Meatless loaf

When my husband and I visited Kansas City, MO last month, we started our trip with a large, highly appreciated hunk of meat at Blanc Burgers. The following day, we went next door. Within inhaling distance of the beef was Eden Alley Cafe, a vegetarian restaurant recommended by the same friend who clued us in to Blanc Burger. We felt in an atoning mood. The menu was creative – not loaded with sprouts and lentils. And my dairy-allergic husband was glad to see most items could be made vegan. We ordered a pizza-like item that featured cashew cheese. Cashew cheese was not a hit with either of us – it was more like a thin, orangy-colored sauce with a grainy texture (from the ground nuts, I suppose). But we enjoyed the entrees: a sweet potato burrito with fruit salsa, and spinach-mushroom loaf with tomato sauce. We liked the spinach-mushroom loaf so much – it tasted almost like real meat loaf – that I purchased the restaurant’s (rather pricey) cookbook.

I made the spinach-mushroom loaf last night, and it was as good as we remembered. I have a beef (ha, ha) with the recipe, though. It’s confusingly written and omits some information, such as what kind of tofu to use. I assumed extra-firm. The recipe also didn’t say how to prepare the spinach and mushrooms. I think both should be chopped to work with the other ingredients. Here’s my reworked version. And this makes two ways in which I will eat tofu. Could this be a sign of the apocalypse?

1/2 pound spinach, de-stemmed and chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, diced

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped garlic

1 1/2 teaspoons oregano

1 1/ 2 teaspoons thyme

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 pound chopped mushrooms

2 cups cooked brown rice

2 cups fine bread crumbs (in the canister from the store)

1/2 pound extra-firm tofu, shredded

Tomato Coulee (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the spinach in a large bowl and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute the onions, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper, chili powder and mushrooms until the onions are translucent. Pour the hot mixture over the spinach and stir. Add rice, bread crumbs and tofu. Mix with your hands and form it into a loaf on a sheet pan sprayed with cooking spray. Bake 50 minutes. Let cool for at least 20 minutes to let it set. Top with Tomato Coulee.

Tomato Coulee

1 medium onion, chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped garlic

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon sugar (original recipe said 1 tablespoon, but I reduced it)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 (14-ounce) cans diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook onions, garlic, sugar, salt and black pepper until the onions are translucent, then add the tomatoes. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the basil. Use immediately or cool and refrigerate.

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2 Responses to “Meatless loaf”

  • Comment from VaNC

    Debbie Debbie Debbie,

    You need to work on this tofu thing. Having just had a yummy lunch of shredded pork and smoked tofu today at that new chinese restaurant Varmint and Greg Cox are talking about (obv. forgot the name) I can’t BELIEVE you won’t give tofu more of a chance!

    I have the recipe for marinated grilled tofu from the old Rathskellar and I will have to give it to you. Everytime we serve it at dinner parties, there is none left, much to our chagrin, as it is great cold on a salad the next day. I would just drop some at your house, but like many grilled things….timing is everything.

  • Comment from Debbie Moose

    Well, mixing PORK and tofu, there’s something I could get behind. I’m up to two tofu recipes I will eat (three if you count the negligible chunks in miso soup). Baby steps.

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