Vegan (and Gluten-Free) Garden Loaf with Cranberry-Maple Glaze for Thanksgiving

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Not too far back in the past a vegan had very few options for a store-bought holiday main dish outside of a Tofurkey or for recipes beyond a bland grain-stuffed squash. Boy, have times changed! Vegan food companies and vegan foodies have become incredibly creative in inventing "turkey replacements." I've usually gone store-bought in the past, but this year I just can't resist making Karina Allrich's incredibly flavorful Vegetarian Garden Loaf (with a few twists added), not only because it's incredibly delicious, but also because my family includes two vegans, one vegetarian, and a celiac. Karina is a cookbook author and creator of the gluten-free blog, gluten-free goddess, where she has lots and lots of vegetarian and vegan recipes, some inspired by her pre-celiac cookbook, Recipes from a Vegetarian Goddess.

Vegan (and Gluten-Free) Garden Loaf with Cranberry-Maple Glaze
(Based on Karina Allrich's Vegetarian Garden Loaf with Maple Apricot Glaze from gluten-free goddess, altered with permission from Karina Allrich.)

Vegan Garden Loaf with Cranberry-Maple Glaze

Makes: 1 loaf/6 slices
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes


Extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion- red or sweet
2 heaping cups chopped Baby Bella or Cremini mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
5 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves
Sea salt and ground pepper

1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup toasted gluten-free bread or waffle crumbs (I used Vans Wheat/Gluten Free Waffles, which I toasted and then made into crumbs in my food processor.)
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 tablespoon dried Italian herb mix -- basil, thyme, oregano, parsley, marjoram
1 teaspoon fresh minced rosemary
3-4 scallions sliced thin
1 baked orange sweet potato or yam, peeled and diced (take it out before it's cooked too much or too soft)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a glass loaf pan with a piece of parchment paper that extends up above the longer sides. When the loaf has baked, and set a bit, you will be able to lift out the loaf in one whole piece.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet and cook the onion until it is translucent. Add the mushrooms and garlic; stir until softened. Add the balsamic vinegar and stir. Add the spinach. Season with sea salt and ground pepper. Stir and cook down until the mixture is soft -- about seven minutes or so.

Mushrooms and Spinach

Spoon the skillet vegetables into a food processor and pulse to make a grainy mixture. Don't over-process it -- you want some texture.

Place the mixture into a large bowl. Add the cooked quinoa, gluten-free breadcrumbs, ketchup, molasses, and olive oil and stir to combine. Add in your dried herbs, rosemary, scallions, and mix to distribute. You want a moist mixture that sticks together when you press it with a spoon. If you need more ketchup to hold it together, add it now, maybe a tablespoon.

Add in the diced sweet potato and fold in gently. At this point, taste the mixture and see if you need to add salt and pepper.


Spoon the loaf mixture into the oiled loaf pan and shape it with moist fingers, pressing it tight into the pan. Smooth the top.

Make your glaze.


1/4 cup jellied cranberry sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
A sprinkle of cinnamon and cumin
Hot red chili flakes, to taste

(I made two batches of this to have extra as a drizzle for individual slices of the loaf.)

Pour the glaze all over the top of the loaf.


Tent loosely with a piece of foil. Bake in the center of a preheated oven until heated through and the edges of the glaze are bubbling—about 30 minutes.

Allow the loaf to set for ten minutes, tented with foil. This helps it to settle, and makes it easier to slice. Slice into portions (the loaf yields about 6 slices) and lift out with a thin spatula. Enjoy!