Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Black Bean and Bulgur Loaf

 One of my favorite non-vegan foods in my past life was meatloaf, and one of my goals is to find or create a vegan recipe that will capture the flavors and texture of a traditional meatloaf.  I've been able to come pretty close using Gimme Lean and other soy based products, but I am also trying to move away from processed soy.  I've tried lots of veggie loaf recipes utilizing lentils, brown rice, beans, oats, etc, and have not been pleased with the outcome.  I think this is just me.  Since I have my mind set on a "Neat Loaf" that tastes like a "Meat Loaf", it's going to be hard to accomplish this using grains and beans.

However, I was excited when I saw a few veggie loaf recipes in this book, as they incorporate vital wheat gluten flour, which I thought would give the loaf better chew (texture), and help everything stick together better.  So, it was with high hopes I tried the "Black Bean and Bulgur Loaf" (p. 264).  The recipe went together as written, and wasn't complicated to follow.  The final mixture seemed to be the right consistency - not too dry, not too moist.  It baked in the allotted amount of time.  I let it cool for 15 minutes (recipe says wait 10 minutes), and it turned out of the pan just fine, staying in one piece.  So far, so good.

But alas, this was still a bean and grain loaf.  Not a bad thing if that is what you had in mind, but I think my expectations were off.  I found it to be just a tad bland, but the addition of Basic Brown Sauce (see review below) took care of that, as any favorite topping could have.  It didn't hold together quite as well as I thought it would with the addition of the vital wheat gluten, but it didn't totally crumble apart like some veggie loaves are prone to do.

The recipe called for 1 tablespoon olive oil for sautéing the onion, but I omitted this and dry fried the onion in a non-stick pan.  It also called for oiling the loaf pan, but I used a silicone loaf pan which requires no oiling at all.  Both these changes worked out well and I was able to stick to my "no oil" rule.  The rest of the ingredients were used as listed, with no substitutions required.

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