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For Your Meatless Thanksgiving: Vegetarian Meatloaf with Wild Mushrooms

vegetarian meatloaf for thanksgiving
Vegetarian meatloaf (or more accurately, “meatloaf”) with wild mushrooms makes a perfect meatless Thanksgiving entree.

Thanksgiving can be a challenge for vegetarians, as well as for those hosting vegetarians. Everyone’s just so obsessed with that bird! (That succulent, savory, delectable, cooked-to-perfection bird!) Although vegetarians do get to enjoy all the other traditional goodies—sweet potatoes, stuffing, veggies, pies—they’re often left without a real entrée on their plates. In an attempt to help rectify this deficit, I decided to come up with a really good meat-free Thanksgiving entrée this year that would satisfy the vegetarians and entice the bird-eaters, too.

For guidance, I turned to a foodie friend whom I consider to be my vegetarian consultant. Her main advice was to please not stuff something into a squash. She’s a little tired of that. Ok, no stuffed squash. As a second criteria (in addition to not being a stuffed squash), I wanted my veggie entrée to be able to stand on its own as a real main course—to be more than just another side dish. And third, I wanted it to fit in seamlessly with the rest of the traditional Thanksgiving meal.

The happy result of all the above criteria-crunching is this Vegetarian Wild Mushroom “Meatloaf”—a far cry from “that ’70s vegetarian food” that my consultant warned me about. The dried porcinis and Parmesan give this dish a sophisticated flavor, while the nuts and rice give it a dense and hardy meat-like texture. It’s tasty, filling, and holds its own as a genuine entrée that goes perfectly with potatoes, green beans, gravy, et al.

This recipe is a little less lazy than typical Two Lazy Gourmets fare, but it’s worth it. I’ve managed to simplify the process by minimizing the number of dirty dishes involved, and if you plan your time well (soaking the mushrooms and cooking the rice in advance) it’s really quite straightforward. Chopping the domestic mushrooms and the nuts in a food processor will make your work speedier and yield a nicer, finer result. You can also assemble the entire loaf up to a day in advance, so that all you have to do is pop it in the oven about an hour before dinner.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting my Savory Mushroom Gravy, which makes a perfect partner for this loaf and uses a lot of the same ingredients, to help streamline your shopping list. Oh, and by the way, this mixture would be really good stuffed into a squash!

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Yield: Serves 10

Vegetarian Wild Mushroom "Meatloaf"

vegetarian meatloaf

Adapted from thekitchn.com, this Vegetarian Wild Mushroom "Meatloaf" has a sophisticated flavor and hardy meat-like texture. It goes perfectly with our Savory Mushroom Gravy.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Additional Time 40 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • ¾ pound domestic mushrooms (e.g., button, cremini, portobello), finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ cup sherry or wine
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 2 cups cashews, finely chopped or crushed
  • ½ cup pine nuts, finely chopped or crushed
  • 7 ounces Parmesan cheese
  • 5 eggs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and oil a 9 x 5-inch (or equivalent) loaf pan.
  2. Cover dried porcinis in hot water and let them soak for about 30 minutes. When rehydrated, remove from the water and chop. (Note: if you plan to make our Savory Mushroom Gravy, use 3½ cups of hot water and reserve the 3 cups (or so) that remain after the mushrooms have been rehydrated.)
  3. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a wide, heavy pan or pot large enough to hold all of the ingredients.
  4. When oil is hot but not burning, add onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are soft and translucent (5 to 7 minutes).
  5. Add garlic, domestic mushrooms, salt, pepper, and thyme. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the juice from the mushrooms has been released and mostly cooked off.
  6. When the pan begins to get dry, deglaze with sherry or wine, continuing to cook for about half a minute more to let the sherry or wine reduce.
  7. Remove pan from heat.
  8. Stir rice, cashews, pine nuts, and chopped porcinis into the mushrooms.
  9. Let mixture cool from hot to warm (or even room temperature), and add cheese.
  10. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. When flavors are good to go, stir in the eggs and mix thoroughly.
  11. Pack mixture into loaf pan and bake in preheated oven for about one hour, until firm to the touch with lightly crisped edges.
  12. Let cool for about 10 minutes.
  13. Gently slide a knife around the edges to loosen, then slowly and carefully turn the pan upside-down to slide the loaf out.
  14. Serve with Savory Mushroom Gravy or the gravy of your choice.

Make it ahead:

  1. Follow instructions up to the point of putting mushroom mixture into the loaf pan.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for up to one day before baking.
  3. If mixture is cold when put into the oven it might take a little longer than one hour to bake.

Nutrition Information

Yield

10

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 422Total Fat 29gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 19gCholesterol 110mgSodium 713mgCarbohydrates 26gFiber 3gSugar 3gProtein 16g

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By on November 3rd, 2011

13 thoughts on “For Your Meatless Thanksgiving: Vegetarian Meatloaf with Wild Mushrooms”

  1. This sounds really delicious and I’ve just made the decision to include it in my Thanksgiving menu this year. I’ll be using the “stuff the squash” option I think since I’m always looking for non sweetened ways to prepare those orange veggies!

    Reply
  2. The recipe sounds great! However, how can you omit the eggs as this is supposed to be vegetarian? What would make a good substitute to hold this “meatless” loaf together?

    Reply
  3. As a vegan option, you could try arrowroot and a nut milk, like almond milk. I bet the flavor of the nut milk would complement the mushrooms quite well. And you could sub soy cheese for the cheese, too. I’m confused, though, by the comment. I thought vegetarians eat eggs and cheese, and vegans don’t?

    Reply
    • Yep, an egg is not an animal. A commercial egg is the equivalent of an unfertilized woman’s egg. Although some would love to call a woman’s egg a person…

      Reply
  4. Made this for (Canadian) Thanksgiving and it was great. Especially the mushroom gravy, all the meat eaters wanted it for their turkey! I moulded mine in a loaf pan overnight putting a strip of parchment paper along the bottom and put the two ends to make little handles and it popped out easily. The next day I wrapped it in puff pastry and it was awesome! Thanks!

    Reply

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