Vegetable “Meat” Loaf

Vegetarians and carnivores alike will love this ingenious twist on meat loaf.
February 03, 2017


Make the “Meat” Loaf

Preheat the broiler to high.

Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise; discard the seeds and membranes. Place the pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand.

Broil 12 minutes or until blackened. Place in a paper bag; fold to close tightly. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Peel and finely chop. Place the bell peppers in a large bowl.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

Place about one-fourth of the mushrooms in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until finely chopped.

Transfer the chopped mushrooms to a bowl. Repeat the procedure 3 times with the remaining mushrooms.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil to the pan; swirl to coat. Add the mushrooms to the pan; sauté 15 minutes or until the liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms to the bell peppers. Wipe the pan with paper towels. Add the asparagus and onion to the pan; sauté 6 minutes or until just tender, stirring occasionally. Add the onion mixture to the mushroom mixture.

Arrange the breadcrumbs in an even layer on a baking sheet; bake at 350°F for 10 minutes or until golden. Add the breadcrumbs and the next 8 ingredients (through eggs) to the mushroom mixture, stirring well. Spoon the mixture into a 9 x 5–inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray; press gently to pack. Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes.

Make the Topping

Combine 2 tablespoons ketchup, vodka, and mustard in a small bowl; brush the ketchup mixture over the “meat” loaf. Bake an additional 10 minutes.

Let stand 10 minutes; cut into 6 slices.

Suggestions for Sides

  • 1 cup steamed green beans (31 calories), topped with 1 ½ tablespoons vegetarian Parmesan cheese (42 calories).
  • ½ cup mashed potatoes (100 calories).

About this recipe

“The meaty-flavored, umami-rich recipe received our Test Kitchen’s highest rating. Ordinarily you wouldn’t pack a meat loaf into the pan, but since we’re using a vegetable mixture, you will to make sure it holds together.” – Cooking that Counts

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For the Loaf
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 large green bell pepper
  • 2 pounds cremini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup 1⁄2-inch asparagus pieces
  • 1⁄2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 4 ounces vegetarian Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 cup; such as BelGioioso)
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray
For the topping
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon vodka or vegetable stock
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
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