I became a vegetarian in 7th grade and prior to that was raised on a diet of mostly Vietnamese food, Slim Jims and Happy Meals, so some classic American meat dishes elude me completely. In this category is meatloaf, a comfort food stuffed together by 1950s housewives and haunting American kitchens ever since. (I’m making this part up – I have no idea about the origin of meatloaf.) By removing the ground beef and replacing it with tasty vegetables and soy protein, we can improve upon this classic and make it palpable for both vegetarians and omnivores alike (I’m also making this part up as I don’t know what meatloaf is supposed to taste like. I do know I tried a Bobby Flay recipe once and it was not edible.)
1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
1/2 cup uncooked lentils, rinsed and picked through for any small stones
4-5 cups vegetable broth
1/2 small diced onion
3 cups finely diced vegetables – whatever is in your fridge. Carrots, broccoli, celery, green pepper, squash, it’s all good. Use at least two.
1/2 cup oats
1 T. soy sauce
1 T. Sriracha sauce
1 T. steak sauce, make sure it’s anchovy-free if you’re a vegetarian
3/4 cup Morningstar crumbles, dethawed
1 tsp. black pepper
2 T. ketchup
2 T. dijon mustard
Preheat oven to 350.
Bring rice, lentils and 4 cups of vegetable broth to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, stir, cover and cook undisturbed for 10 minutes. Add the diced vegetables, stir and cover for another 10-15 minutes until lentils and rice are al dente. May need to add more broth along the way, but try to keep lid on as much as possible. After cooking, add 1/2 of the mixture to a food processor and blend.
Meanwhile, add 1/4 cup oats to your food processor and blend until fine, then remove to a mixing bowl. Mix in remaining 1/4 oats, and the rest of the ingredients, including all of the lentils/rice/vegetables. Press into an oiled loaf pan, cover and bake for 30 minutes.
Combine ketchup and dijon. After 30 minutes, remove loaf, spread with half of the ketchup/dijon sauce and bake uncovered for 15 more minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving with more sauce on the side.
Recommended side dish: cucumber salad.