When I lived in San Diego, one of my favorite places to eat in town was Jyoti-Bihanga, a tasty vegetarian/vegan restaurant run by the Sri Chinmoy folks. If you aren't familiar with them, I'll tell you this - they make a fantastic fake meatloaf, they call it Neatloaf.
You can imagine how excited I was a few years back when a friend of mine e-mailed me the recipe, so now I can have delicious Neatloaf in the comfort of my own home. The recipe as it stands is vegetarian, you'll need to replace the eggs with an equivalent amount of egg substitute to make it vegan, switch the ricotta cheese with soy cheese (the Tofutti "cream cheese" works well) or silken tofu, and double check the Lipton Onion Soup Mix as well.
This recipe makes enough for plenty of leftovers (though I usually double or triple the recipe), and reheating my lunch at work the next day has led many people to inquire about this dish. I can proudly say that several people have tried this recipe and really enjoyed it.
Also, since I cook for a Celiac sufferer, I make it gluten free by simply replacing the Special K with gluten free corn flakes, which changes the consistency a little bit, but keeps the recipe well within the realm of "delicious". Here are the ingredients for the Neatloaf:
- 4 large eggs (use egg substitute if vegan)
- 1/4 cup Lipton Onion Soup Mix (or you can substitute "Better Than Bouillon" - Vegetarian No Chicken Base if you're worried that the Lipton Onion isn't purely gluten free)
- 1/3 lb low-fat ricotta cheese (substitute soy cheese if vegan)
- 1/3 lb firm tofu (squished up into small pieces)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil, of choice
- 1/3 cup onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon basil
- 1/4 teaspoon rosemary
- 4 cups Special K cereal (substitute gluten free Chex for GF version)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic
Here are the ingredients for the sauce:
- 1/2 cup ketchup (you can also substitute catsup)
- 1/8 cup Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
- Cayenne pepper (to taste - a pinch is plenty for me)
- Heat oven to 300°F.
- Saute the onions and garlic (in just a little bit of oil).
- Beat eggs in bowl, the mix together all ingredients except Special K.
- Mix well, and add Special K last.
- Turn into a pan sprayed with cooking oil. You can use either a 7×9 or 8×8 pan.
- Bake 1 hour.
- While Neatloaf cooks prepare sauce, whisking together all sauce ingredients in a bowl. I typically like a lot of sauce so I double the sauce part.
- Remove loaf from oven, pour sauce over the loaf and cook an additional 10 minutes.
- When loaf is done, if you can avoid the temptation, it's best to let it sit for 10-15 minutes
The Sri Chinmoy folks have restaurants all over the US (each restaurant is named differently but all are affiliated/inspired by him), and I'd highly recommend visiting, the Neatloaf always seems better at the restaurant no matter how well I make it home. And in the interest of full disclosure, they are some kind of religious movement/cult, so if you're wary of that sort of thing, take heed. Suffice to say though that I've been there dozens of times and have yet to be recruited....maybe I'm not cult-worthy.