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Gluten-Free Veggie "Meatloaf" for Picky Eaters

By Edited Sep 22, 2014 1 0
The Bao Shoppe - Meatloaf Bao
Credit: Chun Yip So on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Since I had extra lentils, cilantro, and celery leftover from making my Spicy Carrot Lentil Soup, I thought I'd figure out some way to use them up in a gluten-free vegetarian meatloaf.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I needed to prepare something meat-free, nut-free, and gluten-free.
The other ingredients I had to leave out (based on what my daughter deems too yucky to consume) were wild mushrooms, flax seeds, and quinoa.
Fortunately, carjjen posted a vegetarian meatloaf recipe on YouTube[1] which had the basic ingredients I was hoping to use up.
In order to make it gluten-free, I used Bob's Red Mill Quick Cooking Gluten-Free Oats, grated a block of cheddar cheese (since some prepackaged grated cheeses contain flour to keep pieces from sticking together), and I opted for some fresh herbs and spices instead of dried ones.

Sure, Turkey is Traditional

But what do you serve vegetarians?

I have quite a few friends that are vegetarians or vegans and family with food allergies or sensitivities, so big gatherings are difficult to cater to. This year, I decided I'm not going to bother roasting a huge turkey.

Besides not having to worry about the do's and don'ts of preparing or thawing turkey,[2] I found a 1 minute snippet of what happened to Debra (from the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond) when she prepared turkey whilst angry (shown next).

Angry Debra vs. Slippery Turkey

G-F Veggie "Meatloaf"

Makes: 1 loaf | Prep: 25 mins | Total: 1 hr 20 mins

If you do not need to make this gluten-free, just be sure that you use Quick Cooking Oats and not regular rolled oats, otherwise the loaf may not "hold together" as much.
onions, carrots, peppers, celery
1 cup cooked lentils 
1 cup gluten-free Quick Cooking Oats (may need a bit extra)
3/4 cup grated cheese (about 3 oz block of cheese)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 - 6 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped (OR 1 tsp. dried basil)
1 tbsp. fresh cilantro or parsley, finely chopped (OR 1 tsp. dried)
1/4 tsp. each of sea salt and pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves (OR 1 tsp. fresh thyme, finely chopped)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 cup red or green pepper, diced
1/2 cup onion, chopped (OR 2 shallots, diced)
2 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp. each of BBQ sauce, ketchup, and brown sugar
If you don't have precooked lentils leftover, measure out dried ones in a shallow dish (toss out any debris/stones), and get them cooking on the stove. Check directions on your package (depending on their size, 1/2 cup dried = about 1 cup cooked).
Wash, mince, finely chop and/or dice your fresh vegetables, garlic, and herbs and just throw everything in one large bowl. Grate cheese of your choice (I use cheddar since my daughter likes it the most) and add to large bowl.
TIP: 1/4 lb. (4 oz / 115 g) Cheddar cheese in block form = 1 cup grated[3] (so you only need 3 oz of a block of cheese for this recipe). 
Ensure oven racks are adjusted so your gluten-free vegetarian meatloaf will bake in the center and preheat to 350 F (180 C). 
Add tomato sauce, quick cooking oats, measure out your spices (tweak amounts to your liking) and add to large bowl. Thoroughly combine everything in the large bowl.
When lentils are done cooking (if you didn't have leftovers on hand), rinse and drain them and set aside to cool a bit.
In a medium bowl, beat eggs and then add lentils. Mash them up a bit (it's okay to leave some lentils whole, though). I just find it "holds" everything together more.
Add egg-lentil mixture to large bowl and combine everything. If it seems too moist, add some more quick cooking oats (a little at a time).
Scrape into parchment paper-lined loaf pan, pushing down to make loaf flat on top.
In a small bowl, mix up topping ingredients and spread over top of loaf. Bake for 30 - 45 minutes or until firm. If at any time it appears to be browning too fast, cover with a tented piece of foil and reduce heat to 325 F (165 C).
When done baking, remove from oven and allow loaf to rest 10 minutes before serving (keeps pieces from falling apart, I find). If desired, garnish with BBQ sauce or ketchup, melted cheese, and fresh cilantro leaves.

Canadian Maple BBQ Sauce

Makes: 2/3 cup | Prep: 5 mins | Total: 25 mins

I found this recipe[4] in a 2010 edition of Canadian Living magazine but I used organic gluten-free Worcestershire sauce instead of the regular kind. And even though this sauce was intended for pork ribs, I find it works wonderfully on veggie burgers and this meatloaf.

BBQ Sauce

1/2 cup ketchup
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tbsp. gluten-free Worcestershire sauce
1/2 - 1 tsp. chili powder
In a small saucepan, over med-high heat, add all ingredients and stir often until it boils. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes (stirring often).
Remove from heat and allow to cool 5 minutes before using. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

Have You Ever Tried Tofurkey?

I've heard about Tofurkey but I've never bought or tried it. Apparently, you can purchase it with the stuffing already inside it. Tofurkey can be homemade or bought ready-made and frozen.[5]

After seeing the episode of Everybody Loves Raymond when Marie brought out a tofu turkey, I just couldn't stop laughing (my father would've acted just like Frank). And my brothers would have been far worse than Ray and Robert.

It was hilarious to see the look on Robert's face (1:30 point) when Ray removed the turkey "booties" (aka turkey frills or cutlet frills).

Luckily, I found a short clip of the episode so you can have a chuckle too (shown next).

Everybody Loves Raymond - The Tofu Turkey



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  1. carjjen "Vegetarian Meatloaf." YouTube. 20/09/2014 <Web >
  2. "Let's Talk Turkey | A Consumer Guide to Safely Roasting a Turkey." USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. 20/09/2014 <Web >
  3. "Cheddar Cheese." Cooks Info. 20/09/2014 <Web >
  4. "Oven-Baked Ribs With Maple Barbecue Sauce." Canadian Living. 20/09/2014 <Web >
  5. "Tofurkey." Wikipedia. 20/09/2014 <Web >

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