Thursday, October 20, 2011

Meatless Meatloaf & "Ask Amy"

This recipe is a winner! Great for holidays or any occasion. I like to serve it with vegan mashed potatoes or baked beans, corn on the cob, and a salad.

Neat Loaf

Makes 12 slices
Neat Loaf is loaded with healthful vegetables, whole grains, and soy. The vegetables should be very finely chopped, a task easily accomplished with a  food processor.

1 cup cooked brown rice
2 cups bread crumbs (make your own in the food processor or by finely cutting up whole wheat or other bread)
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 pound firm tofu (from the refrigerated section)
1/4 cup barbeque sauce or ketchup
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce (or regular soy sauce, Bragg's Liquid Aminos, or tamari)
2 teaspoons stone-ground or Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 vegetable oil spray or olive oil to lightly grease the pan
Additional barbeque sauce or ketchup to cover the top of the loaf
Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, combine rice, bread crumbs, walnuts, onion, celery, and carrot.

Purée tofu in a food processor, or mash by hand until very smooth. Add to rice mixture along with barbecue sauce, soy sauce, mustard, and black pepper.

Stir with a large spoon or knead mixture by hand until it is well mixed and holds together, about 1 minute.

Transfer to a vegetable oil sprayed 8" x 8" baking dish and distribute evenly using a spoon, spatula, or your hand.
(You can use a 5" x 9" loaf pan but the neatloaf may not achieve as firm a texture after baking)

Top with barbecue sauce or ketchup. Bake 60 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Variation: Leftover Neat Loaf makes a quick and delicious sandwich. Simply arrange a slice of cold Neat Loaf on whole-wheat bread with lettuce, tomato, and your favorite condiment, such as mustard, ketchup, dairy- and egg-free mayonnaise substitute, or barbeque sauce.

Nutrition Information Per Slice:

  • Calories: 230
  • Fat: 9.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.3 g
  • Calories from Fat: 37.8%
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Protein: 9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 29.1 g
  • Sugar: 8.9 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Sodium: 510 mg
  • Calcium: 163 mg
  • Iron: 2.5 mg
  • Vitamin C: 1.6 mg
  • Beta Carotene: 436 mcg
  • Vitamin E: 0.3 mg
Source: Healthy Eating for Life for Children by Amy Lanou, Ph.D.; recipe by Jennifer Raymond, M.S., R.D.

"Ask Amy"

Q: Going vegan appeals to me, but I don't know if I'll be able to do it "perfectly". How do you do it?
A: I am by no means a perfect vegan. In fact, I don't know anyone who is. Although my goal is to not consume animal products, it's likely that I've unknowingly bought and eaten items that had one of those hard-to-identify animal ingredients in it. I (reluctantly) purchase some bones and fish for my dogs (although 80 percent of their diet is vegan). I also own a leather couch and chair that were gifted to me long before I became vegan. Once I made the decision to become vegan, I stopped buying clothing, shoes, and furniture made from animals. Gradually, I have been replacing my cleaning products and cosmetics with those made without animal ingredients or testing. I also support organizations that advocate for animals -- like the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Animal Acres Farm Sanctuary in Los Angeles, Mercy For Animals, and Compassionate Cooks.
The way I see it, if we are doing what we can for the animals and spending our money on foods and products that are in line with our values, that's good enough. I hope you aren't deterred from going vegan because you can't do it "perfectly". Your contribution will be significant -- plus, you'll reap the proven health benefits and help the animals and environment at the same time.

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