Not too long ago I made a Meatloaf dinner for us; that inspired me to try to come up with a vegetarian version of this classic dish. This Vegetable “Meat” Loaf recipe is absolutely jam-packed with mushrooms, eggplant, fresh spinach, asparagus and so much more; the flavor is out of this world!
Both the eggplant and the cremini mushrooms add a very meaty flavor and texture to this vegetable loaf. While I used my food processor to coarse chop them both, you could just as easily chop them with a knife.
I added fresh spinach leaves that I also coarsely chopped; you could use a frozen chopped spinach, if you prefer.
The asparagus, onion, red bell peppers and garlic are all sautéed in a bit of olive oil to soften them slightly before adding them to the mixture; which is then flavored with tomato paste, Dijon mustard, Italian herbs, salt and pepper.
As a filler, just like the classic versions of Meatloaf, I used rolled oats; for a binder I used two lightly beaten eggs.
The recipe takes about 15 minutes of prep time and about 45 minutes to bake, so in an hour you can serve your family a nutritious, delicious, meat-free version of a timeless dinner favorite. I hope you’ll try it.
- 8 ounces cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, coarsely chopped
- 1 small eggplant, skin on, coarsely chopped (about 1½ cups)
- 4 ounces fresh spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup diced red onion
- ½ cup diced fresh asparagus (about ⅓ inch pieces)
- ½ cup diced red bell pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic (about 2 cloves)
- ½ cup thick-cut or "old-fashioned" rolled oats
- 1 -6 ounce can tomato paste, (divided 1 rounded tablespoon in mixture - reserve the rest for the topping)
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons dry Italian herb blend
- salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- Remaining tomato paste
- ½ cup water or vegetable stock
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In the bowl of a food processor (or using a knife), coarsely chop the mushrooms, then the eggplant, then the spinach.
- Add to a large bowl and set aside.
- In a medium-sized skillet, over medium heat, add the olive oil.
- When the oil is heated, add the onion, asparagus and red bell pepper.
- Saute for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables slightly soften.
- Add the garlic and continue to saute for another 1-2 minutes.
- Add the sautéed vegetable mixture to the bowl with the mushroom mixture.
- Add the oats, 1 rounded tablespoon of tomato paste, Dijon mustard, Italian herbs, salt and ground black pepper, and the lightly beaten eggs to the mushroom mixture.
- Stir to combine well.
- Lightly spray a 9" x 5" loaf pan with cooking spray.
- Spoon the mushroom mixture into the loaf pan and press to firm.
- Place the loaf pan into the preheated oven and bake for 35 minutes.
- While the vegetable mixture bakes, add the remaining tomato paste, water (or vegetable stock), Dijon mustard and garlic powder to a small bowl and stir to combine.
- After the loaf bakes for 35 minutes, spoon the topping mixture over the loaf and continue to bake for 10 more minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before slicing to serve.