Over the past three years or so my husband and I have been transitioning from full fledge, meat at every meal eaters, to vegan. Right now, we are about 98% of the way there as there have been a time here or there that we have eaten cheese or eggs but they are rare occurrences. And less and less as time goes on.
This is a post that I wrote about a year an half ago…. one of the last times I ate meat and what spurred the final push into a fully vegan/plant-based lifestyle shift!
When I practice veganism a 100%, I feel like a million bucks. But through the long transition there have been times when it was easy to slip back into old habits, even though my beliefs on the harm it can cause to my body and my planet haven’t changed.
This week I was fixing to make a simple pasta dinner. We usually have some sort of noodle, tomato basil sauce with some textured veggie protein mixed in, for texture and, well, protein. I was digging around in my freezer for some bread to coat in garlic and found that there was some ground beef, tucked in the back, leftover from the holidays.
I hate letting food go to waste… I have done it far too often and have vowed to try and end that overindulgent, American tendency. So I thought, to use it up, I will just add it to this sauce and make a simple meat sauce. I used to do it all the time.
I am no stranger to cooking red meat. I have cooked steaks, ground beef into burgers and loafs, mixed it into pasta and chilis… but cooking it this time was different. I was defrosting it, thinking… man that it literal blood there on the plate… but I pushed through.
Frying it up, I thought, this is familiar but something tastes a little off. This was one of my favorite meals growing up, and I was following the same steps as my parents did when they made this quick meal on week nights.
My husband and I sat down to eat our bowls of pasta… and with one bite I knew I would never have this same meal again… All I could taste was blood. That thick, iron slickness in my mouth. It crowded all the other flavors. It was all I could taste. I finished what I could and promptly made myself a smoothie to mask the taste.
I think the major problem people have switching to a all plant diet is the sense of familiarity and comfort they have around meals and the confusion that comes with extracting the meat from them.
One of my familiar comfort foods was my grandma’s meat loaf. Her recipe calls for 1.5 lbs of ground beef. That is 18,013.5 gallons of water according to vegsource.com.
We can’t have that now, can we.
So here is my solution: 3 Bean Loaf. In my opinion it is even tastier than where I drew my inspiration.
- 1 Large tin of Garbanzo Beans
- 1 small tin of black beans
- 2 small tin of butter beans
- 2/3 cup cooked lentils
- 2/3 cup quick oats
- ½ cup finely chopped white onion
- 2 small tins of tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons Worcester sauce
- ½ tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 vegetable broth
- lots of pepper
- Ketchup for on top
- Set your oven to 400 degrees.
- Mash up all three tins of beans together, leaving some texture.
- Add in the lentils and continue to mash- just to incorporate.
- Add in all other ingredients and mix until combined.
- Place into a greased/oiled loaf pan and coat with ketchup on top of the loaf.
- Cook in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until brown around the edges and on top.
- Let cool for about ten minutes, covered with foil then serve with mashed potatoes and garlicky brussel sprouts.
This makes enough for one full bean loaf and 9 good size burger patties. I usually cook the bean loaf off first then cook the burger patties at 400 degrees for 8 minutes and then flip for another 8 minutes. We have the loaf for dinner and either freeze the burgers or put them in the fridge to eat throughout the week.
We make the burgers up with all the same fixings as a regular burger and pair them with some vegan mac and cheese and my homemade potato wedges!