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It's the week of Thanksgiving! I'm looking forward to the festivities with my and my husband's families, which will tend toward the traditional Thanksgiving meal. But I know for vegetarians, these family meals can sometimes be awkward—with the turkey, sausage stuffing, potatoes with meaty gravy and Brussels sprouts cooked with ham, vegetarians can leave the Thanksgiving table feeling hungry. If you're vegetarian, bring your own delicious options to the Thanksgiving table. Maybe you'll start some new traditions.
I've never had Tofurkey, but it's the go-to Thanksgiving joke for non-vegetarians. Although it may be delicious, if you're looking to show off how satisfying veggie options can be, you might want to go a different route. I went to a dinner party a few years ago hosted by a friend of mine who leans in the "hippie" direction. On the menu? Vegan meatloaf. I will admit, I was not excited. I don't like regular meatloaf. Why in the world would I want a vegetarian knockoff? But when I tasted it, I was amazed. This was not a mushy meat wannabe! Made with whole grains and legumes, this vegetarian meatloaf was rich and hearty and tasted like late autumn. Unlike most meatloafs (in my opinion), it had texture and bite and a boatload of flavor. Below, find a few recipes--one that features lentils, one chickpeas and one with vegetarian crumbles.
Whether you'll be enjoying the traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner or something more unique, I hope you have a wonderful upcoming holiday!
Heaven's Banquet Classic Lentil Loaf
This nutritious, delicious entree from SavvyVegetarian.com features lentils and superhealthy bulgur wheat.
Ingredients: 1 cup brown lentils
1/2 cup bulgar
3 cups unsalted vegetable stock OR 3 c. water + 2 vegan vegetable bouillon cubes
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 - 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 small carrot, peeled and grated
1 stalk celery, diced
1/2 cup minced red bell pepper
1 tsp gr coriander
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground rosemary
1/2 tsp thyme
2 Tbsp unsalted tomato paste
1 Tbsp tamari soy sauce or Braggs liquid aminos
1 cup fresh bread crumbs: tear 4 slices stale bread into chunks, and whiz in a blender to make crumbs
Directions: 1.Cover the lentils in boiling water and let soak for one hour
3.Bring lentils and bulgar to a boil in the vegetable stock, reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed or cooked away
4.Meanwhile, sauté the garlic and all the vegetables in the olive oil
5.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
6.Add the lentils and bulgar, breadcrumbs, tomato paste, and tamari or Braggs to the sautéed vegetables
7.Add salt and pepper to taste
8.Cook for 5 - 10 minutes, stirring, until the mixture is quite thick
9.Press mixture into the oiled loaf pan, and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes
10.Serve with Cashew Gravy or Chickpea Gravy
Homestyle Vegan Meatloaf This homestyle vegan meatloaf from VeganMoFo relies on chickpeas for a rich texture and flavor:
Makes 4 mini loaves
Adapted from the Chickpea Cutlets recipe in Veganomicon
1/2 small white onion, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
2 small carrots, finely chopped
1 15-ounce can chickpeas
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup water
Ketchup for glaze
Heat sauté pan to hot, add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Sauté onion until translucent, then add the carrots and celery. Cook for about 2 minutes; set aside and let cool.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Place in a large bowl, and smash with a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients including the cooked vegetables. Mix together and knead for a few minutes until strings of gluten have formed and everything sticks together in a big ball.
Divide the ball into 4 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a small loaf. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and lightly oil. Place the loaves on the tin foil and brush both sides with oil. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn over and glaze the top with ketchup. Bake another 10 minutes until firm. Cut into slices and serve with wasabi mashed potatoes or your favorite sides.
Vegetarian Meatloaf This veggie meatloaf from the blog Living Well, Spending Less uses vegetarian crumbles you can find in your freezer section.
2 packages vegetable protein crumbles (like Quorn, Boca or Morningstar)
2 small or 1 medium onion, chopped
5-6 garlic cloves, crushed in a garlic press or finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon dried sage
1/2 tablespoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup Worcestshire
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup milk
2/3 – 1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Step 1: Pour the vegetarian protein crumbles into a bowl. They can still be frozen, but beat the bag against the counter before opening to get rid of any large chunks.
Step 2: Add chopped onion and crushed garlic
Step 3: Add spices. These can be adjusted to taste or to the whims of your kids if you have “helpers.” This version turned out extra peppery, which in our case was fine because we all love pepper. Blend ingredients. Try not to scatter tiny frozen protein pieces all over the floor (unless you have a dog, in which case, no biggie.)
Step 4: Add milk, eggs & Worcestshire. Blend well, then add bread crumbs and mix together. Use enough bread crumbs to make the mixture hold together.
Step 5: Spray loaf pan with cooking spray; press mixture into pan, patting down firmly. Cover with foil and refrigerate 1-2 hours (or overnight), then bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 90 minutes.
Step 6: To make topping, mix together ketchup with brown sugar, dry mustard, salt, & pepper.
Step 7: After the meatloaf has cooked for 60 minutes, remove foil and spread ketchup mixture over top. Return to oven for remaining 30 minutes.