I had some extra time this week before Thanksgiving, and when I asked my Facebook fans if they were in search of anything in particular, Lori requested a veggie loaf recipe. Now, I never would have believed that vegetarian loaf could be any good – in fact, the name itself conjures up some pretty weird ideas. However, we are lucky enough to have Spoonriver Restaurant here in Minneapolis, and I showed up for lunch one day when they had a veggie loaf as their lunch special. I don’t recall exactly what was in it (a bean or legume with herbs, I think, and some kind of delicious homemade tomato sauce on top), but wow, was it good. As my niece Norah would say, “Whoa.”
I have a favorite cookbook these days called Extending the Table, which I became well-acquainted with while living at our friends Denis & KT’s place a few years ago. I finally bought my own copy from Ten Thousand Villages, and I’m slowly cooking my way through it. It’s a fantastic cookbook made up of simple, nourishing recipes from around the world. Some of the recipes call for meat, but it can easily be omitted, or replaced with beans, tempeh, or your veggie protein of choice.
There’s a recipe for South African Bobotie, which they describe as a “glorified meatloaf.” I tried making a veggie version before with whole soybeans and it didn’t turn out very well. This time, I went for pinto beans, and it was awesome. I also had the added benefit of a food processor, which chopped those babies up perfectly for this recipe. Note: If you don’t have a food processor, I’d highly recommend using canned pinto beans instead of dried. I’d also recommend using canned beans if you don’t want to spend an hour cooking dried beans!
I think this might be a staple in our house this winter – I’m excited to play around with different types of beans and lentils, not to mention spices and sauces! This is one of those really versatile dishes. And guess what – it’s crazy cheap. Yay beans!
I had this with some white rice on the side and it was nicely filling. You could also do it with potatoes, sweet potatoes, or any other veggie that you fancy.
Curried Veggieloaf with Applesauce
Vegan // Serves 4-6
1 cup dried pinto beans
2 cups vegetable broth
[OR 2 cups canned pinto beans (omit broth)]
2 slices bread
3/4 cup non-dairy milk
1 cup chopped onion
1T curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1T lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
2T flax seed
4T vegetable broth
2T olive oil
1/4 cup applesauce per serving+1.5 tsp
Preheat oven to 350*.
If using dried pinto beans: Prepare pinto beans by placing them in a strainer and picking out any rocks or other debris. Gently rinse with water. Toss into a large stockpot with veggie broth and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for approximately one hour. Remove lid and stir every 10 minutes, adding more broth if necessary. Test a few beans to be sure they are cooked through. Place cooked beans in food processor and pulse for one to two minutes, until beans are finely chopped. Set aside.
If using canned pinto beans: Strain beans and transfer to medium bowl. Mash well with a fork or potato masher. Set aside.
Soak slices of bread in milk (I used a baking pan), turning over once or twice. Drizzle olive oil in a saucepan and swirl to cover bottom. Pour chopped onion, curry powder, and turmeric into pan. Stir onion and spices well to coat with olive oil. Saute for 5-7 minutes, then mix in 1.5 tsp of applesauce and 1T lemon juice.
Squeeze milk out of bread slices and reserve. Rip bread into 1″ pieces and put in bottom of medium mixing bowl. Spoon onion & spices from saucepan into mixing bowl.
In a small bowl, blend 1T ground flax seeds and 2T veggie broth. Let sit for 1-2 minutes, then blend into onion & bread mixture. Top with mashed or chopped pinto beans. Use your hands to mix all ingredients well.
Use a little olive oil to grease a loaf pan. Transfer bowl contents to loaf pan, spreading evenly. Press mixture down into pan.
Make another flax+broth mixture as described above (1T flax and 2T broth). Whisk together with reserved milk and a little salt and pepper. Pour over pressed loaf mixture in pan.
Cook at 350 for 45-50 minutes. Let cool on wire rack, remove gently, and slice into 1-1 1/2″ slices. Top with 1/4 cup applesauce (optional: warm applesauce on stovetop in small pan for 2-3 minutes).
Enjoy with a side of rice, quinoa, or veggies!
In other news, I’m doing something new this year and taking a seasonal break from Pepperoni Is Not a Vegetable. As many of you know, living in tune with the seasons is very important to me, and we’re now entering the season of Winter. Harvest time has passed, and we’ve gathered the fruits of our hard work this year. Now it’s time to turn inward, focus thoughts & time with family and close friends, and reflect. I’ll still be cooking, but I won’t be as visible on social media or to the public. If you have a question, you can still send me an email (nicole [at] pepperoniisnotavegetable [dot] com), but I won’t be replying as quickly as usual. I’ll still be booking one-on-one Sessions on popexpert, with the exception of the days around Christmas and New Years.
I hope 2013 has been a wonderful one for you. Best wishes for the holiday season, and I’ll see you in 2014!