As has been discussed in previous entries, the transition from omnivore to herbivore can be difficult for some vegetarian hopefuls. Some people truly miss the taste of meat, and others, like myself, are just constantly on the prowl for better recipes and vegetarian options.
I haven't had real meatloaf since probably very early in elementary school, and I remember disliking it. I honestly can't remember the taste, but I like to make "faux meat" dishes for my boyfriend to enjoy with me. Even for meat-eaters, supplementing fatty animal carcasses with vegan food can often quite nutritional and surprisingly yummy.
I found a recipe online for a vegetarian meatloaf and had to give it a shot, mainly out of morbid curiosity. Some of the ingredients--for example, an entire 12 oz. bottle of BBQ sauce--are nearly foreign to vegans and vegetarians; I had to try this out and find out what "meatloaf" was all about. I was anticipating a meal as unsavory as I remembered real meatloaf being.
To my shock, I loved it. As always, I overdid the spices, which certainly made it appetizing to my seasoning-loving taste buds, but it was actually the soft texture of the soy beef crumbles, baked in warm BBQ sauce, that was most delectable. We vegetarians are used to casseroles, salads, pasta dishes--not a completely "imitation meat" dish. I immediately asked my boyfriend to try it. He said, "Vegetarian meatloaf?" and crinkled his nose. I insisted, and as soon as he tried it, his facial expression softened. "Mmmm." He nodded approvingly. "That is good." He said it wasn't an exact match to the taste of meatloaf, but was still pretty tasty.
So that old expression, "Don't knock it til you try it," certainly goes for this surprisingly tasty and extremely healthy dish. Having not enjoyed meatloaf as a kid, I was stunned how much I liked eating the veggie meatloaf. Pair it with some dinner roles and mac'n'cheese for some cooking that will remind you of all those meat-based meals you were forced to eat as a kid. Or is that just me who remembers childhood that way...?