Italian Meatloaf




Meatloaf and mashed potatoes is an iconic American meal, isn't it? My English hubby has many (negative) preconceived notions about meatloaf, and I was determined to change his mind about this dish - and with a vegan version at that! I chose to serve it with delicious, creamy mashed potatoes to help my chances, but I think he honestly enjoyed his first taste of "meat"loaf :)


This meatless loaf is made of sauteed eggplant and mushrooms, with rice and bread crumbs as the binding ingredients. Topped with a sweetened tomato sauce, it's just like mom's ol' loaf that was smothered in ketchup. It's even good as leftovers in a yummy sandwich as well. Eating this stuff brings back memories of childhood, but in a grown-up, cruelty-free way!


This recipe is inspired by Chef Chloe's recipe in her Vegan Italian Kitchen cookbook.

Ingredients
olive oil
pinch of salt
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
1 small eggplant, diced
1/2 package of baby bella mushrooms, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 can canned tomato sauce, separated
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and brush an 8" square pan with olive oil. In a large skillet over medium heat, add 2 Tbsp olive oil, eggplant, onion, mushrooms, garlic, and a pinch of salt and saute for 5-8 minutes or until soft and lightly browned. If the eggplant sticks to the pan, add a sprinkle of water. In a large bowl, mix together cooked veggies, white beans, bread crumbs, brown rice, 1/2 cup tomato sauce, and fresh herbs. Perhaps taking multiple turns in a food processor, pulse mixture until just lightly processed and still a little bit chunky. Add processed mixture to prepared pan and pat down firmly with the back of a wooden spoon. Refrigerate for 1 hour. In a measuring cup, whisk 1 cup tomato sauce with brown sugar and pour on top of the chilled meatloaf. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes covered and another 20-25 minutes uncovered. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Serves 6

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