Thursday, January 27, 2011

Veggie Loaf with Gravy

Loaf with mashed potatoes and gravy is one of the classic comfort foods in the U.S. Being a vegetarian, I wanted to try making a veggie loaf using some different grain other than the usual soy-based or brown rice. The veggie loaf can be prepared with several variations like oats, bulgar wheat, brown rice or even textured soy protein. I decided to go with bulgar wheat. This is a savory veggie loaf which is healthy and flavorful.


1 cup bulgar wheat
1 1/2 cup boiling water
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
8 - 10 oz mushrooms, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1-2 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
Salt, to taste
1/2 tsp black pepper powder
1-2 tsp cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)
1/2 tsp italian seasoning
1/2 -1 cup bread crumbs (whole wheat or regular)
2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
1/4 cup tomato ketchup or tomato sauce
Cooking spray, for coating the loaf pan


In a bowl, add the bulgar wheat and pour boiling water over it. Soak until the bulgar is tender and absorbs most of the water for about 15 mins.

In a nonstick pan, heat 2-3 tbsp of water (a trick I learned in one of the health books) and add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery and red bell pepper.  Cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the mushrooms and cook until the vegetables are soft and the mushrooms are brown, about 5 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Drain the excess water from the bulgar wheat.

In a bowl, add the bulgar wheat and vegetables. Add salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, italian seasoning, nutritional yeast (adds a cheesy flavor without the calories), tomato ketchup, walnuts, parsley and 1/2 cup bread crumbs (add more, if required) and  stir for 1-2 minutes until the mixture holds together.

Coat a 5ʺ x 9ʺ loaf pan with cooking spray and spread the loaf mixture and smooth the top. Top the loaf with tomato ketchup or sauce. Bake for 50-55 mins. Allow it to cool for 10 mins before slicing it.

Cut the loaf into 1/2ʺ slices and serve with mashed potatoes and gravy. You can use the left over slices as a sandwich filling to replace your usual burger patties.

To prepare the gravy:

2 cups water or vegetable broth
1 tsp garlic powder
2-3 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
Pepper, to taste
2 tbsp all purpose flour

In a saucepan,  dry roast the all purpose flour and add the vegetable broth and stir with a whisk until the mixture begins to thicken. When the gravy becomes thick, add the garlic powder, soy sauce and pepper.  If the gravy is too thick, add a little water to get the desired consistency.

Makes 12-14 slices.

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