‘Karma Chow’s Ultimate Cookbook’: Veggie Loaf

This is the “Veggie Loaf with Tomato Glaze” from ‘Karma Chow’s Ultimate Cookbook.’ I was really excited to make this recipe because I loves me some “meat” loaf. But I have to say, I was pretty disappointed with how it came out.

First of all, it takes a while to make. Of course, I wouldn’t mind this at all if it was worth it. But it’s probably not. It was too dry! The thing is covered in a tomato glaze where you whisk together:

1 8oz. can of tomato paste,

3 Tbs. Braggs Liquid Aminos or Tamari,

1 Tbs. agave,

1/4 tsp. liquid smoke,

1 Tbs. minced garlic.

You pour half the glaze inside the loaf and the remaining half on top. I actually used more tomato paste than the recipe called for, but it was still pretty bland, in my opinion.

This recipe requires a lot of steps to make the loaf itself:

1. Cook 3/4 cup brown rice and 2 cups lentils (the recipe calls for “Du Puy or French lentils,” but I just used plain old Goya lentils) and put them in a bowl for later.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3. Sauté 1 cup diced onions over medium heat, in 1 Tbs. olive oil, until soft.

4. Add 1 cup de-stemmed and chopped mushrooms to the pan and sauté until soft. Transfer the onions and mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.

5. Add 2 Tbs. olive oil and saute 2 celery stalks and 4 diced carrots over low heat until soft but still slightly crisp.

6. Combine the lentils and brown rice together in a food processor (I don’t have a food processor (yet) so I used my blender, which was a big mistake! This added even more unnecessary time because the concoction kept getting caught in the blades. So I had to pour only a little at a time into the blender. What a headache! I am seriously looking into finding a better solution!). Once, or if, you finish this step, add to a big bowl on the side. 

7. Put the carrots and celery into the food processor (or blender- good luck!). Add 1 Tbs. Braggs or Tamari, 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce (vegan of course!), 1/2 tsp. mustard powder, 1 Tbs. arrowroot powder, 1/2 the tomato glaze, and what the author calls “flaxseed eggs” (in which you combine 2 Tbs. of ground flaxseeds with 6 Tbs. of water in a blender and mix until it becomes jelly and let cool in the fridge for 5 minutes.) But instead of the “flaxseed eggs” I used the equivalent of  2 Tbs. Ener-G Egg replacer with the 6 Tbs. water. Process all those goodies together until adequately combined.

8. Here comes the fun part! Add the mixture to the rice and lentil mush, throw in the onion/mushrooms, and finally 1 cup gluten free breadcrumbs (I only had whole wheat bread crumbs-not gluten free). Mix the ingredients into a dough with your hands. I give you permission to use this here step to get out all your anger and frustration at the laboriousness that is this Veggie Loaf.

9. Pat down the mixture into a slightly greased loaf pan until it is even. Top the loaf with the remaining tomato glaze and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover then bake for another 15 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes after baking.  

In retrospect, perhaps my few substitutions were my downfall and could have contributed to the blandness of the dish. I didn’t think they would make that much difference! But who knows. We had plenty of leftovers that froze well for our return from our Thanksgiving break. But I found that I just wasn’t enjoying it! My bfie tried it with some vegetarian eggplant masala from our Indian leftovers and found it quite tasty. Come up with your own creative addition to the dish!

Naturalie’s Note: Cook the lentils and brown rice the day (or days) before you start this recipe to save yourself time! If you try this recipe, pour some ketchup on your plate for dipping or add your favorite can of tomato sauce in and on top for extra taste and moistyness (sometimes I partake in creating my own words)!

For more (tastier) recipes ‘Karma Chow’s Ultimate Cookbook,’ by Melissa Costello, try getting the book for yourself!

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