Yesterday some friends and I were having a conversation about meatloaf. It began with us comparing our mothers’ respective recipes. It seems that everyone’s mom had her own version that has been passed down in her family through the ages. The only common ingredient seems to be some sort of ground meat. My own mother’s (which I immortalized in my first book, The Old Buzzard Had It Coming) involved ground beef, canned tomatoes, sauteed onion, and cornflakes. Simple, and the cornflakes added a nice depth of flavor and a hint of sweetness.
As the conversation progressed, my friends wondered how we survived being meatloaf-less for the thirty years we were strictly vegetarian. Of course, we didn’t. There are as many lovely “meatloaf” recipes for vegetarians as there are for carnivores.
One of our very favorites was made with ground nuts. Any nut is nice, but I usually used a combination of walnuts and hazelnuts. I got the recipe out of a little cookbook we bought in England way back in the 1970s. I made the nutloaf many many times in my slender youth, but as I got older and more substantial, I didn’t cook it so much because of the calories. Eventually I forgot exactly how it’s done, and the little English cookbook is long gone. But take my word for it, it was delicious.
I’ve also made perfectly tasty loaves out of all kinds of beans (especially lentils), leftover cooked veggies and stale bread, mushrooms, veggie burgers, and who knows what else. But there was one...
The king of all veggie loaves, I propose, is a concoction called “Yogi steak” which I learned to make from a 3HO cookbook. The 3HO Foundation is an offshoot of the Sikh religion, founded by Yogi Bhajan. Their diet is vegetarian and quite spicy, and the wonderful Yogi steak will clear your sinuses, I promise. The cookbook, (Conscious Cookery by Siri Ved Kaur Khalsa, published by her in 1977) is copyrighted, so I won’t reproduce the recipe here, but I can give you the highlights.
The Yogi steak is made mainly of soy flour and cornmeal, with lots of garlic, mustard, and cayenne pepper. It’s mixed with various sprouts and fresh veggies, including onion and grated ginger. After it is formed into a loaf and put in the pan, you then pour olive oil all over it and bake it.
She suggests that the loaf be served with yogurt on the side, and believe me, something cool to go along is mandatory. It is so spicy hot that it’s hard to eat, but so delicious that you can’t stop. When you’ve eaten all you can manage, you’re sweating, red-faced, and runny-nosed, with tears of pain and joy running down your cheeks.
The author says that the “combination of the chlorophyll [of the veggies] and the spices have been found to totally purge the system of any impurity.”