Classic homemade meatloaf with gravy is near the top of the list in my blue-ribbon category of comfort food. I believe it graced our table weekly as I was growing up. I recently decided to step outside the meatloaf box that I grew up in and lovingly reinvent it for vegetarians. Legumes and rice, especially wild rice, immediately came to my mind as a tasty and nutritious foundation. Supporting characters such as onion, peppers, celery and seasonings will be the bling that makes it sing. If you’re making this for a special occasion or holiday, why not bring on the whole Mormon Tabernacle Choir and include chopped dried fruits (refreshed in a wee bit of your favorite spirit, of course) and nuts – putting on the dog, so to speak?
The proper name bestowed on the gravy I made is Mushroom-Miso-Mustard Gravy developed by Crescent Dragonwagon. The lady that carries that name through life is a five-star citizen of our planet. She cooks, writes books for cooks and children, teaches and inspires writers, loves animals, and nurtures all around her. You can read more about her at http://crescentdragonwagon.typepad.com/ or on my post for Blueberry Barbecue Sauce. You can find the original recipe for Mushroom-Miso-Mustard Gravy in her recent publication, Passionate Vegetarian, which earned her a James Beard Cookbook Award in 2003. If you cook, you would be wise to include a copy in your library. If you don’t cook, buy one for someone who cooks for you.
Lentil and Wild Rice Loaf
- 2 tablespoons (90 ml.) oil for sautéing
- ¾ cup (180 ml.) onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ⅓ cup (80 ml.) red bell pepper, minced
- ⅓ cup (80 ml.) celery, minced
- 2 cups (480 ml.) cooked lentils
- 1 cup (240 ml.) cooked wild rice*
- ⅓ cup (80 ml.) bread crumbs (I used whole wheat matzo meal)
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml.) vegetarian Worcestershire sauce**
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- ¼ cup (60 ml.) milk
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Preheat to oven to 350 °F (175 °C).
- Sauté the onions and garlic in a sauté pan over medium-high heat until translucent. Keep them moving, as garlic burns easily.
- Add the red bell pepper and celery and continue to sauté for several minutes or until softened. Set aside to cool.
- When the lentils, rice and sautéed vegetables are cooled, mix together with all the other ingredients.
- Spoon the mixture into a greased or non-stick 9×5-inch loaf pan.
- Place in the oven on a centered rack and bake for about 40-45 minutes or until firm to the touch.
* I used a 50/50 mix of Lundberg Wild Blend® and wild rice.
** Vegetarian Worcestershire can be found in natural food stores, Whole Foods and Trader Joes. (Anchovy in traditional Worcestershire sauce is the culprit. If your inner vegetarian doesn’t mind a brief stray on the wild side, then go for the Lee and Perrins.)
Dragonwagon’s Mushroom – Miso – Mustard Gravy
Adapted from Mushroom-Miso-Mustard Gravy in Passionate Vegetarian by Crescent Dragonwagon
I confess that I strayed from the original recipe by substituting some shitaake mushroom caps as well as tumping in a healthy toot of dried porcini mushroom powder.
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) butter
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) olive oil
- Cooking spray
- ¼ medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 cups ( 480 ml.) sliced mushroom caps
- 3¼ cups (780 ml.) vegetable stock*
- ¾ cup (180 ml.) dry white wine (I used dry vermouth)
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and quartered
- ¼ cup (60 ml.) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) golden or sweet white miso
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) red miso
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml.) nutritional yeast**
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) dried porcini powder (optional)***
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) Dijon mustard
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Heat the butter and oil together in a large sauté pan well sprayed with the cooking spray.
- Add the onion and sauté over medium heat, stirring often, for about 4 minutes or until the onions begin to soften.
- Raise the heat slightly and add the mushroom caps.
- Continue cooking while stirring often, for 5-6 minutes longer.
- Gently heat the vegetable stock in a large saucepan until just warm, not hot.
- Pour the wine along with the garlic, flour, golden and red miso, nutritional yeast and mustard in the bowl of a food processor and whiz together to form a paste.
- Slowly add the paste to the warm, not hot, vegetable stock while whisking constantly.
- Bring slowly to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Add a cup or so of the liquid to the mushroom-onion mixture and stir to release any caramelized bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add the mushroom-onion mixture to the sauce and gently simmer, stirring often, for about 30 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper. Be mindful that miso is already salty and you may need little or no additional salt.
Makes about 4 cups.
* Homemade stocks are always best but there are products to help those in need. The recipe recommends Kitchen Basics. I used Better Than Bouillon.
** Nutritional yeast can often be found in the bulk section of natural food stores.
*** To make dried porcini powder: Spread a package of dried porcinis on an ovenproof plate and place in a warm oven to completely remove all traces of moisture. Grind in your spice grinder and store in a tightly covered jar with your spices.