My Favorite Meatless "Meatloaf"
This meatless “meatloaf” recipe is my go-to meatless main course. It is everything you crave in a meatloaf – a hearty, savory loaf that is perfect with mashed potatoes and your favorite gravy. It somehow manages to achieve a “meaty” flavor and even looks pretty “meaty” when you slice it up + serve it!
I’ve brought this bad boy to family dinners, holidays, and potlocks and usually end up giving out the recipe to at least half the people who try it. I can’t count the number of times I’ve made this loaf and it seems like everytime I whip up the recipe it gets better.
I’m going to be blunt and point out that this is not a very photogenic loaf (or recipe!). It honestly looks like a bowl of… well… puke before it hits the oven. But make it for yourself and then judge- I promise that the flavor is so satisfying you’ll forget what the mixture looked like before baking.
Another note, this is one of those dishes that is always always better the next day when everything gets a chance to firm up and all the flavors really mingle but it’s great right out of the oven too!
16 ounces of cottage cheese (full fat is best)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 (1 ounce) packet of onion soup mix
1 generous cup of finely chopped walnuts
2 cups of corn flakes
1 small onion (finely chopped… about 1/2 cup or more if you love onions)
Pepper to taste
You Will Need:
A loaf pan (I use my Pryex pan most of the time but one time I made this recipe in my MIL’s Pampered Chef stoneware loaf pan and it made the edges of it so crispy!)
A Ninja or food processor (I LOVE my Ninja… but we can talk about that later. You can’t really chop your walnuts or onions fine enough by hand so having the help of a chopper machine is definitely the way to go!)
An oven… obvs.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Prep/ pre-measure all of your ingredients if you are feeling fancy. It sort of helps the mixing process along.
Start by adding your packet of onion soup mix, oil, and eggs to your cottage cheese. Mix all of that yummy stuff up until it basically looks like barf. I’ll add a couple turns of pepper into this wet mix.
Once all of your “wet” ingredients have been mixed up, throw your walnuts into your Ninja or food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped but not mushy. Here is a really appetizing photo for reference of the level of crumb you’re going for.
I always chop my walnuts first and then chop my onions separately using the same container. If you pulse the two ingredients together it will make the walnuts all wet and they can get soggy. Do your walnuts first, remove them from the chopper machine, then chop up the onions. There’s no need to clean the bowl/container in between… the wetness of the onions actually helps get some of the little bits of walnuts out!
After chopping the walnuts + onions add them to the wet mixture and fold in. The only thing left to do now is add the corn flakes! It seems totally counterintuitive but you don’t crush or crumb the corn flakes at all… you just leave them in their full flaky glory and pour/fold them into the wet mix to evenly distribute. The corn flakes are what give this loaf such a great texture so try to keep them intact while mixing. Don’t smush the flakes!
The final mixture is a sort of terrifying chunky savory version of a special k bar but don’t think about that too much… just get it into a well greased loaf pan and pop it in the oven!
Your loaf will bake for about 60-70 minutes. Remove the loaf from the oven when the top is slightly browned and the edges are getting a little crispy. Let your loaf sit for 10 minutes before serving and like I said before… wait until the following day or a few hours after making for optimal loaf-i-ness.
I will usually serve this vegetarian loaf with mashed potatoes and green beans – it’s such a comforting meal and it’s so easy to make! We usually keep the ingredients around the house (we buy walnuts in bulk because Seth is a walnut freak) and I stock up on onion soup mix packets – the only ingredient I ever find that I have to run out for is the cottage cheese. The leftovers are delish and can be reheated in the microwave for a few minutes before eating.
I hope you give this vegetarian loaf a try the next time you’re entertaining guests or having a “Meatless Monday”…. just don’t let anyone see the loaf “in progress” since they might wonder whether or not your serving them up a hot dish of upchuck.