My elderly friend gave me a vegetarian recipe for a meat substitute over thirty years ago. I have a hunch she had made this recipe a lot longer than I have and estimate the recipe to be 60 years old or older. She made it a couple of times a week. It has been one of my families favorite recipes and my kids still make it. We all have changed the recipe along the way for our taste. I can't tell you how many different versions of this; I have made and every-time it turns out great. This recipe preps fast for baking, with a savory flavor, nice texture and is very nutritious.
I do not plan on making a large turkey for dinner this year, keeping everything simple, so I decided to see what I could do with this recipe to mimic a poultry flavor for Thanksgiving and reduce the ingredients so we did not have to eat it for a week. I also decided to make patties for both breakfast and lunch. I actually made this recipe twice the past couple of days, so I could share the patties and suggestions for the sauces.
Follow through and let's get cooking~
Step 1: Budget Tips
I have been cooking from scratch for many years, reducing the ingredients that goes into our food and saved money in the process.
I purchase organic when I can. I choose organic foods that I eat the most and buy regular for the rest. I will pay a little extra for specialty seasonings or oils to flavor some of the cheaper foods I purchase.
I always serve a raw fresh salad, raw fruit, or raw vegetable with every meal.
I purchase vegetables in season because they are usually cheaper.
When we order take out, we save the condiments because they are in small packages that store for a long time. Jams, ketchup, mustard, sweet and sour sauces, crackers, soy sauce,dressings,and BBQ sauce to name a few. If you are on a tight budget you can substitute a condiment for the gravy in this recipe, that goes with poultry or use a different seasoning that compliments what you will be using.
Canned milk is nice to have for cooking if you don't drink a lot of milk. You can freeze milk, tomatoes (for cooking purposes), and herbs before they spoil.
Fresh herbs can be stored in a glass of water on the counter by changing the water regularly or before they spoil hang them upside down with a string and dry them.
Potatoes spoil faster if stored in the refrigerator.
I cook extra when I can, for the days that I am too busy to cook or when I am not feeling well.
Step 2: Ingredients and Utensils
Ingredients check list:
Vegetarian loaf: Oatmeal is similar to tofu it absorbs the flavors from seasonings, and fruits and vegetables that makes it versatile in vegetarian cooking.
1 cup water or vegetable stock (you could use turkey stock if you aren't a vegetarian
1 glass of water or stock for basting not shown
2 cups Old Fashioned oats (not instant or quick)
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup fresh diced parsley (or dried parsley to taste), reserving 1 fresh for garnish or you may use rosemary like I did.
1/4 cup crushed crackers,(or fresh cubed or dried bread crumbs)
1/8 cup flour, (applesauce, or an egg if you like) (this is used to help bind the ingredients).
1/8 cup soy sauce
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
pecans if desired (boost the flavor a lot).I used sunflower seeds this time but I like pecans better.
pink salt or any salt, fresh ground black pepper or any black pepper and poultry seasoning (to taste).
For breakfast patties you might omit the broth and use milk, almond milk, apple sauce, and cinnamon or make sausage type links and flavor accordingly.
Canned cranberry sauce or you can make your own from fresh cranberries.
Chopped orange, orange zest,orange rind for bowl, diced celery and diced pecans if you like extra flavor and crunchiness.
Fresh green beans, diced mushrooms, reserve whole mushrooms for garnish.
1 or morered potatoes (or russet), parsley, 1 or more garlic cloves and olive oil or butter.
1 package dry vegetarian (vegetable or poultry flavored) gravy mix that you add water or broth to.
Sometimes I add yeast flakes to mine for a flavor boost.
Oven proof skillet with lid/ or crock pot/ toaster oven, Pressure cooker with steamer basket, tin foil, knife, grater is (optional), spoon, measuring cups and spoons, cardboard and parchment paper for cutting board or regular cutting board, mixing bowl, 2 pencils or skewers,or chop sticks. A person could use empty containers for some of these items.
