Friday, February 3, 2012

Meatloaf And Gravy That's Doggone Good

My husband loved meatloaf. Not me. No matter what I did to the fixings, the meatloaf was always too dry for my taste. Even smeared with catsup, it was barely tolerable. Fact is, I'd never had meatloaf in my life until I married my husband. He always raved about his mom's meatloaf, so I asked her to teach me how to make it. Jim always thought it was the best supper ever. He even liked leftover meatloaf in sandwiches. I tried. Honest, I did. But I just never liked it.

So last November, when I brought home a copy of the Everyday Happy Herbivore cookbook from my local bookstore and saw the meatloaf recipe, I skipped over it. Again and again and again. There would be no meatloaf in this house, even though all the other recipes in Lindsay Nixon's book had turned out delicious. Still, I had no hopes for anything called meatloaf.

Then came a dark and dreary winter eve when I looked into the pantry and came up with nothing that sounded good. Same with the refrigerator. But wait. I did have an unopened package of tempeh. What could I create with that?

Out of curiosity, I hauled out the Happy Herbivore cookbook and looked up tempeh, trying to get some ideas for dinner. Actually, the meatloaf recipe sounded like it might be tasty so I decided to give it a try. I added a few more ingredients than the recipe called for and stuck the dish in the oven. Thirty minutes later out came something that actually resembled meatloaf. I served it with my own version of brown gravy, along with creamed cauliflower, and garden peas.

It was delicious. I even have enough left to make sandwiches. Who knew?


Set your oven to 350.

Place in a mixing bowl:

1 c. instant oats
1 8 oz. package tempeh, shredded with a box grater
1 small onion, minced
1/2 celery stalk, minced fine
4 Tbsp. ketchup
2 Tbsp. yellow mustard
2 tsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
2 cloves of garlic, minced fine
1 jalapeno pepper, minced fine, seeds and ribs removed
Salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients together and let it set for a few minutes. In the meantime, grease a small casserole dish or small breadpan. I used a casserole dish so I wouldn't have to slice an already delicate product.

Pack the ingredients tightly for good cohesion. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Smother with my own version of brown gravy if so desired. Serves 4.

Faux brown gravy:

2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. flour
Mix together in a saucepan set over medium heat, stir until the mixture looks somewhat like paste. Add 1 cup vegetable broth. Whisk to make sure there are no lumps. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add 1 Tbsp. Kitchen Bouquet if a deep gravy color is desired. Serve over the meatloaf.

I apologize there is no photo of this delicious dish. When I went to download my pictures, I accidentally clicked remove instead of upload and before my brain registered what I'd done, the photos were gone. Some days it doesn't pay to get out of bed.

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