Why do I call it a meatless meatloaf? Why not just a veggie loaf, mushroom loaf or quinoa loaf?
I think for two reasons really. One, I am challenged by and have seen many recreations of staple foods from when I was a kid. I can certainly throw down many vegan chicken and vegan Italian recipes! But meatloaf- it was intertwined with my growing up in such a way that it brings back memories that seem to only be delivered from none other then my Mom. Meatloaf is not that common of a food that you will see in the tiny vegan sections of a health food store nor on many vegan restaurant menus. When I saw it on a raw vegan menu in NYC, I went wild and ordered it. It was a nut loaf – love the name, and feel like one sometimes! The only difference here was that it wasn’t warm. To recreate the feeling, this loaf had to be warm. Instead of heating up nuts, which I simply cannot do as I would be destroying the nutritional value, enzymes and fat; instead I just stayed in search of a vegan meatless meatloaf. The universe finally delivered. Well, specifically, my friend Pam (thanks Pam) sent me this recipe from The Gluten Free Goddess (WebMD recipe from Foodily.com).
I couldn’t wait to try this recipe and when I finally did, it exceeded all of my expectations, dreams and desires for meatloaf. The other reason, I use “meatless” meatloaf is that I am grounded right now in the fact that I live in a non-vegan world. Some days I have different perspectives on it. In order to do the recreation, walk the walk and talk the talk- I choose to keep it “meatless” meatloaf- hopefully, someone can relate!
Next topic is ketchup! It’s interesting to me how I can give up so many foods and vices and then watch, with experimentation just how quickly these indulgences can return. Hence, my motto… Reinventing Indulgence.. is endless. I am a food addict, in case I haven’t come right out and mentioned that before. I can sometimes see these vices creep back in. It happened with hot sauce and now it’s happening with ketchup. After a few assaults, I was forced to throw it out! Ketchup was caught red handed! Get lost!
I want to say that the meatless meatloaf (ok now we can switch to veggie loaf) was flawless because honestly it was! It didnt need ketchup but you know… as a kid.. one has to have their ketchup. I never realized that this was even a trigger food for me as say.. gummy bears, pasta or the triangle cheese in the supermarket. But it so is! I remember now as I used to order french fries, then put the ketchup on the side- add salt and pepper to the ketchup and dip the fries in swirling around 10x the portion size on the label. Have you ever had just one tablespoon of ketchup? Ever?
Anyway, I made the veggie loaf, and squirted the ketchup in a small amount, maybe 2 tablespoons on the side. Later, I found that I needed another 4 tablespoons for a total of 6 at least! The veggie loaf was delcious without the ketchup, it was only after I tried it that I wanted more and more- hello HFCS!!! Let’s look at those numbers for fun:
6 tablespoons of ketchup is about 90-120 calories- ok I can handle that! It’s about 960 to 1140 mg of sodium and about 24 grams of sugar- well if it’s derived from HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) then we have to understand that this is metabolized in the body differently than regular sugar. The point is– that’s a lot of unnecessary addictive food.. well condiments. I am going back to my regular non addicting condiments. I don’t need ketchup in my life anymore really!
It’s like quitting smoking – It’s about the associations too! The veggie loaf was fine as it was -no ketchup was needed. They don’t have to go hand in hand! Also, the best way to know if a “meatloaf” is good is if it still tastes good cold- like yummy leftovers! This veggie loaf was incredible cold! The true taste test was complete.
Here is the recipe as I made it:
Mushrooms 2 cups- portabella
Quinoa 1 cup cooked
Sweet potato – I used 1 1/2 cooked
Spinach 5 cups
Onion 1 cup
Garlic 2 cloves
Breadcrumbs 1 cup whole wheat or organic (or both)
Balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoonMolasses 2 tablespoons
Ketchup 2 tablespoons (this is what started the whole ketchup thing as I didn’t have any and had to go buy some for the blog)
Olive oil 1 tablespoon
Dried herbs 1 tablespoon
I had to pre-make the quinoa and sweet potato! Then the rest was easy! I sautéd the olive oil, garlic, onion,scallions, vinegar- and then the mushrooms. When this was almost done- about 10 minutes or so, then I added the spinach until it was soft and blended. I turned this mixture off and then added it to my vitamix. I pulsed it a few times and added to a large mixing bowl. From there, I mixed together the warm mix, the quinoa, sweet potato, herbs, molasses and the ketchup.
I added this mix to a lightly oiled baking dish. The recipe suggests using parchment paper but I didn’t have any. The oven should be pre-heated to 350- cook for about 25-30 minutes. Before it goes in the oven, add the topping too: a glaze of balsamic vinegar (1 tbs), maple syrup (1 tbs), cinnamon and an apricot spread. I used dried apricots and cut them up fine!