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Tempeh “Meatloaf”

Every year, I get together with all of my extended family on the day after Christmas for a traditional hearty, ham-filled feast. On actual Christmas day, however, it’s typically just my nuclear family dining at the dinner table. With half of us being vegetarian (AKA, my mom and I), this calls for a celebratory day of meat-free wining and dining. My mom likes to cover all of the basic veggie comfort foods, like mashed potatoes and gravy, while I, as of lately, am of course always yearning to experiment with something new.

Last year that meant making the whole Vegetarian Times collection of holiday recipes, but this year while the Christmas cookies were baking away in the oven, my mom and I decided to scan the New York Times guide to a vegan Thanksgiving. After salivating over countless recipes, we decided on the tempeh “Meatloaf,” which turned out surprisingly well. Even my brother’s girlfriend, the newest addition to our dinner table, was raving about it.

This can be made in advance up to a day ahead of time. I ended up adding a couple extra dashes of herbs to this recipes, so make sure to taste the mixture before you pat it into the loaf pan. Also, a side of mashed potatoes is a must for this “meatloaf” and makes this a true vegan comfort meal.

Click here for recipe…

Tempeh Oatmeal Meatloaf

Looking for a new way to eat your oats?  How about for dinner?  For those of us who just can’t seem to get enough oats, this recipe adapted from the Vegetarian Times is perfect.  It’s also great for those who are getting sick and tired of that same bowl of oats for over and over again for breakfast and are looking to get out of a little rut of repetition.

While this recipe utilizes two cups of oatmeal, the real star of the dish is tempeh.  Tempeh is made from a process that combines whole, fermented soybeans into a rectangular cake-like form.  Similar to tofu, tempeh provides a lot of protein and along with its chewy texture, it makes a great alternative to meat.  However, unlike tofu which is rather bland, tempeh definitely has a distinct taste and for some people it can take some getting used to.  It has a sort of fermented, nutty flavor, which is delicious but only when combined with the right sauces.  If you’re new to tempeh, the following makes a great starter recipe.

Warning:  When cut into slices, the end product looks like what I am sorry to say is a resemblance of thrown up cat food (for anyone who has cats, you should be familiar with what I’m talking about).   I even opted not to take pictures of the “meatloaf” in its sliced form because it really wouldn’t have looked that attractive.  However, the looks are deceiving, and the taste bears no semblance any sort of throw up at all!  I suggest covering it with some extra sauce or chopped parsley if serving for visitors.  But I want to restate, the looks aren’t an indicator of this recipes taste!  Plus, at least it looks beautiful before placed onto a plate!

Tempeh-Oatmeal Meatloaf
(Serves 6)

-2 cups old-fashioned oats, divided
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-2 bay leaves
-1 medium onion, chopped
-2 tsp. poultry seasoning
-1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
-1 8-oz. package tempeh
-1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
-1 tsp. vinegar
-scant tsp. sugar
-1 1/2 cups prepared marinara sauce (if I don’t have any unthawed from my summer garden, I like to use Classico’s Tomato and Basil- A little salty, but tasty
and contains a short and simple list of ingredients)
-Nutritional yeast, optional
-Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease a loaf pan with olive oil.  Place one cup of water and bay leaf into a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Add 1/2 cup oats and garlic.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for approx. 10 minutes, or until oatmeal is thick.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and saute 5-7 minutes, or until translucent.  Add poultry seasoning and saute an additional minute.  Add chopped tomatoes with juice, sugar, and vinegar.  Crumble the tempeh into the mixture, and season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Transfer tempeh mixture to food processor or blender.  Once oatmeal is finished cooking, remove bay leaf and add to blender/food processor.  Blend until combined.  Add remaining 1 1/2 cups of oats and pulse until combined.

Pour oat mixture into loaf pan.  Spread marinara sauce over top.  Bake 1 hour, or until top begins to brown and sauce starts to bubble.  Slice and serve.  Top with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast, if desired.

Nutrition info. per serving:  Calories-289, Protein-14 grams, Total fat-10 grams, Saturated fat-2 grams, Carbs-38 grams, Cholesterol-1 mg, Sodium-449 milligrams, Fiber-6 grams, Sugar-10 grams