Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Meatless Meatloaf

This week I have been really craving meatloaf. I've searched the internet high and low for a delicious vegetarian meatloaf and found next to nothing. The recipes either used veggie crumbles (which I'm trying to stay away from) or were made with obscure ingredients in massive amounts. I don't know about you, but pulsing walnuts for two hours isn't really on my list of things to do. I even bought a veggie loaf which was made by Amy's. Easy? Yes. Delicious? Well...not horrible. I crafted a meatloaf from beans and veggies and one completely made from veggie crumbles (modeled after my mothers meat version). While both were edible neither really satisfied my meatloaf craving. And none of them could accurately be called delicious. So I decided to get creative. I did have a pack of smart ground on hand but I decided to cut it with some mushrooms to add moisture and flavor -- and also to get away from the idea that meat substitutes are the only way to...well...substitute meat! This is a combination of a few recipes I tried plus some new ideas I threw together. It came out AMAZING! It's like meatloaf the way it's meant to be! And completely meat free!! If I had time I probably would have thrown some carrots and celery in...but I was feeling kind of lazy and wanted an easy meal. You could tweak this a hundred ways though. And aside from eggs it's completely vegan (check the package of the mixes to be sure yours are!) Eat and enjoy!

You'll need:

8oz. Baby Bella mushrooms
1 package Smart Ground original veggie crumbles (or 12oz. of your favorite UNFLAVORED brand)
1 small onion
1 Tablespoon Garlic powder (more to taste)
1/2 package Onion and Beefy soup mix (get the kind with NO animal products!)
2 eggs
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup Texas Toast salt and pepper croutons pulsed into crumbs with a food processor(or sub more panko)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast Flakes
1 Tablespoon Celery Flakes (or 2 stalks celery)
salt and pepper to taste

1 packet mushroom gravy mix (for the top)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cook the onions and mushrooms (and celery if you chose to use it) in 2 Tablespoons olive oil on medium heat for about 5 minutes. The mushrooms should be brown and soft and the onions should be cooked through.

Pulse the mushroom mix in a food processor until it has the same texture as the Smart Ground.

Mix the mushroom mix, Smart Ground, garlic powder, onion soup mix, celery flakes and nutritional yeast flakes in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. (Remember to over season a touch since you'll be adding eggs and bread crumbs! I added about a teaspoon of salt and about 2 teaspoons pepper). Beat two eggs and add to the mixture. Add 1/2 cup of salt and pepper croutons and the 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs. Mix well. Add more bread crumbs as needed until the mixture sticks. Press into a greased loaf pan and bake for 20-30 minutes. If you opted for the mushroom gravy topping (which adds moisture AND flavor!) make this last and pour it over the loaf as it comes out of the oven. Let sit for 5 minutes and then serve.

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