This gluten-free, vegan nut and seed loaf recipe is high in protein and fiber, it uses no leavening, and it bakes up into a dense and bold statement of a bread. It’s simple to make and is chocked full of good-for-you whole grains, nuts and seeds. That’s right, this bread isn’t a traditional light and fluffy bread — it doesn’t even have flour in it — I guess you could say, it’s a muesli bread of sorts. And an absolutely delicious one at that!
It doesn’t need to rise and it takes some patience to allow it to sit and rest… all the while preparing itself to be baked into it’s glorious nutty, dense and satisfying self. Does that mean it’s a lot of work to prepare? No. Most definitely not. When I say rest, I just mean that it needs to sit out at room temperature for a couple of hours, and if that sounds to complicated, then guess what?… the dough for this nut and seed loaf is flexible enough to wait even longer so you get some rest yourself and bake it in the morning. Let’s face it, sometimes the best things are worth the wait.
I have to admit, this recipe uses something that was completely new to me — sweet apricot kernels. So, because I had to, first of all look around for apricot kernels and second, figure out why I needed them, I thought I’d share a little about what I learned. :)
What are sweet apricot kernels?
Apricot kernels are (obviously) the seeds found inside the stone of every apricot – what’s not so obvious though, is that they are actually the inner seed of the apricot pit. When fresh they are white in color and once dried have a light brown skin around the outside. As you can see in the picture above, they can easily be confused with an almond, as they look VERY similar. They are however, minimally smaller than the common almond and a little flatter in appearance.
As with almonds, there are sweet and bitter apricot kernels. The bitter ones are harvested from small, wild sour apricots and claim to be effective as an alternative cancer treatment, but there is some controversy around this since they contain up to 8% amygdalin, a plant compound that produces cyanide. So consumed in high doses, they could be toxic. Sweet apricot kernels on the other hand tend to come from a larger, paler fruit and are perfectly healthy to consume. Apparently, they can contain amygdalin as well, but in such trace amounts, it is hardly worth measuring or mentioning.
Apricot kernels have a nutty, fruity flavor and are sometimes used as a substitute for almonds. They are often used in the manufacturing of confectionaries, mainly for “persipan” which is used to give sweets a marzipan-like flavor, without the expensive of using almonds, hence you may hear them being called “poor man’s almonds”. Interesting enough, the Italian liqueur amaretto and the amaretti biscuit are also made from a base of apricot kernels or almonds or sometimes both.
Apricot kernels can be found sold in health food stores in their original form (or as supplements). They are packed with B-vitamins, protein and fiber and are great plant source for essential omega-3 fats.
Since this tasty nut and seed loaf is so filling, it’s fantastic as it is. Or try it for toast or as an open-faced sandwich topped with my favorite… mashed avocado with freshly squeezed lime and coarse sea salt or as in my favorite Schwabe’s case, a drizzle of honey, or little chocolate spread (a.k.a. Nutella — thank goodness for healthy bread!).
Ps) You can also freeze this loaf in individually wrapped slices for easy snacking later. Enjoy!
Nut & Seed Loaf (GF + Vegan)
Yields 1 loaf
Special thanks to Tibor Wolf for sharing his recipe!
3 cups fine cut oats (gluten-free) (300 g)
2 cups sunflower seeds (300 g)
3/4 cup flax seeds (120 g)
1/2 cup ground flax seeds (I used golden) (60 g)
1/2 cup almonds (50 g)
1/2 cup walnuts (50 g)
1/2 cup cashews (50 g)
1/3 cup apricot kernel (found in health food stores) (50 g)
1/2 cup psyllium seed husks (40 g)
2 tablespoons chia seeds (20 g)
1 teaspoon sea salt (5 g)
8 tablespoons organic virgin coconut oil, melted
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
700 ml water
NOTE: if you aren’t able to find apricot kernels then they can either be left out or you can increase the amount of almonds used.
1. Finely chop half of the almonds, walnuts, cashews and the apricot kernels.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the nuts and seeds with all other dry ingredients.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together the coconut oil, maple syrup and water. Pour the “wet” mixture into the large mixing bowl with the dry ingredients. Stir until very well combined — the psyllium husk, chia, and flax seeds will rapidly absorb the water and create a dough texture (for less elbow power and quicker results a mixer can also be used to thoroughly mix the dough).
4. Grease a loaf pan with coconut oil. Alternatively, line the loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving extra around the edges to help lift the seed loaf out of the pan later on.
5. Transfer the mixture to the prepared loaf pan and smooth it out with a spatula. Let the dough stand for a minimum of 2 hours (Tip: the bread dough can also stand all day or overnight, prior to baking).
6. Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C.
7. Place the loaf pan in the preheated oven (on the middle rack), bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove the bread loaf pan and either lift the parchment paper from the sides to easily lift the loaf out of the bread pan or you can flip upside down taking the bread loaf out of the pan. Be gentle, this bread is still fragile and hot.
Place the bread loaf (without the loaf pan) directly onto the baking rack in the center of the oven, and bake for an additional 40-50 minutes, until golden brown and firm.
8. Let cool completely (at room temperature) before slicing. Enjoy!