With a texture like mushroom pate and all the savory flavors of Thanksgiving, these mushroom timbales will be the perfect vegan main dish on your holiday table.
My Thanksgiving menu planning will always be an exercise in fantasy because we celebrate the holiday at my in-laws’, but if I were serving Thanksgiving dinner at my house this year, my menu would include Green Bean Casserole, mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy, cornbread dressing, Cranberry Relish, Sweet Potato Casserole, Double-Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake, and these Mushroom, Lentil, and Wild Rice Timbales.
Since I don’t get to cook much for the actual holiday (and only those items that will travel well) I spend the weeks before the big day doing Fantasy Holiday Meals—not the whole meal, mind you (you know how lazy I am), but a dessert here, a side dish there, as part of a regular meal. It keeps me in practice for holiday cooking and, let’s face it, gives me something relevant to post here for anyone looking for holiday meal ideas.
So last night I attempted my fantasy main course. I wanted something savory and elegant, something special enough to be the focal point of a meal but still light enough to allow room for all the other dishes. These timbales, if I say so myself, achieved all of those goals and more.
They’re ridiculously delicious, if not ridiculously easy. The texture is like mushroom pate, with wild rice providing just a touch of chewiness. All the savory flavors that I associate with Thanksgiving are here: the earthiness of mushrooms and lentils, the warm herbal flavors of sage and thyme, a hint of pungency from the rosemary.
The idea for this recipe came from Crescent Dragonwagon’s Passionate Vegetarian, though I changed her recipe so much that she might not want to claim it. First I veganized it (the original contained eggs), and then I completely changed the seasonings. Finally, I tried to simplify it a little, but let’s face it, unless you happen to have cooked lentils and wild rice on-hand (who does?), this recipe will probably take you a couple of hours and leave your kitchen in as bad a shape as it did mine. But let me tell you, it’s worth it!
Mushroom, Lentil, and Wild Rice Timbales
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 2 large slices bread may be gluten-free
- 2 cups mushrooms quartered (about 10 large)
- 1/2 cup silken tofu light, firm or extra-firm (Mori-Nu preferred)
- 3 cloves garlic quartered
- 1 tablespoon sherry
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 cup cooked lentils
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cooked wild rice
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- sliced mushrooms for garnish optional
- Make ahead: 1 cup cooked lentils (from about 1/2 cup dried) and 1 cup wild rice (about 1/2 cup before cooking).
- Preheat oven to 350F. Spray 6 ramekins with canola oil or cooking spray and have ready a large baking pan that will hold them (9×13-inch should work). Place one nice-looking mushroom slice in the bottom of each ramekin, if desired.
- Saute the onion in a non-stick pan until it begins to brown. Set aside.
- Place the bread in a food processor and pulse until it turns to crumbs. Add the mushrooms, tofu, garlic, sherry, and water and blend until fairly smooth. Add the lentils and process again until smooth. Add the tomato paste, herbs, cornstarch, and salt and process until well-blended. Add the onions to the processor and pulse to include them but do not over-process (you want them to retain some texture.)
- Scrape the contents of the food processor into a bowl and add the cooked wild rice. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
- Divide the mixture among the oiled ramekins and smooth the tops with a spoon. Set the ramekins in the large baking dish and add hot water to the dish, taking care not to splash it into the ramekins.
- Bake, uncovered, until tops are brown and crusty and middles seem moderately firm when pressed with a finger–about 45-50 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edges and invert the ramekins onto serving plates. Serve with your favorite mushroom gravy (or see mine below).
Nutritional info is approximate.
This is my standard mushroom gravy. If you’re not a mushroom lover or need a gluten-free gravy, be sure to try my 911 Vegan Gravy.
Impromptu Vegan Mushroom Gravy
- 1/2 onion minced
- 10 mushrooms sliced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon sherry optional
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons unbleached flour (substitute with arrowroot for gluten-free)
- 1/4 cup plain soymilk
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- In a medium-sized non-stick saucepan, saute the onion until light brown, about 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and 1 tablespoon of water, and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring, for another minute.
- Add the vegetable broth, herbs, nutritional yeast, sherry, and soy sauce. In a bowl, whisk or blend (with a hand blender) the soymilk and flour together until smooth. Add it to the saucepan and stir well. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Nutritional info is approximate.
You can find all of my Thanksgiving recipes right here. Enjoy!
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TamraNovember 23, 2012 at 10:24 am
The gravy was fantastic!!! Another hit on my vegan menu!!
kristleDecember 22, 2012 at 8:13 am
i’d like to make this gravy for my christmas meal to go with your meatless loaf. you just leave the mushroom pieces chunky in the gravy? i suppose i could blend it if i want a smooth gravy? i made a chickpea gravy for thanksgiving.
Susan VoisinDecember 22, 2012 at 8:20 am
I like slices of mushroom in my gravy, but you could blend it or chop them small if you prefer to.
kristleDecember 23, 2012 at 4:08 pm
thank u so much for the reply 🙂 i see how they reduced down after simmering, and it’s very yummy. made the gravy early today, i’m sure my parents are going to love it!
