I’ve never been a big fan of meatloaf. Even before choosing to become vegan I never liked the idea of meat that came in the form of a loaf. It just seemed like a weird concept to me. Meat, in general, never seemed that appealing to me, which is why it was so easy for me to make the transition to being vegan. However, when thinking of different things that could act as the main in a holiday meal, I wanted to come up with something that would have a meat-like feel so even carnivores could be satisfied. Ok, for some I know that nothing will replace the huge turkey that gets placed at the center of most Thanksgiving meals, but this is a start. This vegan dinner loaf turned out with the taste and texture of a standard meat loaf! Unfortunately, I apologize for the unappealing photos. I have altered my directions for you all. I did not cook my loaf long enough and it didn’t quite set up the way I wanted it to. However, the taste was excellent! So disregard the unsightly pictures and try this out. Share it with your non-vegan friends and family and they won’t even miss the meat in the meal!
Holiday Vegan Dinner Loaf (inspired by Vegan Lunchbox)
1/2 cup walnuts
2 TB olive oil
One large garlic clove, minced
One large carrot, peeled and grated
Two celery ribs, diced
One cup mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
2 cups cooked lentils
1 cup dry whole wheat bread crumbs
1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable broth, as needed
1/2 cup cooked oatmeal
1/2 tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. dried basil
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
2 TB nutritional yeast flakes
Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray loaf pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
2. Coarsely grind walnuts in a food processor and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
3. Sautee garlic, carrots, celery and mushrooms until fully cooked.
4. Combine all ingredients in the bowl with the ground walnuts and mix well. You may need to add more liquid as needed to get a moist texture.
5. Transfer to the loaf pan and cook for about 1 hour and 15 mins or until cooked all the way through. When you insert a knife it should come out dry. Let sit for 10 mins before serving.
I was seriously shocked by how good this was. I’ll be honest, I was a little skeptical about making a meat-like loaf, but all the ingredients together worked really well. It had great flavor! Chris said, “wow, I actually like this”. I’ll take that as a compliment. Poor guy gets to experience all the good, and the bad, of my vegan cooking. (Only he gets the flops, I try to spare you that agony.)
I paired the loaf with a vegan gravy recipe I am working on (recipe to come soon once I perfect it a little more) and potatoes. Yes, even vegans can have their meat and potatoes 🙂
*Note: Vegan Lunchbox has a feature to create your own loaf by picking different ingredients and it then gives you the recipe. Pretty cool and the mix-in options seem endless. I think I picked a pretty good variety of ingredients too because it turned out great! Let me know if you try a different variety and how it turns out!