A Moist, Tasty, Satisfying Vegetarian Meatloaf
Oatmeal, Quinoa, Walnuts, Hazelnuts, and Gruyere Cheese
Mashed Potatoes and Mushroom Gravy
The somewhat mysterious walnut loaf on the vegetarian restaurant menu seemed way too heavy for lunch, so I ordered the sprouted salad instead.
While the salad was completely delicious, I was still curious about that hearty, compelling “vegetarian meatloaf” so I decided to make one at home.
While researching vegetarian walnut meatloaf recipes, I came across several that sounded similar to our local restaurant’s version. Upon further investigation, it appears that the original recipe is over 2 decades old, from famous vegetarian chef Deborah Madison.
Madison recently noted that 20 years ago she would add cheese to many of her recipes. These days however, with the variety and quality of vegetarian ingredients, she no longer relies on cheese to substitute for the meat. In this vegetarian meatloaf, cheese does play an important role…but vegan cheese should work fine too.
In my interpretation of the recipe, I substitute oatmeal and quinoa for Madison’s brown rice, and make many other adjustments as well, but credit for the concept definitely goes to her.
Vegetarian Meatloaf, Mushroom Gravy Recipe
Vegetarian Meatloaf Ingredients:
- 1 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 c. cooked quinoa
- 1 1/2 c. walnut halves, toasted
- 1/2 c. hazelnuts, toasted
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, small dice
- 1 T. minced garlic
- 10 oz. cremini mushrooms, chopped
- 1 t. dried marjoram
- 1/2 t. dried thyme
- 1/2 t. dried sage
- 2 T. fresh parsley, chopped
- 4 large eggs
- 1 c. full-fat cottage cheese
- 8 oz. gruyere cheese, grated
- 1 1/2 t. kosher salt
- 1/2 t. fresh ground pepper
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Cook rolled oats with water. Let cool then break up any clumps. Mix oatmeal with cooked quinoa.
Pulse nuts in a food processor until they are chopped but not ground into a powder.
Sauté onion in olive oil. When onion is soft, add garlic and cook for a couple more minutes. Add mushrooms, and cook until the mushrooms are browned. Add dried spices and cook for another couple of minutes until all the mushroom juices have evaporated. Let cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl, combine oatmeal/quinoa with the nuts, mushroom mixture, and parsley.
Beat eggs in a medium bowl. Fold in cheeses, salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture into the mushroom/oatmeal mixture and stir to combine.
Grease a non-stick loaf pan with olive oil. Add meatloaf mixture to the pan and smooth with spatula to form a nice shape.
Bake for one hour. Remove from oven and let rest 20 -30 minutes before slicing.
While vegetarian meatloaf is resting, make the mushroom gravy.
Mushroom Gravy Ingredients:
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1/2 c. shallot, finely diced
- 2 t. minced garlic
- 10 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 2 T. flour
- 2 1/2 c. vegetable stock (We like Better Than Bouillon Organic Vegetable Base Bouillon)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 T. butter (optional)
In a medium non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, sauté shallot in olive oil. When shallot is slightly golden, add garlic and cook for another minute. Add mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are browned. Sprinkle flour over the mushrooms and cook for another couple of minutes, stirring to cook all the flour. Pour in vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally until it has reached a gravy-like consistency. Season to taste. Note: The meatloaf is already quite rich, but if you prefer a richer gravy, whisk in a couple slices of cold butter at the end.
Serve sliced vegetarian meatloaf over mashed potatoes or riced cauliflower. Ladle gravy on top, garnish with parsley. A simple green salad rounds out the meal.
And while red wine pairs beautifully with meatloaf…we paired this dinner with a hearty white because, after all, the dish is not meat, but a glorious confounding concoction of cheese, mushrooms, grains, and nuts.