I wasn't kidding about being uninspired in the kitchen - I've been begging everyone I meet to tell me what they've been eating lately. It's fascinating for me to ask people what they had for dinner last night! If they answer honestly, you get a peek into their lives. And aside from that, I'm hoping to find an answer that will give me that good old excited feeling that makes me want to cook new recipes.
I should have known to ask one of my 3 ultra creative friends (Cass, Colin, or Terrin) for inspiration. This time it was T who (over a bottle of fabulous pink prosecco at Barbette) said, "You should make a really good veggie loaf." How had I never ever considered this? Pure genius! It's PERFECT for Green and Lean...healthy and unfussy.
Only problem? None of the veggie loaf recipes I could find online were veggie enough for me. Most contained only lentils, brown rice, mushrooms, or all three. That sounded awfully brown and ugly. I want green in my Green and Lean Loaf! So this recipe is entirely made up by me with lots of added veggies and it turned out AMAZING, if I do say so myself.
Although it's been over 12 years since I've eaten red meat, one bite instantly reminded me of eating my mom's meatloaf because my version has all the same good qualities. It's comforting, earthy, and filling - but without the animal fat. I kept the flavors mostly Italian, with dried basil and a parmesan cheese crust on top.
I'm sure this would be good with traditional ketchup or barbecue sauce but I didn't need it. Maybe that will be added to leftover Green and Lean Loaf sandwiches (although I think mayo mixed with sriracha sauce would also be great on this!). I ate it tonight plain with roasted parsnips.
As usual, I didn't measure so the recipe below contains approximations. It's difficult to screw up if you add good-tasting ingredients though. Just make sure there is enough egg to make it bind together.
Green and Lean Loaf
Cooked veggies (I had leftover roasted broccoli, cauliflower, and mushrooms), chopped finely
Cooked greens (I had leftover sauteed kale)
1/4 yellow onion, diced finely
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
Cooked lentils (boil 1 cup French lentils in 4 cups water for 45 minutes)
1/2 cup cooked quinoa (or brown rice, if you prefer)
1/2 cup oats (or breadcrumbs, but I didn't have any)
1/4 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese, plus another 1/4 cup for topping
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dried (or even better, fresh) basil
salt and pepper
Mix all ingredients in a big bowl and pack into a greased loaf pan. Top with a layer of parmesan cheese, cover with tinfoil and bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove foil and bake another 10-15 minutes or until top is browned. Let cool at least 5 minutes before slicing and serving.