EricaMarch 11, 2013 at 11:18 am
Why does this always get me……. do you cook one cup of rice and use that cooked amount or do you cook rice and then use one cup of the cooked rice……..
Susan VoisinMarch 11, 2013 at 11:35 am
In this case, you measure one cup of wild rice and then cook it. The difference is in the wording. “One cup rice, cooked” means measure a cup and then cook it. “One cup cooked rice” means cook it and then measure out a cup.
pretzelOctober 3, 2013 at 7:09 pm
Could the mushrooms be blended in with the gravy (e.g., with hand blender after cooking) without diminishing the recipe? One of my family members doesn’t like mushroom texture, but I think he would like the flavor of this recipe!
Susan VoisinOctober 3, 2013 at 7:59 pm
I think that would work fine. Hope your family member likes it!
pretzelOctober 4, 2013 at 4:13 pm
Thanks for your response! I see now you already answered a similar question. Can’t wait to try this one!
JessicaNovember 9, 2013 at 6:57 pm
Is there a casserole version of this? Or something like it that I can take to Thanksgiving dinner? It looks sooo yummy, but I want something that people can take as much or as little as they want.
Susan VoisinNovember 9, 2013 at 7:48 pm
I haven’t tried making this as a casserole, but here are two options for you:
Thanksgiving Meatless Loaf
Dreena’s No-Fu Loaf
LaurenNovember 24, 2013 at 8:23 am
Susan– my spouse has an intolerance to lentils. Do you think there’s a way to make these with split peas or a different bean?
Thanks for all your amazing recipes!
Susan VoisinNovember 24, 2013 at 8:38 am
You can make it with any cooked legume. I hope you both enjoy it!
WendyNovember 28, 2013 at 6:12 pm
I made the mushroom, lentil and wild rice timbales today for Thanksgiving, as well as your vegan mushroom gravy. Both of them were so delicious and well worth the effort. I plan on making these every year from now on for Thanksgiving, as well as many times in between as well!
kvrose48November 28, 2013 at 10:36 pm
This was an excellent choice for our Thanksgiving Dinner! I was out of white beans and substituted Adzuki beans. Used quick oats…but would use more next time for a firmer texture. Used Bragg’s Liquid Amino instead of soy sauce which all worked well. I also used Poultry Seasoning instead of sage , which I was out of. My husband rates it “very good”..and that from a non Vegan. I rate it excellent!
kvrose48November 28, 2013 at 10:45 pm
Oops! I don’t know how to delete a review. The one above is for the Thanksgiving Loaf. Not for the Timbales.
I did prepare the grave recipe and it was super awesome! I love gravy, and this one was delicious without all the fat. I used a few more mushrooms.
My non Vegan husband loved the meal. This gravy could almost stand alone as a soup.
patDecember 23, 2013 at 4:54 pm
i wonder if this could be baked in a casserole dish instead of individual ramekins? looks yummy.
Helen in the UKFebruary 3, 2014 at 3:41 pm
Just wanted to say a big thank you Susan for such an amazing recipe. I’m currently following the 5:2 intermittent fasting diet and use your blog for inspiration for both my fasting and non-fasting days. My husband loved this recipe too and it will definitely be a keeper for us. I’m only sorry it’s taken me so long to make it.
ElShiFebruary 24, 2014 at 6:55 pm
This was the best gravy ever! Thank you!
PatBOctober 20, 2014 at 11:57 am
What dairy substitute would you suggest since I can’t use soy?
SkyeDecember 3, 2015 at 9:31 am
I just want to say that my wife and I have been making these vegan timbales for Thanksgiving for the last 5 years, and they are absolutely wonderful. You gravy is amazing too. Thank you!
Susan VoisinDecember 3, 2015 at 9:42 am
I’m so happy you like them! 🙂
Martha OsborneNovember 13, 2016 at 4:17 pm
I think I made these for Thanksgiving a few years ago. I honestly don’t remember it including lentils, but as they say, whatever! My question for you is this: Instead of baking them in ramekins, I have the metal timbale rings (no bottom). Should I still bake them in water, or will the water saturate the timbales? Thank you!!!
Susan VoisinNovember 13, 2016 at 5:32 pm
I think if the bottoms are open, you can’t place them in water. I haven’t worked with those rings before so I’m not sure what to suggest to make sure they don’t dry out.
AyaJuly 30, 2017 at 7:27 pm
Mmm, I’ve been thinking about these lately! I made them a few years back as a Christmas appetizer, set out on the coffee table with crackers and slices of crusty bread. I served it room temperature and plain, no gravy. My meat-pate loving grandmother loved it!
These have been on my mind, so I’m going to make them just because! And this time I will try it hot and with the gravy, next to some green beans I need to cook!
Anne WeisbeckDecember 21, 2019 at 8:34 pm
Would you be able to tell me what size (capacity) ramekins you used you these. I just bought 8oz ones (when filled to the top), and I’m trying to determine how much of the filling to make to fill them all
Susan VoisinDecember 22, 2019 at 8:48 am
I think 6 8-ounce ramekins will work for the recipe as written. You don’t want to fill them all the way to the top if you can avoid it.