksgiving, which didn’t happen until Sunday due to the sick kiddo. Made the meal, I might say. We also used the sauce over wilted collard greens (my favorite), and the leftover was used tonight to make a mac-n-cheese bake — a real hit with the kids.

      Thanks, Somer for sending me here. Shira, I’ll be back for more.

  2. Shira, just started following your blog since discovering it through being a part of VVP. This looks absolutely incredible..gotta be my favorite so far!! Red pepper cheese sauce?! What! Amazing. And dipping that bread in it…!

    1. Hi Brandi! Thanks! So happy to be a part of such an awesome event – this dish is pretty special and the sauce goes with anything ! Looking forward to visiting your blog 🙂 See you again!

      1. Shira! I made the red pepper cheese sauce tonight and it was delicious! I just did a couple substitutions… My husband is unfortunately allergic to cashews, so I used blanched almonds instead and it still turned out really good, I also used veggie broth instead of water because I had an opened container in the fridge I had to use up and added a bit of smoked paprika to it. Cashews have a slight smoky flavor to me, so I figured the smoked paprika would help since I didn’t use them. I’m sure the cashews make it more creamy but I will have to make some more with them just for myself. 🙂 Thanks for the wonderful recipe. I’ll be trying your loaf tomorrow..I didn’t have time tonight.

  3. I’ve been skeptical of vegan loaves before…but this looks simple and sounds tasty. I’m going to give it a try for Thanksgiving! Thanks for sharing.

  4. This looks absolutely perfect! I can see why it’s a family favorite. I imagine that, with that sauce, it is to die for! Yet another one of Shira’s dishes I need to try… xo

    1. Thanks Kristy! It’s only a few times a year I bust this out, but when I do we all enjoy it 🙂 The cheese sauce is a new one…dreaming up possibilities! Happy VVP! X

  5. Goodness gracious, girl–there’s absolutely no way I can pass this one up. There’s the occasional recipe that I bookmark right away, but this one is more of the make-right-away order, and I couldn’t be more excited. Thank you for sharing this absolute gem! (Is the excitement still apparent here? Perfect!

  6. This VVP is full of amazing looking dishes that I would love to eat, but probably mostly won’t get round to making myself. I think this is one of the exceptions, I would really like to try making it, it looks stunning and I can imagine how delicious it tastes. Thank you for the recipe! (Your photos are glorious, too.)

    1. Thank you Lorna! It is amazingly easy to assemble, providing you have a good nut grinder handy..I highly recommend this recipe and have enjoyed it many times in the 15 or so years since I discovered it 🙂 Enjoy, and thanks for stopping by!

  7. This looks fabulous! I’m making it tonight. I’m with you on the cashews being special – my local grocer sold cashew pieces for $5.99/lb for the last 6 months. Oh I wish I had stocked up as they are now 12.49 – yikes! But this recipe deserves some of the last of the cheap cashews. Thanks for sharing ;-). We offered a loaf for the potluck as well!

  8. Reblogged this on thenotstarvingnovelist and commented:
    So today is Day One of my Cleanse, and I am looking for recipes that are CLEAN and yet that nurture and comfort me.

    I’m going to make this recipe this weekend . . . I’m also thinking about bringing it to a lunch with my GF Division chair next Friday (we’re going to talk outcomes, which for two assessment geeks is very exciting.)

    I have a few tweaks based on diet/what I have in the house/luxury of time on a winter weekend (like roasting peppers while I grade papers– hot oven/toasty house/feeling of comfort while responding.) I’m a writing teacher, after all . . . what is a recipe with Re Vision?

    And . . . wow, am I excited! I love delicious vegan food that is also semi-indulgent– good for the waistline– the pocketbook– animal happiness/our happiness– local farmers and businesses . . . and what a perfect winter meal as we here in the Pacific Northwest are showered with rain . . . as we move towards fall– this weekend is the day those of us who practice daylight savings eagerly anticipate . . . the day we “Fall Back” an hour. Ok, we may not like the darkness at 4:30 PM . . . but an extra hour to sleep in? So decadent!

    I will head to my local co op for the necessary ingredients I do not have.

    THANK YOU Shakira! What a kickoff to my Cleanse!

    1. Fabulous – enjoy your leisurely weekend of cooking (sounds divine!) and have a wonderful cleanse! I can’t think of a better recipe to get started with, you will not be lacking in the taste department 🙂 PS – I am SO down with being called Shakira…you totally just made my week 😉 🙂 Have a great ‘Fall Back’ weekend!

      1. Oh Dear! I was trying to write fast (and force myself to post SOMETHING!) and I boggled your name! Seriously– my apologies. I do, however, LOVE the rockstar element of Shakira– which is how I think of you– a ROCKSTAR. 🙂

  9. What a terrific & tasty fabulous vegan dinner! I love the combining foods here! Yummmmmmmmmmmm! You also have a very cool blog! A great entry for the VVP! I loved it too! 🙂 Great to eat at Christmas!

  10. Shira, i so agree that ground cashews are the way to go when a vegan diet is wanting creaminess. A great idea the loaf, but then sauce? Oh Yes to that too! Wondering, could you make patties of this for a veggie burger? Sounds good to me! and I love that quote of Mother Theresa’s above! Have a delightful spookless weekend Shira! xx

    1. Thanks Spree! I’d love to see this made into burgers…I’d be inclined to add would be wonderful! But of course no longer vegan 🙂 have a great weekend yourself dear Spree! xxx Hugs to you!

