Meatloaf with a Twist

Meatloaf is a quintessentially American dish. It's meaty, unpretentious and satisfying. It's also good the next day for sandwiches. A few weeks ago, when I made this, the weather was more "tail-end of winter" than "almost-summer", with consistent overnight freezing temperatures, rain and snow in the afternoon and generally miserable.

However, meatloaf involves, well, a lot of meat. The average recipe I came across used between 4 and 5 pounds of the stuff in varying proportions. We had come across TVP (texturized vegetable protein) at Winco and wanted to try it out. Supposedly, if you soaked it in stock, it could easily be used interchangeably for meat, particularly in ground meat recipes like meatloaf and meatballs. Lower calorie, easy to store and much cheaper than meat (ground or not), we decided it was worth a try.

Turns out, they're right. It's indistinguishable from meat in this. We've used it a few times now and are sold - we have a protein that can taste however we like, needs no defrosting and is readily available for cheap.

If you'd rather just have a regular meatloaf, exchange the TVP and broth for 1/2 pound of whatever meat you like. You could, theoretically, eliminate the other half pound of meat in exchange for doubling the TVP, I suppose, making this completely vegetarian. I haven't tried it but it should work.

TVP Meatloaf [printable recipe]

Makes 2 mini-loaves (serves 4)

  • 1/2 lb ground beef, lamb, buffalo or veal
  • 3/4 cup TVP
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan or Asiago, finely shredded
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley or 1/4 cup fresh
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chile powder
  • salt and pepper
  • ketchup, for topping

Preheat oven to 350F.

Soak TVP in veggie broth while you put everything else together. Combine everything else, save for ketchup, in a large bowl then add the TVP. Mix thoroughly.

Divide into two mini-loaf pans. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and spread a generous helping of ketchup over each. Return to the oven and bake for another 10 - 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160F.