Step 3: Wash Dice and Measure
Wash dice and measure all the ingredients.
Place 2 pencils on the table and set the potato on top of them.
Slice the potato while it is resting on the pencils to prevent you from slicing the spud in half.
Step 4: Potato
I modified this procedure to make it easier.
Pre-heat oven to 325-350 Degrees F I used 325 so I did not forget to turn down the heat when I added the loaf and green beans.
Place small garlic slivers in-between the slices in the potato.
Drizzle the potato with olive oil.
Sprinkle parsley, salt, and pepper if desired over the potato.You could add bacon or cheese and different seasonings if you wanted to.
Cover the potato with tin foil and bake for about 45 minutes depending on the size of the potato.
Step 5: Saute'
You may omit this step if you like and go to the next step. Some people like the flavor of crispier veggies but my hubby likes them well cooked. When you consider you are making a main dish for 3 -4 - separate meals for one person, the extra ten minutes is not that long. You decide.
Add oil and butter to the oven proof pan. The butter keeps the garlic from burning optional.
Turn heat to low- medium. Saute (lightly) the green beans, and diced mushrooms.
Remove green bean mixture from the pan.
Saute' the celery and onions until tender.
Remove celery and onions from the pan.
Proceed to the next step.
Step 6: Make Loaf and Shape Ingredients
Begin baking the loafs or patties about 20 minutes before the potatoes will be done.
Place oatmeal into a small bowl.
Add crushed crackers (or bread crumbs, and flour or egg or applesauce), to the bowl.
Add salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning and (dried parsley if you are using it).
Add Sauteed onions and celery, chopped parsley, and soy sauce to this mixture and stir.
Slowly pour the vegetable broth into the bowl,(reserving at least 1/4 cup for basting or if needed) mixing and adding until the mixture bonds together nicely. You might have some left over depending on the mixture.
I usually taste the mixture because I am always trying something new (as long as I didn't add raw eggs). I might add more herbs.
Shape the mixture into a loaf or patties.
Place a couple of whole mushrooms in the top of the loaf and pour some of the vegetable broth over the top.
Add some vegetable broth to the bottom of the pan to prevent the bottom of the pan from drying out. Add more during baking process if needed.
Place the loaf or patties into the oven proof skillet with an oven proof lid or tin foil and add the green bean mixture along the side.
Bake the beans and loaves in the oven along with the potato at 325 degrees F for at least 20 minutes or until everything is done. Baste the loaves and patties a couple of times through the process to keep them from drying out if needed.
While this is baking, make the cranberry sauce.
Sometimes I will double the recipe and divide it into groups and flavor the groups using different seasonings to make them taste like turkey, chicken, beef, or pork. I use the loaves for dinner or patties for breakfast or lunch. I used different sauces over the top depending on the type of meal I am planning.
Step 7: Cranberry Sauce
I cut an orange in half and removed the insides; carefully (do not to tear the orange peel).
I added the diced celery, orange zest and orange pieces (to taste) to the cranberry sauce and filled one orange peel ( bowl).You can make as many as you like; using the orange peel for a bowl.
Step 8: Gravy
You can make the gravy before you begin cooking the loaves by mixing it with water and add it to the pan a few minutes before the meal has finished cooking or after the meal is done, using the same skillet or you can make the gravy using a small sauce pan at anytime during the process of making the meal.
After the meal is done, pour some gravy over the loaves while the pan is still hot. Then serve.
Step 9: Sunshiine's Final Thoughts
This years Thanksgiving dinner will be a breeze and the first one I ever made in under an hour. That is a record in my book. My husband and I thought this meal was a nice change and it has some hint of flavors associated with a turkey dinner, without the trimmings and pumpkin pie of course. I might try it using turkey broth one day. I hope you will give it a try.
I will be sharing another vegetarian dish in the very near future so please stop in soon and find out what's cooking~
I would like to thank Instructables and contributors for making this website a great place to share projects. Thanks so much for stopping by and do have a Safe and Happy Holiday Season.