      1. I made this today, and it is amazing! I followed Somer’s lead and made a double batch, and I’m so glad that I did. It’s not heavy at all – the cashews and rice give it this incredible creaminess.

  11. WOW this is amazing, you have me drolling over that red pepper cheeze sauce, I am pretty sure I would drink that by the gallon if left alone with it….saldy I have not made a vegan roast, except a “meat loaf” I am definitely book marking this!

    As for the Holidays, Justin and I create a new menu each year – however there is always some type of stuffing, sweet potato & mashed potato – always, no question about it those items are never missing from our holiday meal 🙂

    1. Fabulous Heather! I hope you do make it, I’d love to hear how it goes!
      Your menu sounds wonderful…I adore sweet potatoes – especially at holidays 🙂 Have a wonderful week!

    1. Thanks Bex! Honestly I am still laughing at my typo on your blog last night 🙂 If you are into the cashews..this one is easily one of the best! Thanks for stopping by! XO

  12. I am neither vegan nor vegetarian, but this sounded wonderful and I’ve had good experience cooking with cashews…I am right this second devouring my first serving. Both the loaf and the sauce are wonderful! AND, my side salad is kale with your tahini goddess dressing and some local sweet cherries. What a perfect lunch. Not missing the meat at all :)!

    1. Liz, this is fabulous! I am thrilled to have the recipe officially ‘vetted’ by someone of your food leanings – of course my husband has been doing it for years (he is not veggie like me and the girls) – so that means a lot to me and those reading who might be curious. Thanks for sharing, and might I add your menu sounds just wonderful too! 😉 X

      1. Yesterday, I added some of the red pepper sauce to roma tomato puree…spiced it a bit and had THE best “cream” of tomato soup! I am also on a kick with more cashew cream use…it whips beautifully in my cream whipper (co2) as well as making wonderful caramel sauce. Thank you for the inspiration to use cashews

        1. Fabulous Liz, that sounds wonderful! Cashews really do add a wonderful creaminess to soups 🙂 I tried the caramel sauce….working on it to post soon ~ thanks for the inspiration! 🙂

  13. I’ll have you know a double batch of this is in the oven at this very moment (I could tell I’d want leftovers for everyone’s lunches tomorrow). It almost didn’t make it into the oven because I couldn’t stop tasting it. Can’t wait to see how good it is baked. Don’t have red peppers at the moment so I’m serving this with a mushroom gravy.

    p.s. the salt in the loaf is on the list but no measurement. I just guessed 😉

    1. Wow – fabulous!! The only thing better than one loaf is two!! Love it…and thanks for the note on the salt – I’ll fix that! I hope it gets devoured…and I am loving the idea of mushroom sauce – brilliant! Enjoy, and keep me posted! 🙂 XX

      1. Girl, we loved it so much, we’ve decided were going to serve it instead of seitan or the millet and lentil loaf I had planned for Thanksgiving. So delicious Shira! I’m really REALLY glad I made the extra loaf!!! Oh and the mushroom sauce was a perfect accompaniment! 🙂 xoxo!

  14. All right, just baked the mini loaves up for thanksgiving (in muffin tins) and I had so many I decided to make you red pepper cheese sauce so we can have this for dinner tonight before the big day tomorrow….. Is there anything you can’t do?!? The cheese sauce is incredible! I might need your permission to adapt it into a grate-able cheese by using pomona’s in the future! It’s better than my pepperjack! Love, LOVE love!!! xx

    1. Awesome, you are too kind, glad you like it!! Use it, that’s what it’s there for, I would love to see what you do with it 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving! XX

  15. I know I am a year behind on this, but have only recently discovered you (and am very happy I did!). I love your recipes and your writing. Although I am a collector of recipes, and love getting creative in the kitchen, I also appreciate thoughtful and beautiful writing. So this site is a double win for me!! I am looking forward to trying this recipe…it looks quite tasty. And I wanted to tell you I have a bowl exactly like the one the roast is in! I love the design, don’t remember where I got it (probably a thrift store), and was pleased to see another like it. Again, thanks for this wonderful blog, and culinary inspiration.

    1. Fantastic Darla — so good to hear from you! Too cute that we have the same dish – mine was a flea market find! So happy you enjoy the writing too, as it is always so lovely to know it is read & enjoyed. Thank you so much for taking the time to share this! I think you will like this one, it’s one of our faves 🙂 Cheers!

  16. Hi Shira,
    I totally support being a vegan, for sure diseases and sickness caused by what was eaten and stored
    in our tummy, when eating junk foods, our whole become junk as well, as you can see there are so many
    people being treated in the hospital for they know not a better way to feed their precious body.
    I have not tried any of the recipes you posted, but by reading them `I know they are delicious and whole
    some the body receives
    I onced was very sick with autoimmune disease, and by the grace of God, I am now restored and recovered without those heavy duty medication, and simply change my life style habits and eat more
    whole some foods, raw and plant based diet
    thank you for sharing your recipes , and i will definitely make those for this coming special season

    1. Hi Julie! Thank you for your thoughtful comment – I am so glad you are doing much better! Many blessings to you in your journey!

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