Mama’s Stuffed Veggie Loaf (Gluten-Free)
You know how some meals have the ability to transport you back to your childhood?
Maybe it’s warm cookies with milk or a nice, big bowl of Cocoa Puffs, where you get to slurp up the chocolate milk after eating every little round ball of chocolately goodness?
Okay, so I may have more than one thing takes me back in time, but for now we’re going to focus on meatloaf. Mama’s stuffed meatloaf, to be exact. I always loved my mom’s meatloaf and my favorite part was finding the ooey, gooey cheese that she cleverly stuffed in the middle.
Man, I just couldn’t wait to get to that cheese.
Now that I’m older, I realize that Cocoa Puffs and ground beef probably aren’t the two healthiest options for my diet…nor are they a good combo…bleh, sorry for that visual. I know cheese really isn’t the best for you either but I just can’t get away from that stuff.
So I created a healthier loaf to help balance out the cheese. The ingredient list is a little length but the end result is worth it.
Mama’s Stuffed Veggie Loaf (Gluten-Free)
- 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 ounce) can red beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup beluga lentils, soaked overnight and rinsed
- 1/2 cup quinoa, soaked overnight and rinsed
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced (approx. 1 cup)
- 1 bell pepper, diced (approx. 1 cup)
- 1 small sweet potato, cooked and separated from skin (about 3/4 cup)
- 1/2 cup oat flour
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced (approx. 1 tablespoon)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire (Annie’s Naturals is vegan)
- 2 tablespoons ketchup or tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 4 slices of cheese (I used colby jack) or vegan cheese
- 1 egg, beaten (substitute 1/2 cup warm water + 3 tablespoons ground flax for vegan version)
Makes 2 Veggie Loaves
Fill two separate pots with 1 and 1/2 cups of water each and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Place the pre-soaked and rinsed quinoa in one and lentils in the other and cook for about 15 minutes.
To save a little moola, you can use a food processor to grind up whole oats into oat four yourself.
If you don’t have a food processor, I highly recommend getting one as it can save a lot of time chopping veggies and mincing garlic for you.
Also, I find microwaving the sweet potato in a paper towel for about 5 to 6 minutes (depending on the size) is the quickest way to prepare it.
Next, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a sauté pan. Add the garlic and onion and sauté for several minutes. Then add the diced bell pepper and continue to cook for another 3 minutes before setting aside.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and remove cooked quinoa and lentils from stove. After allowing them to cool for several minutes, place both of them in a large bowl and stir to combine.
Next, combine the drained and rinsed black and red beans in a food processor and pulse until a chunky texture is achieved.
Add the black and red bean mixture to the large bowl and stir to combine.
Then add the other two tablespoons of olive oil, Worcestershire, chopped walnuts, ketchup, sweet potato, and seasonings and mix together.
Lastly, add in the beaten egg, oat flour, ground flax seed and cooked veggies then stir to combine.
Once you are done preparing the loaf, grease two small loaf pans or one casserole dish, for example an 8 x 8” dish. Spread about 1 cup of the mixture (or half of it if you are using one casserole dish) into the bottom of the loaf pan and smooth down with the back of a spoon. Then layer the slices of cheese on top.
The first time I made this (in the picture above), I divided the slices of cheese but the second time, I just placed the whole two slices on top so that every piece would have some cheese in it. I preferred it the second way but feel free to make them hunt for the cheese if you like! Finally, add another cup of the loaf mixture on top and spread with the spoon until smooth.
Cook in the preheated oven for 45 minutes and serve warm so cheese is nice and gooey!
You can’t go wrong with anything that has cheese stuffed inside, am I right?
Although making this loaf requires a little bit of labor, you are able to get two loafs with about 4 servings from each loaf. I made one which we ate for dinner one night and lunch the next day and then froze the other one (after cooking it) in a Ziploc Freezer container. After defrosting in the refrigerator, all I did was microwave it for about 3 minutes and dinner was served. If you want to make one instead of two, simply half the recipe and use only one can of beans (red or black) instead of both.
What meal takes you back to your childhood?