Like Momma's, only better!
After being sick for a week, I needed comfort food. My digestive system seemed to be working again, but the thought of spicy or acidic food—the mainstays of my diet—didn't appeal.
The situation called for potatoes, mashed. Comfortable, easy cooking, and with the delicious Red Mozart potatoes from Waitrose, a simple mash was taken to new levels.
But what to serve with my bowl of perfect mashed potatoes? Meat loaf. Not, of course meat loaf, but something resembling the comfort food of home, with plenty of ketchup on top.
Fortunately I had a couple of hours until dinner, because this loaf doesn't come together in minutes, the way many of my recipes do. No five-ingredient recipe, this: Brown rice, mushrooms, lentils, pecans, oatmeal—even a carrot made its way into my loaf, plus healthy flax seeds. And I smeared the top with plain old Heinz ketchup. The result? Better than mom used to make. Lots better. And lots healthier too—needless to say, the old style meat loaf doesn't contain fiber, or any anti-oxidents, but it does contain lots of fat and cholesterol.
So try (Not) Meat Loaf instead of meat loaf the next time you're longing for comfort food. As a bonus, it's even better the next day!
Vegan (Not) Meat Loaf
1 1/2 cup brown rice, cooked (from 3/4 cup)
2 cups cooked lentils, brown or green (canned is convenient)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups mushrooms (about 8-10), chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic (I used fresh, just because I had it)
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup Japanese-style tofu (Mori-Nu) (about 1/2 inch cut off from the block)
1/2 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari)
2 tablespoons flax seed, ground
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 carrot, grated
1/2 cup oats
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup ketchup
First, cook your rice and lentils, if not canned, according to package directions. Drain lentils if using canned; if cooking them, drain them when they're cooked.
While that's going on, prepare the rest: Heat olive oil in a skillet. Add the mushrooms and cook over medium-high heat until the mushrooms are golden brown. Add the onions about 5 minutes into cooking the mushrooms and lower the heat. Just before the mushrooms/onions are soft, add the garlic. Remove from heat about a minute after adding the garlic.
In a food processor, combine the lentils, rice, pecans, tofu, tomato paste, flax seed, garlic and onion powder, and the mushroom mixture. Pulse to combine. (Note: I add the pecans first, to thoroughly chop them, then add the other ingredients.)
Remove the mixture to a bowl and stir in the carrot and oats. Add thyme, and salt and pepper to taste.
Prepare a loaf pan with parchment paper, or cooking spray. Spoon the mixture into the pan—smooth it down evenly into the corners, and it will all fit, though it seems like a lot at first.
Spread ketchup over the top. Place in a 350F/180C oven for 1 hour 15 minutes.
Let the loaf cool for 5-10 minutes, then remove it from the pan very carefully, so as not to disrupt the ketchup on top. Otherwise, serve directly from the pan.
Serve with mashed potatoes, and if you have it, vegan gravy.
Leftovers can be reheated in 20 minutes, and are even better the next day as the texture really firms up.
Note: Japanese-style tofu is the kind that is sold in aseptic packages, un-refrigerated. It lasts unopened for many months. Find something else to do with the rest of the package.