Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Veggie Loaf by any other name...

There's a hot debate going around our house these days about what to call our favorite non-meat loaf that shows up in our kitchen from time to time, ranging in ingredients, but always tasty and satisfying. Veggie Loaf? Neat-Loaf? Nut-loaf?

Regardless of its name, this dish is a flexible entree that also makes great leftovers for sandwiches.  Here's our most recent incarnation turned into a sandwich the following day, topped with sauteed cabbage and jarred tomato sauce:


Although I have a general set of guidelines in my head for how to get the proportions right for this kind of loaf, I really love this "Magical Loaf Studio" made by the blogger over at Vegan Lunch Box.  You choose your preferred protein, grain, nut, vegetables, binder, seasonings--based on what you have on hand or your favorites--and out comes a recipe for a veggie loaf! Magical! Give it a try.

The approximate recipe I used this time around looked something like this:


Veggie Loaf
  • 1 box firm silken tofu
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts 
  • 3/4 cooked kidney beans
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed plus 6 tablespoons water (can substitute 2 eggs, if you prefer)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 onion, chopped 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup grated broccoli stem
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 3/4 c chopped mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon each of oregano and basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sage
  • 3/4 cups bread crumbs (made from one slice of toasted bread)
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice 
  • ketchup or barbecue sauce, to taste.
  1. Mix tofu, walnuts, beans, flax seeds, water, and soy sauce together in a food processor.  Blend until smooth.
  2. Saute onions until fragrant, then add other vegetables (any you have on hand will work fine) and herbs, and saute until everything begins to soften.
  3.  In a large bowl, combine blender ingredients, cooked vegetables, bread crumbs, and rice.
  4. Once mixture is well combined, press into a greased loaf pan. Spread ketchup or barbecue sauce on top of the loaf, if you want.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until firm and no longer wet in the middle.  Let cool slightly.  Turn loaf out and slice. Serve with roasted or sauteed vegetables, mashed sweet potatoes, and/or vegetarian gravy.

12 comments:

  1. When I first saw the photo I couldn't help but wonder, "did someone make a brownie sandwhich?"

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  2. A brownie sandwich! Aww...well I guess I'll have to try that next. What would the appropriate condiments be?!

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  3. 1. Lovely picture!

    2. Funny--I was just looking for a new recipe of this sort. Will definitely try this one! (-:

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  4. Hi Anna,

    Thanks for letting me know about the new blog! It really looks great! I also enjoy the ways you channel your inner Russian-Jewish identity. It reminds me of something about my own family...I can't really place my finger on this feeling exactly, but it is really comforting.

    Cheers,
    Gregory

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  5. Thanks for the tip -- I'm going to check this out in the near future, as I have been wanting some kind of a protein rich loaf.

    What are your thoughts on using sauteed cabbage as a sandwich topper? I'm really big on cabbage of all kinds (so cheap! 33 cents/pound on a good day!) and so I have tried to substitute it for lettuce in a sandwich, but I don't like the texture much. It seems too limp and moist to go on a sandwich, but maybe I'm just not sauteing it right.

    I would dress a brownie sandwich with shredded coconut (lettuce), caramel sauce (mustard), and slices of apricot (tomato).

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  6. Mmmm...brownie sandwich with coconut, caramel sauce, and apricot! Wow.

    As for cabbage, I am a serious lover (see zichiki story in the "About Me"), and each day am coming to see more ways in which the cheap goodness can enrich my life. The sauteed version really only works with certain sandwiches--hearty ones on thick bread (and I just shred it really thinly and saute it on medium-high heat with a little bit of oil, some soy sauce, ketchup, and sriracha). But the fresh version! Oh the fresh version. I love slicing cabbage up into thin little slivers, and then adding a little cool accompaniment (some or all of: vinegar, mayo, oil, salt) and piling the raw crunchy stuff up high. It really makes most sandwiches (of the more delicate variety) sing.

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  7. Yum. I'm going to try this out this week. Thanks for sharing.

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  8. Made a version of your loaf yesterday, and while I was skeptical when it was in the bowl, it turned out great. My version I call "wheatloaf". The story... I had a very large failed attempt at making a whole wheat pilaf. I started with wheat berries and what I think was kamut, which had both been sitting idle in our pantry for a couple years. I toasted up a bunch of almonds, caramelized a bunch of onions, chopped a bunch of parsley... I know, delicious sounding pilaf. Too bad it takes like 4 hours of boiling (which we didn't have) to make wheat berries and kamut edible. But tell you what, I think blending up that chewy mess is what made the wheatloaf so delicious. I just substituted it for the brown rice and nuts in a close relative to your recipe. So mucho thanks for the idea!

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  9. Kopec! Your adaptation of this recipe is exactly what I was hoping people would take away from this! So happy to hear it turned out well. Better than any chain food, eh? (though I was sorry to miss out on the latter, if only for the company's sake).

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  10. Hey Anna,

    Going to try making this soon. Question: Is it 1 cup of rice measured after cooked, or measured before cooked?

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  11. After cooked! It's really hard to make such a small amount of rice, though, so I usually end up saving the extra for burritos or fried rice, or something like it. Let me know how it goes!

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  12. It came out pretty well. I like how much lighter it is than some loafs I've made (ones that are very heavy on the nuts, beans, or cheese). Anyway, it *tastes* good, but it didn't bind super well. I used eggs instead of flax (mainly because I didn't have any flax). Maybe I didn't use enough bread crumbs? (I used two pieces of wheat toast.) Was I supposed to use the liquid from the tofu? If not, that was my mistake.

    Anyway, definitely tasty. I want to try it again soon and see if I can get it a bit more solid. Probably will play around with some different spices, too.

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