In More Peas, Thank You, (Harlequin, 2013) Sarah Matheny returns to the vegetarian cooking scene with dozens of creative, healthy and delicious vegetarian and vegan recipes. From breakfast to dessert, with plenty of snacks, soups and sides in between, Matheny has created recipes that imitate old favorites and brand-new concoctions that can have anyone making meatless meals at home in no time. The following recipe comes from the "Dinners" chapter.
We have a litmus test whenever it comes to new recipes.
We call it the Chad Test. It’s named for our friend Chad, who is about as big a meat eater as they come. In fact, the Chad Test is merely hypothetical, because I don’t think there’s any chance he would eat anything that comes out of my kitchen, solely based on principle.
I’m convinced Chad takes vacations to Disneyland just so he can get the turkey leg on a stick. Or maybe it’s just so he can text Pea Daddy a picture of a turkey leg on a stick. He once suggested that I dress as a piece of bacon for Halloween. He drove home his point with a little Photoshop work, and thus I became Mama Bacon.
It’s safe to say that the signed copy of our cookbook that I gave to Chad is now being used to keep his balcony window open as he grills steaks in violation of his building code. So whenever we have an especially satisfying meal, something hearty, even “meaty,” Pea Daddy always pipes up, saying, “You could feed this to Chad and he wouldn’t know the difference.”
I’m wondering if Pea Daddy has ever met Chad. But even if Chad could tell the difference between this and his mom’s meat loaf, that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t like it. Or that you wouldn’t. Because for me at least, the thing I loved about meat loaf was the cozy smell of the spices filling the house. The big slab on my plate, next to a pile of mashed potatoes. And the best part—the thick, ketchupy crust that formed on the top, which I always saved for the last few perfect bites.
In other words, this may not pass for meat loaf exactly, but it would totally pass the Chad Test. Trust me. Mama Bacon knows these things.
• 3 cups cooked lentils or black beans, drained and rinsed
• 3⁄4 cup old-fashioned oats, ground to a fine flour
• 1⁄3 cup yellow onion, chopped
• 1-1⁄2 teaspoons garlic, minced
• 1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
• 1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
• 1 tablespoon soy sauce
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• salt and pepper to taste
• cooking spray or oil, to grease loaf pan
For the topping:
• 2⁄3 cup organic ketchup
• 1⁄4 cup light brown sugar
• 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
• 1⁄2 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. In a blender or food processor, combine 2 cups of the lentils or beans, ground oats, onion, garlic, ginger, Italian seasoning, ground flaxseed, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, mustard and salt and pepper. Pulse until the mixture comes together, but do not overmix.
3. Transfer lentil-oat mixture to a large bowl and stir in remaining lentils.
4. Place lentil-oat mixture in a loaf pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray or lightly greased with oil.
5. To prepare the topping in a small bowl, combine ketchup, brown sugar, mustard and liquid smoke, if using. Spread ketchup mixture over lentil-oat loaf.
6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the edges are crisp and the center has set. Let cool almost entirely before cutting.
Nutrition information per serving: 230 calories, 1.5 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 930 mg sodium, 45 g carbohydrate, 10 g fiber, 16 g sugar, 10 g protein, vitamin A 6%, vitamin C 15%, calcium 6%, iron 15%
Optional ingredients not included in analysis.
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Reprinted with permission from More Peas, Thank You, by Sarah Matheny and published by Harlequin, 2013.