Comfort Food for a Time of Crisis
Meltdown Vegan Meatloaf, Basic Vegan Mashed Potatoes, and Organic Steamed Sweet Peas
It is no surprise that all of us are feeling the shift in the economy. And our food budget is suffering. So I’m trying to cut back on buying packaged vegan mock meats. With my economy-minded thoughts, I decided to try to duplicate that old American favorite: MEATLOAF! I remember my mom’s meat version clearly. So using grains and lentils, I created my “Meltdown Meatloaf” in an attempt to cut our food budget and create some “comfort food”. The result is excellent and it is great for sandwiches after it has been refrigerated.
This recipe makes two large loaves: one to serve and one to refrigerate for sandwiches or cut,wrap and freeze for quick meals.
Preheat oven: 375 degrees F.
1 cup dried organic lentils, brown
6 cups Imagine Vegetable Broth
1 cup organic brown rice, uncooked
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup tamari
2 small yellow onions, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
1 large russet potato, grated
3 large organic carrots, peeled & grated
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 tablespoon dried chives
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon savory
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 box Mori-Nu Extra Firm Tofu
1/2 cup soy milk creamer
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 cup pan toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup pan roasted walnuts
2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Organic Roll Oats
2 cups bread crumbs, Alvarado Street Bakery Barley Bread
1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
non-stick oil spray
3/4 cup organic ketsup, topping
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
extra large mixing bowl
measuring cups & spoons
small bowls for pre-measured items
2 loaf pans or 4 smaller loaf pans
2 cup Pyrex glass measuring cup
insulated cookie sheet
The Lentils & Rice
Combine the lentils, rice, tamari and 5 cups of vegetable broth in a rice cooker and cook till rice is tender and the lentils soft, but still hold their shape.
Seasonings & Vegetables
While the lentils and rice are cooking, peel and grate the carrots and potato.
Mince the garlic cloves, and dice the celery and onion.
Pre-measure into a bowl the garlic powder, onion powder, celery seed, chives, basil, thyme, oregano, parsley, sage, savory, paprika and white pepper.
In order for the “meatloaf” to hold its shape, you will need a binder. In this recipe I’m going to use one box of Mori-Nu Tofu, extra firm.
Place the entire contents of one Mori-Nu Tofu box into a Bamix beaker and whirl it till it is the smooth consistency of mayonnaise.
Add the soy milk creamer and the yeast flakes and whirl again to combine.
Set this aside.
Preheat the Oven
Preheat the oven at 375 degrees F.
The Meaty Texture: Mushrooms, Nuts, Oats and Bread Crumbs
In a 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup, add 1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms.
Pour the tamari over the mushrooms and add boiling water to cover the top of the dried mushroom up to the 2 cup mark.
Use a small custard cup and float it on top of the mushrooms to keep them submerged in the tamari water while they rehydrate.
After 5 minutes, pour the mushroom water into the lentils and rice.
Give the re-hydrated mushrooms a medium fine chop and set aside.
In a dry fry pan over medium heat, roast the pine nuts and walnuts till lightly roasted and fragrant.
Keep the nuts moving to prevent burning or scorching.
Once roasted evenly, scrape them into a saucer to cool.
Measure the oatmeal and pour in with the nuts.
Measure homemade bread crumbs and add to nuts.
Set the bowl of nuts, oatmeal, and bread crumbs aside.
Cooked Lentils & Rice
Once the lentils and rice have cooked and liquid has been absorbed, add the potato, carrots, celery, onions, garlic and another cup of broth.
Fold the contents evenly to distribute them throughout the rice and lentils.
Sprinkle the seasonings that you have pre-measured onto the top and stir or fold the ingredients together to distribute them evenly.
Close the rice cooker and press the start button again.
Once the rice machine shuts off again, empty the contents into a large bowl.
Add The Meaty Texture
Sprinkle the chopped mushrooms, nuts, oatmeal and bread crumbs into the bowl and fold together until evenly distributed.
Add the Binder
Add the creamy tofu mixture and work completely throughout the cooked mixture.
Now it should be the consistency of "real" meatloaf... gooey, but vegan!
Divide & Press
Use two loaf pans for two LARGE meat loaves or 4 medium pans to create smaller loaves. I used two large pans that were pre-sprayed with a non-stick oil spray.
Divide the mixture evenly then press it firmly into the pan.
The Ketsup Topping
In a small bowl, whisk the unfiltered organic cider vinegar into the ketsup and spread it evenly over the tops of each meatloaf.
Bake the Meltdown Meatloaf
Place the meat loaves on an insulated cookie sheet and leave equal space between them so that they share the middle of the cookie sheet.
Bake the meat loaves on the middle rack of the oven at 375 degrees F for one hour.
Cool for 20 minutes before removing from the loaf pan.
Before removing from the pan, run a knife along the edge to release the loaf from the pan.
Invert the loaf onto a cutting board and then turn it back so that the ketsup side up.
Slice with a serrated knife in a sea-saw motion to keep the loaf from falling apart.
Serve this robust Meltdown Meatloaf with Basic Vegan Mashed Potatoes, sweet peas, and Northwest Mushroom Gravy ladled over the meatloaf and potatoes.
Plastic Wrapped Meltdown Meatloaf Leftovers
Wrap the leftovers in plastic wrap and refrigerate. I cut the leftovers into single portions and wrapped them with plastic wrap and froze them. When you want meatloaf again, just defrost for an hour and pan fry the slices in a medium hot non-stick skillet.
Meltdown Meatloaf Sandwich from Leftovers
The next day I sliced the cold refrigerated leftover loaf into 1/4 inch slices for my Meltdown Meatloaf Sandwiches!
Basic Mashed Potatoes
Meltdown Meatloaf Sandwiches
Basic Northwest Mushroom Gravy