Recipe by Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM

Baked Grain Loaf with Umami Gravy

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This hearty loaf calls for small amounts of different cooked whole grains. I like to mix up the variety from time to time to use up leftovers or take advantage of what I have in my pantry. If I’m in a hurry and don’t have leftovers or a lot of time to cook, I just substitute my cooked Basic BROL (recipe in the cookbook) for the grains and lentils, since that’s a staple I nearly always have on hand. Because the oven will be used for this dish, consider roasting some veggies to serve on the side.



  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion

  • 1 clove garlic, smashed

  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces

  • 2 cups cooked barley groats or oat groats

  • 1 cup cooked red quinoa

  • 1 and 1/2 cups cooked brown lentils

  • 2 tablespoons Haddar Tahini

  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley or 3 cubes Gefen Frozen Parsley

  • 1 tablespoon white miso paste

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Umami Gravy

  • 1 cup light vegetable broth

  • 2 shallots, finely minced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or 2 cubes Gefen Frozen Garlic

  • 1 cup chopped cremini mushrooms

  • 2 tablespoons Umami Sauce Redux (recipe follows)

  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

  • 1 tablespoon white miso paste

  • 1 tablespoon salt-free tomato paste

  • 1 teaspoon Tuscanini Balsamic Vinegar

Umami Sauce Redux

  • 1 cup light vegetable broth

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic or 1 cube Gefen Frozen Garlic

  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger

  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses

  • 1 teaspoon salt-free tomato paste

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons miso paste blended into 2 tablespoons water

  • 1 tablespoon Tuscanini Apple Cider Vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


For the Loaf


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an eight- by four-inch loaf pan with a piece of Gefen Parchment Paper the same length of the loaf pan and long enough to come up over the sides by a few inches.


Combine the onion, garlic, and walnuts in a food processor and pulse until finely minced. Add all the remaining loaf ingredients and process until well combined. If the mixture is too wet to hold together, add more nutritional yeast or ground walnuts and combine well.


Transfer the loaf mixture into the prepared pan. Press the mixture firmly into the pan and smooth out the top. Bake until firm and golden brown, 50 to 60 minutes. Check its progress at around 40 minutes and if the top is getting too brown, cover with foil for the remaining baking time.

For the Umami Gravy


While the loaf is baking, make the gravy. In a saucepan, combine the vegetable broth, shallots, garlic, and mushrooms and bring to a boil.


Lower the heat to a simmer, stir in the remaining gravy ingredients, cover, and simmer for five minutes.


Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.


Return the gravy to the saucepan and taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Keep warm over low heat, stirring occasionally.

For the Umami Gravy

[Editor’s Note- you will first need to prepare the Umami Sauce Redux – recipe below – to use in the gravy.]

For the Umami Sauce Redux


Heat the light vegetable broth in a small saucepan over medium heat.


Add the garlic and ginger and simmer for three minutes. Stir in the molasses, tomato paste, and black pepper and bring just to a boil.


Lower the heat to low and simmer for one minute. Remove from the heat, and then stir in the miso mixture, apple cider vinegar, and lemon juice. Blend well. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Allow the sauce to cool before transferring to a jar or bottle with a tight-fitting lid. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week. Alternatively, pour the cooled sauce into an ice cube tray and freeze into individual portions.

For the Umami Sauce Redux

Umami is one of the five basic tastes, though many people are only learning about it now. The word was created by a Japanese chemist named Kikunae Ikeda from umai, which means “delicious,” and mi, which means “taste.” This new and improved umami sauce is perfect in sautés or stir-fries to boost flavor without adding the sodium of salt or soy sauce. Makes 1 and 1/4 cups


Excerpted from The How Not to Diet Cookbook: 100+ Recipes for Healthy, Permanent Weight Loss by Michael Greger. Copyright © 2020 by Michael Greger. Reprinted with permission from Flatiron Books. All rights reserved. Photography by Antonis Achilleos.

Baked Grain Loaf with Umami Gravy

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Stacey Silverman
Stacey Silverman
3 years ago

Knowing ahead of time that there is too much reduction for the recipe, do you have a suggestion for how/what else to use it? Maybe over rice? Over a tuna loaf? Gefilte fish? Hmm…

Reply to  Stacey Silverman
3 years ago

You can use it over chicken, meat, rice, quinoa. I really think it would be delicious on a lot of different proteins, grains and veggies!