Holiday Stuffing “Meat”loaf

Though Fat Free Vegan Kitchen calls this a “Thanksgiving Meatless Loaf,” I find that I like to have it for all of the winter holidays! This is a great “meat”loaf that tastes exactly like Thanksgiving stuffing. I’ve never had it with gravy, but she also recommends serving it with a mushroom gravy. Personally, I think mushroom gravy sounds gross (ewewew), so I have never made it. Maybe sometime I’ll get adventurous and try it out. Watch me come back to edit this post next year and be like “OMG mushroom gravy is the best thing ever!”

I would not call this one of my fast recipes, but it’s also not really hard to make. The ingredients list is long, but most of it is spices so it’s not as bad as it looks. The only chopping you have to do is the onion, celery, and carrot, but most of that can be done in a food processor. The rest of it is just measuring and mixing everything together. The hands-on time for this recipe takes…about 25-30 minutes or so? The cook time is the longest part, which varies between 30-ish minutes up to an hour (there are many conflicting cook times between my own experiences, the recipe directions, and comments left by others on the original recipe post). In total, I expect this recipe will take about 1½ hours to complete, which isn’t too bad for a special occasion holiday entrée!

Ingredients

Servings: 1 loaf, about 6-8 slices

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15-oz. can cannellini beans or other white beans, drained and rinsed (or ¾ to 1 cup dry cannellini beans soaked, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 package of extra-firm tofu (14-ozs.), or an additional can of white beans
  • 2 tbs. soy sauce, or similar alternatives (coconut aminos, tamari, or Bragg’s liquid aminos)
  • 2 tbs. tomato paste
  • 1 tbs. spicy brown, or be fancy and use whole-grain prepared mustard (recipe for whole-grain mustard)
  • 1⁄4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • ½ tbs. rubbed sage, or 1⁄4 tsp. ground sage (rubbed sage is best in this recipe)
  • 1 tbs. thyme leaf
  • ½ tbs. dried rosemary, crushed
  • roughly 1½ tsp. sea salt, or to taste
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 tbs. nutritional yeast
  • ¾ cup quinoa flakes or quick oats
  • Optional: ½ cup chopped walnuts (I usually opt to leave these out)

Directions

1. Wash the sweet potato, pierce it several times with a fork, then microwave it for about 4-5 minutes or until fork-tender. Or, bake or steam the sweet potato; microwaving is just faster. Allow it to cool enough so you can handle it, then peel the skin off and set it aside.

2. Mince the onion, celery, and carrot. To do this quickly, cut the vegetables into smaller chunks and pulse them a few times in a food processor until finely chopped. This is all getting mixed and mashed together into the loaf, so it’s important that the vegetables are minced properly so you don’t get big vegetable chunks in the loaf.

3. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add the minced vegetables and garlic. Cook, stirring regularly, about 6-10 minutes or until they become tender. Add water by the teaspoon as necessary to keep the veggies from sticking and becoming dry. Once the veggies are softened, add the drained beans and mash them lightly (try using a mixing spoon, spatula, or fork).

4. First, preheat oven to 375ºF so it has some time to come to temperature before step 5. Place the peeled sweet potato into the food processor along with the tofu, soy sauce, tomato paste, and all the seasonings (spicy brown mustard through nutritional yeast). Process until fairly smooth. If you’re using walnuts, add them at this time and pulse the mixture a few more times. Scrape the tofu mix into a large mixing bowl. Add the quinoa flakes (or quick oatmeal) and the cooked vegetables. Stir well.

5. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat (recommended!) or with parchment paper. Spoon the tofu mixture onto the pan. Using your hands, shape the tofu mix into an oblong or oval loaf about 2½-inches high (tip: dampen your hands with water to keep the mix from sticking). Bake the loaf for 25 minutes or until the top is evenly browned.

6. After the first 25 minutes, loosely cover the top of the loaf with aluminum foil. Cook for 20 more minutes, then check to make sure the center is firm. If it is not firm, give it 3-5 more minutes before checking again. For a crunchier crust, remove the foil and cook for 5 extra minutes. Remove the loaf from the oven and allow it to cool and firm up for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Note: I find that I have to cook my loaf for much longer than 20 minutes—closer to 40-50 minutes. Just keep an eye on your loaf to see how it’s browning up and whether or not the center of it seems firm to the touch. In the image below I took a picture of the coloration to give you some idea of how brown it gets when it’s done.

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