I have to be honest with you. I seriously considered not writing this post. So far on the Vegan Test Kitchen feature of this blog I’ve shared recipes with you that I’ve loved, gobbled up, and (for some of them) made multiple times. I hate being disparaging, especially when I know someone has worked long and hard on a recipe. BUT, Vegan Test Kitchen wouldn’t be very much of an actual test kitchen if I didn’t have some fails. This recipe is one of those fails for me.
I tried the Lentil Mushroom Meatloaf with Ketchup Glaze from But I Could Never Go Vegan!. I didn’t love it. I didn’t even really like it. That makes me especially sad because I’ve been reading Kristy Turner’s blog Keepin’ it Kind for several years now. I’ve made many wonderful recipes from her website previously. I love her voice, and she has done a lot to change people’s perspectives and help animals. This is why I didn’t want to write this blog post. I don’t want something I write to put Kristy or her work in a negative light. But, I have to be honest and share what I really thought about this “Meat”loaf.
My main problem with this recipe was that I couldn’t get the meatloaf to be the right texture. It was WAY to liquidy. I followed the recipe exactly, but it was so mushy it almost wasn’t meatloaf. The recipe states that the mixture should be stiff enough to form into a loaf that will stand up and bake by itself on a baking sheet. Even after adding an extra 3/4 cup of oats to my mixture, mine was still a very very soft blob. I had to put it into a loaf pan. I baked it for a half an hour longer than the recipe called for because it just wasn’t firming up on the inside. Eventually I took it out of the loaf pan, cut it into slices and returned the slices to the oven on a baking sheet for an additional 15 minutes. That crisped them up on the edges, but it was still very mushy in the middle.
Maybe it was operator error? Maybe my carrots, celery, or mushrooms just had more liquid in them than hers did when she wrote the recipe? Maybe my cooked lentils were too mushy to make meatloaf with to begin with? Maybe I pulsed the mixture in the food processor for too long? I don’t know. The texture was just all wrong, and couldn’t really eat the middle of the loaf. This is what the loaf looked like before it went in the oven.
This is what it looked like when it came out and was cut into slices:
The edges that crisped up were fairly tasty. If the whole thing had been crispy like that, I think I would have liked the recipe. To be fair, my husband and his friend (both non-vegan) said the meatloaf was tasty. My husband did not like the texture. His friend didn’t mind the texture issue and ate two slices. I will say this – the ketchup glaze that was on top was excellent. I could eat that glaze on everything. The glaze with the crispy bits was yummy. But, I didn’t finish my slice and the four leftover slices didn’t get eaten by anyone. They sat in the fridge until they spoiled.
Overall, the flavor was good. The texture is what didn’t work for me. If you’re going to make this recipe, I recommend pulsing the ingredients in the food processor very carefully, and maybe starting with 2/3 of the veggies called for.
Vegan Test Kitchen is a way to share my collection of vegan cookbooks with you, my wonderful readers! This way, you can “try before you buy” on many recipes from the best vegan chefs out there.