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Vegetable "Meat" Loaf

Vegetarians and carnivores alike will love this ingenious twist on meat loaf. The meaty-flavored, umami-rich recipe received Cooking Light's 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 need to make sure it holds together.

Ingredients

Meat Loaf:

1 large red bell pepper
1 large green bell pepper
2 pounds cremini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup 1/2-inch asparagus pieces
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)*
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
2 large eggs, lightly beaten (preferably cage-free organic)
Extra virgin olive oil to coat baking pan

*For a healthier recipe choose gluten-free Panko or else make your own savory breadcrumbs using this recipe:

Savory Gluten Free Waffles (Use these to make gluten free bread crumbs)

Topping:

2 tablespoons ketchup*
1 tablespoon vodka or vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard

For a spicy twist choose jalapeno ketchup (which you can purchase or else easily make yourself by adding a bit of jalapeno juice to your ketchup bottle and shaking thoroughly).

(As always, The Best Years in Life recommends choosing organic content and fresh content as much as possible for the healthiest recipe. Also, wash all fruits and vegetables before cutting or adding to the recipe.)

  

Instructions

1. Preheat broiler to high.

2. To prepare meat loaf, cut bell peppers in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a non-stick 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 bell peppers in a large bowl.

3. Reduce oven temperature to 350°.

4. Place about one-fourth of mushrooms in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until finely chopped. Transfer chopped mushrooms to a bowl. Repeat procedure 3 times with remaining mushrooms.

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

6. Arrange breadcrumbs in an even layer on a baking sheet; bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until golden. Add breadcrumbs and the next 8 ingredients (through eggs) to mushroom mixture, stirring well. Spoon mixture into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated lightly with olive oil; press gently to pack. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a thermometer registers 155°.

7. To prepare topping, combine 2 tablespoons ketchup and remaining ingredients in a small bowl; brush ketchup mixture over meat loaf. Bake an additional 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes; cut into 6 slices.

Serves 6 (serving size: 1 slice)

Per serving: Calories 338, Fat 21.2 g, Satfat 4.3 g, Monofat 5.1 g, Polyfat 10.1 g, Protein 17.5 g, Carbohydrate 22.6 g, Fiber 4.9 g, Cholesterol 72 mg, Iron 2.6 mg, Sodium 535 mg, Calcium 197 mg

Original recipe and image source: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/vegetable-meat-loaf
Photo: Johnny Autry; Styling: Leigh Ann Ros

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