Thursday, January 16, 2020

Mushroom Walnut Lentil Meatloaf (Vegan)

Recipe from A Virtual
Husband-Tested in Alice’s Kitchen
Makes about 6-8 slice servings

I’d decided to test some vegan and vegetarian meatloaf recipes and began with this one.  If you have cooked lentils around, then this comes together very quickly. Prepare a loaf or two on the weekend and you’ll have some mighty fine dinners/lunches ready to go.  I was pleased with how “meaty” this one turned out to be.  We really enjoyed this loaf with the gravy, but I have to say that I was delighted with how delicious it was sliced and eaten as a sandwich the next day.  Whether you are vegetarian, vegan or not, this recipe is a keeper.

1 small onion, peeled, chopped (about the size of a golf ball)
2 large cloves, peeled chopped
3 cups mushrooms, measured after chopping
½ cup walnuts pieces or sunflower seeds (to make this nut free)
1 cup cooked red lentils*
1 cup cooked green lentils* (I used French green lentils.)
¼ cup ground flax seeds (flax meal)
1 cup bread crumbs (from stale bread or you can use panko crumbs or gluten-free breadcrumbs)
1 cup oat flour or rice, spelt or whole-wheat flour
1 Tablespoon tamari or coconut aminos or soy sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme
Water (up to ½ cup) You may not need any water at all.

Prepare an 8½” X 4½” X 2¾” loaf pan (or use a loaf pan about that size) by lining it with a piece of parchment paper leaving an overhang for a “handle” to make removing the loaf from the pan easier.  I sprayed the parchment paper with a bit of oil, but that is optional. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 370F. Place the onions, garlic and mushrooms in a food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped.  Put them in a large bowl and then add all the other ingredients, except the water.  Mix with your impeccably clean hands.  It needs to stick together when you squeeze it with your hands.  If it does, then don’t add any water.  If it’s still a little crumby, add water a tablespoon at a time just until it starts coming together.  You don’t want the mixture soggy.  Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf pan.  Pack down really tightly.  Bake for 50-60 minutes.  Keep an eye on it towards the end of the cooking time.  You want it to go a bit crusty and brown on top but not too dark. Remove from the oven and leave it to cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes.  Then remove and slice.  While it is cooling, make the gravy.

2 medium onions, chopped
1 or 2 fresh mushrooms (optional)
1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
2 Tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1 Tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot or all-purpose flour
2 cups mushroom broth**

Sauté the onions (and mushrooms, if using) slowly over a low heat until a deep golden brown.  Transfer to a blender with the rest of the gravy ingredients and blend until very smooth.  Pour into a saucepan (with a lip, if you have one) and stir over medium heat until thickened and piping hot.  If you prefer your gravy a little thinner, just add some boiling water from a kettle and stir well until you have the consistency you like. 

**Be sure to cook the lentils until they are just tender and not mushy or your meatloaf will end up on the mushy side.
**I made mushroom broth by adding boiling water to a few dried mushrooms and 1 teaspoon Better-Than-Bouillon Mushroom Base.  I set it aside for about 5 minutes before using it to make the gravy.

Serving Notes:  Next time I make this, I will made two loaves and freeze for another time. The meatloaf can be made in advance and stored in the fridge a few days before baking.  Leftovers can be reheated as well.  We really liked the meatloaf with the gravy, but my favorite way to have this was to heat the slices and serve it topped with mustard and slaw on a whole-wheat tortilla….oh, mama!!