VeganMoFo Day 8: Super Awesome Crockpot Meatless Loaf

Yes, the name is a mouthful. I know. And it might seem to be the teensiest bit braggy. But when my husband helped himself to his second slice of meatless loaf this evening and asked if I had a name for the recipe, I hadn’t yet settled on one.

“Well,” he said, “you don’t have to use it, but I think it should be called Super Awesome Crockpot Meatless Loaf. It’s the best one we’ve had!” Then, as if for emphasis, he scarfed down another piece.

Now you understand, don’t you? I mean, come on. When someone proposes a name like that, you kinda just have to run with it. I think it’s even in the rule book.

Loaf

I’m never going to fight a review like that, especially not from him. Foods intended to imitate foods we ate before we became vegans have often been a struggle for him. For a long time, we only tried recipes that were completely new to us, recipes that didn’t focus on trying to be something they weren’t. We avoided trying anything that suggested it was reminiscent of any kind of meat dish. I think it helped us transition; I highly recommend that method for transitioning into veganism. Being vegan was a big change for a former country boy. He went vegan for ethical reasons, but that didn’t mean he forgot the flavors on which he was raised. It was easier to just make everything different than to choke down those older recipes for omni-meal imitations.

Sure, we’d tried to make different sorts of vegan loafs. Meatless loafs crumbled sadly at holiday dinners. On more than one cold winter night we suffered with a dry Sloppy Joe-looking disaster. Even promising recipes resulted in dense little flavorless loafs of tofu. Still, it was the “Ehhhhh. It’s okay, but it’s not quite right” attempts that really brought a girl down.

Last week, I had a friend recommend that I do a crockpot recipe sometime during MoFo. With an unexpectedly free afternoon and the bunny and 90 pound pup quietly dozing nearby, today seemed like a perfect day.

Vegan meals, like other meals, fail or succeed based on a variety of factors and personal tastes. We like a lot of flavor here, but we all also have issues with unpleasant texture. When attempting a vegan “meat,” there’s a lot of experimenting before you get that texture right. This afternoon, with my family cookbook still nearby from the other night, I decided to mimic my mom’s recipe for the flavor, but to really play with the texture. Based on my husband’s reaction, I kinda think I nailed it. Sweet!

Super Awesome Crockpot Meatless Loaf

  • 1 16 oz. package extra firm tofu, patted dry and crumbled
  • 1 ½ cups TVP
  • ¼ cup oats
  • ¼ cup panko
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ c HP sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • Heaping ¼ cup minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated on a microplane grater
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
    ¼ teaspoon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 tablespoon flax mixed with 3 tablespoons hot water (you may want to double the flax and water for a firmer loaf)

 In a large bowl, crumble the tofu. Add TVP, oats, and panko. Stir until blended

Tofu and dry ingredients

Next, add the garlic powder, celery seed, mustard, salt and pepper. Mix well.

It's easy getting the crockpot ingredients ready in the early afternoon sunshine.

It’s easy getting the crockpot ingredients ready in the early afternoon sunshine.

Now add the Worcestershire Sauce, HP sauce, ketchup, molasses, onion, garlic, and sugar. Mix well.

Add the flax mixture and stir. After briefly stirring, use your hands and squeeze the mixture through your fingers to blend the ingredients and compress. This reduces the size of your mixture considerably.

Loaf into the crockpot

When the mixture is sticking together well, shape your loaf. Place your loaf into a lightly oiled crockpot. Spread a little more HP sauce over the top of the loaf if desired. Cook on high for three and a half hours. It takes some time before you can see the loaf begin to brown. When it does, if you have a glass lid on your crockpot, you’ll also see some condensation begin to form.

After three and a half hours, pour as much ketchup as is desired on top of the loaf, spreading it around evenly with the back of a spoon. Continue to cook on high for another 20 minutes. Remove from the crockpot and let stand briefly to cool. Slice and serve with additional ketchup available for those who desire more.

We like our meatless loaf a little burned around the edges, maybe even a lot burned. The end pieces are always the first to disappear. If you want a more tender loaf, reduce the cooking time no more than about a half an hour. If you like it a bit more burned around the edges, you could try leaving it in a tad longer, but it may become unpleasantly dry.

Loaf

I wasn’t sure I’d hit it just right because it tasted different from what I’d eaten when I was growing up, but my husband was delighted. He raved throughout dinner and clean up, and he just walked in to ask if I was telling you all about “Super Awesome Crockpot Meatless Loaf.” So while I may not have made a meatless loaf just like my mom made, I think I got pretty close to what his did. Since he’s the one who’s been waiting for something like this, I don’t think I’ll tinker too much more. I rather like rave reviews. It makes a girl blush. Aww, shucks…

Anyway, we served ours with mashed potatoes and quick green beans. Since I have a thing about color on my dinner plate, I cooked them with some leftover chopped veggies from my fridge. I’ll quickly share what I did in case you’re curious.

Purdy Green Beans

Quick n’ Purdy Green Beans

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 can green beans, drained
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Heat oil in a skillet. Add the onion, sauté until softened. Add the drained green beans, red pepper, and ground pepper. Stir constantly with a spatula until hot. Serve.

Meatless Loaf

So here I sit, dishes washed, kitchen cleaned, and tummies full. I’ve even had a chance to enjoy the enormous Harvest Moon, the final Supermoon of this dry but beautiful summer.

Harvest Moon Supermoon

Crockpot, I think you’re gonna be seeing a lot of action this fall, or late summer, or whatever we call our California season transition. Who knows? Maybe this year we’ll call it Tuesday.

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