I am not ashamed to say I love my vegan meatloaf.
Following is my secret recipe, based on Lynne’s meatloaf from the Engine 2 cookbook, plus three to-die-for variations.
Yes, it does involve processed soy crumbles, and for that I apologize, but if you want to clean it up, you can easily substitute the crumbles for cooked lentils.
Either way, you’re going to want this loaf and her three sisters in your vegetable life. I like to make it on a Sunday afternoon, as it is a bit labor intensive, and then eat it all week—but don’t be surprised if you open the fridge to find it mysteriously missing.
Basic Vegan Meatloaf
6 cloves garlic
3 stalks celery
1 red bell pepper
Process all veggies until finely chopped and then sauté in 1 tsp olive oil with a dash of salt for 5-7 minutes. When done cooking, strain well.
1 block extra firm tofu, pressed and drained and then mashed finely with a fork or potato masher
2 packages Trader Joe’s meatless ground beef. (You may also use 1 bag Morningstar meat crumbles, but I don’t like them nearly as much. Sub 1 1/2 cup cooked lentils here if desired.)
1/4 heaping cup walnuts, ground
2 tsp poultry seasoning
2 tbl ketchup plus more for topping
1 tbl dijon mustard
3 tbl soy sauce
1 1/4 cups quick cooking oats
salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients well in a large bowl and then press firmly into a sprayed loaf pan. Top with ketchup and cracked pepper, making a nice glaze. Cook, uncovered, at 350 for 1 hour or until edges are brown. Allow to sit at least 15 minutes before serving, or the pieces will not hold together—though it will still taste wonderful. Keeps up to a week in an airtight container.
Asian Vegan Meatloaf variation
Saute’ vegetables in 1 tsp sesame oil instead of olive oil. Add one thumb fresh grated ginger, 1/2 cup fresh chopped scallions or green onions, and 1 tbl hoisin sauce to meatloaf mix. Top with 3 tbl hoisin sauce and sesame seeds instead of pepper. Serve with more chopped scallions on top with a little wasabi mixed into some soy sauce on the side for dipping if desired.
Holiday Cranberry Vegan Meatloaf variation
Substitute 2 large leeks for the onion, and add 2 more stalks of celery. Into mix add 2 tsp dried sage and 1/2 cup dried cranberries. Top with canned cranberry sauce and a sprinkle of chopped walnuts. Serve with more canned or fresh cranberry sauce or relish on the side. (Recipe for cranberry relish follows).
Fresh Cranberry Relish
1 lb fresh cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 orange, zested and juiced
Blend all ingredients together until just chunky and allow to sit in fridge for at least an hour, up to overnight.
Meatloaf in Miso variation
This is an odd direction to take your vegan meatloaf, but don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it. Perfect for a cold winter’s night—use the basic meatloaf recipe or the Asian variation.
4 slices vegan meatloaf
4-8 cups miso broth (You can either buy this boxed or as miso paste which you add to hot water. Both are great.)
4 cups chopped baby bok choy
2 cups chopped and sautéed shitake mushrooms
2 tbl soy sauce
Heat miso broth, add meatloaf broken up into chunks, mushrooms, soy sauce and bok choy. Heat through, stirring gently, until bok choy wilts. Serve with fresh chopped scallions, green onions or cilantro on top.
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