The concept of meatloaf has always baffled me. I never had it when I was growing up, so really the only reference point I have ever had is television and the general consensus has not been very favourable. Basically, the only contact I've ever had with meatloaf has been in the form gray-ish looking slabs on TV dinner commercials and sitcom characters talking about how awful it is. It wasn't exactly something I was super eager to re-create after going vegan.
But, for my birthday last month Paul bought me a copy of Vegan Diner and it features a pretty intriguing take on the retro classic. In an attempt to break the meatloaf stigma by taking away its ick factor - the mystery meat - I decided it would make a great first sample from this book.
The one thing it does have is a lot of soy, and admittedly I'm not too crazy about that. To make it, you use a block of tofu as well as a pack of faux meat in the form of soy crumbles. Not something I typically get into, but once in awhile it's not massively horrible. I've always wanted to try those Boca crumbles everyone carries on about, but I've never seen them around here. Instead, I bought Yves Ground Round, a product I use every now and again in chili and tacos.
Along with the tofu and ground round, the recipe also includes ground walnuts, oats, onion, celery, garlic, and some other flavourful herbs/spices/liquids.
Once mixed together nicely you stuff it into a 9" x 5" loaf pan the best you can. Interestingly, I didn't even know I had a glass loaf pan until this weekend - surely a sign it's time to clean out my kitchen cupboards. Something I don't think I've ever done, even though we've lived in this house for well over six years now. Yikes?
After a layer of ketchup the loaf goes into the oven for about an hour or so...
...and comes out looking like this! It was really delicious and really, really filling. A little bit goes a long way but thankfully it warms up really well the next day as leftovers, too.
To go along with everything I made a batch of Julie Hasson's "crack gravy" (also found in Vegan Diner) and it certainly lived up to its name. We ate it all with some plain old-fashioned mashed potatoes (although in our house we always add two cloves of garlic in the name of flavour and two cups of white beans in the name of nutrition to our mashed potatoes). I also thawed out some almost-too-freezer-burned-to-use mixed vegetables - I just wish I'd had one of those old school TV tables to eat it off of!