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I made this at Thanksgiving and it was the bomb. In several ways. The mouth-watering aroma advertises a traditional flavor and satisfying spices. The texture is hearty–from a few feet away the only way to know that it isn’t an actual meatloaf is the lack of grease.  

I shouldn’t have said anything. A vegan meatloaf isn’t sexy. Maybe that’s because meatloaf has a history of being a low-budget dumping ground for cheap meat and roughage scraps. Maybe it’s because people don’t like “fake” meat and don’t appreciate the healthy diet agenda being shoved down their throat while they are trying to swallow the turkey.

There is nothing fake about this dish. The only thing lacking authenticity is a title worthy of it’s culinary genius.  It’s whole food plant-based perfection. “Nut-loaf,” “bean cake” and “mushroom pate” aren’t contenders either. We need something exotic that does this recipe justice. I’m at a loss. “The meal that shall not be named?” Maybe we can use a symbol after the meal formerly know as Øπ? Ok. I’ll stop.

However, this “whatever you want to call it” is AMAZING. Everyone that actually bothered to try it raved. It rivaled the dressing, potatoes and gravy, creamed corn and green beans. And it killed the turkey. Well, not technically. You understand.

This recipe is another from Molly @cleanfooddirtygirl. I added the creamy mushroom garlic gravy option, but she is the genius and I am the student. I subscribe to her weekly meal plans and am never disappointed. I’ve tried several recipes over my vegan years, and none have ever sat up and smiled like this.

Serve this with traditional comfort sides like mashed potatoes and gravy, or get creative as I did with lightly sautéed greens, walnuts and tomatoes. 

Sauce Option #1 (a sweet tomato sauce)

½ cup tomato paste
2 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. honey or maple syrup
2 Tbsp. yellow mustard
½ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. smoked paprika
Sauce Option #2 (creamy mushroom garlic gravy)

¼ cup cashews
¼ cup veggie broth
½ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 small can of mushroom pieces (4-6 oz)
No-Meat Loaf

1 cup water
½ cup uncooked steel cut oats, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. ground flax seed
½ cup uncooked steel cut oats, rinsed and drained
4 cups mushrooms (about 12 oz), chopped
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup bread crumbs (toast 4-5 slices of bread and blend)
¾ cup chopped pecans and/or walnuts
½ cup diced yellow onion
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
½ Tbsp smoked paprika
2 tsp. garlic granules
1½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
¼ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 5”x 9” loaf pan with parchment paper, including the sides.
Decide which sauce you want. For sauce option #1 (sweet tomato), place all of the sauce ingredients into a small bowl. Whisk until smooth. Set aside. For sauce option #2 (creamy mushroom garlic), blend ingredients until creamy and set aside.
In a small sauce pan, combine the water, steel cut oats, Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, turn heat to low and cover pan with a lid. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasional so it doesn’t stick. Set aside and allow to cool.
Toast the bread, tear into small pieces and use blender to process into soft crumbs. Transfer crumbs to a large mixing bowl.
Blend mushrooms, pinto beans, pecans, onion, flax, smoked paprika, garlic granules, salt and pepper until everything is chopped into small pieces but not pureed (10-20 seconds). Stop intermittently to scrape down sides. Add mixture to breadcrumbs, along with steel cut oats mixture and nondairy milk. Mix until everything is well combined.
Place mixture into lined loaf pan and pack it down with a spoon. Evenly spread the sauce over the top. Bake for 65 minutes.
Allow loaf to cool for 15 minutes. When it’s cool enough to handle, lift out of the pan by the parchment paper and set on a cutting board. Allow to cool for 10 additional minutes and cut into slices. Serve on a platter.