From Cooking Light
Happy meatless March! For the second year in a row I am giving up meat for Lent. Wait wait, don’t leave! I can 100% promise that no meat in the HMK doesn’t mean a state of tofu-induced depression. First of all, I should mention that I’m still eating fish, eggs, meat broths, and animal fats (we keep a tub of our bacon drippings in the the fridge for later use, don’t judge). One of the main reasons I like this seemingly extreme Lenten sacrifice is because it forces us to eat more fish, which we know we like but never seem to chose when presented with recipes like short ribs, beef tenderloin, and bacon infused everything. But the fish convo is best saved for later this week when I’m planning to post an amazing bass recipe. Today, on the other hand, is reserved for veggie loaf.
I know what you’re thinking. I know it because it’s what I was thinking when I saw this recipe in the most recent issue of Cooking Light. “Gross.” A loaf comprised of mushrooms ground up to look like meat. No thanks. But curiosity got the best of me and I looked it up online. Lo and behold, it’s been getting rave reviews on the CL website. People love this totally bizarre, veggie lovers supreme hunk of ground up stuff. Before I knew it I was making a produce shopping list. Yes, it’s true, veggie loaf became a reality in the HMK.
First and foremost, look at the picture! It stays together like a meat loaf! I was even able to remove that slice from the pan and stand it up for the pic, which is similar to how CL staged it, but I assumed the magazine had some professional tricks ala saran wrap or glue up it’s sleeves. Nope. It passed the appearance test. But what about taste? Well it’s definitely NOT meatloaf. It’s made of mushrooms. Duh. But it’s not as mushroom-y as I expected. All the other veggies really hold their own, and the walnuts add a great crunch. The topping is superb, and might be my new go-to topping for regular meatloaf as well. Verdict: although decidedly meat free, it passed the taste test as well. But wait, we’ve left the most important trial for last: the meatloaf sandwich. If I’m making a whole loaf pan of anything, it better be reappearing via sandwich later in the week. Sure enough, 2 slices of toasted ciabatta, some pepper jack cheese, extra ketchup and mustard, and a cold hunk of the infamous loaf = sandwich deliciousness! Great success, against all odds.
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped
- 2 lb cremini mushrooms
- 2 Tbsp olive oil, dived
- 1 cup asparagus, cut into 1/2 inch segments
- 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
- 2 Tbsp fresh basil
- 5 Tbsp ketchup, divided
- 1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard, divided
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (we used the green can)
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 Tbsp vodka
- Preheat oven to broil.
- Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise. Discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin side up, on a foil lined baking sheet.
- Broil 12-15 minutes, or until blackened.
- Remove from oven and immediately place in a paper bag and close the bag tightly. Let sit for 10 minutes, then remove as much of the skins as you can. No need to get them perfectly clean, just get all the black blistery stuff off.
- Chop peppers and place in a large bowl.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
- Arrange breadcrumbs and walnuts in an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 7 minutes, or until golden. Add to bowl with peppers.
- Use a food processor to finely chop mushrooms. You will need to do this in batches. As you finish each batch, set them aside in a separate bowl.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil and the mushrooms. Saute 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid evaporates. Add mushrooms to bowl with peppers and breadcrumbs.
- Wipe pan with paper towel, and add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Saute asparagus and onion until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Add asparagus and onion to bowl with mushroom mixture.
- Add basil, 1 tablespoon ketchup, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese and eggs to mushroom mixture. Stir well.
- Spoon mixture into a loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray. Press the mixture down to pack it into the pan.
- Bake at 350 for 1 hour.
- While loaf is baking, combine 4 tablespoons ketchup, 1/2 teaspoon Dijon, and vodka in a small bowl.
- When loaf has 10 minutes left, remove from oven, top with ketchup mixture, and bake for remaining 10 minutes.