Comfort foods. When most people think of comfort foods one of the classic choices is meat loaf. It is a savory, easy to eat and swallow entree that is often pared with comforting side dishes like mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese. The beauty of meat loaf is that you can serve it for dinner one night and the left overs are even better to make grilled sandwiches with the next day, or the next week if you freeze it. While adjusting to a more heavily plant based diet I have tried to take classic recipes and reinvent them in either a vegan or vegetarian safe version. As it turns out, we LOVE chickpeas or Garbanzo beans. These little beans pack a wallop of fiber, protein and nutrition. They have a pleasing nut-like taste and buttery, starchy texture that is so very versatile. Garbanzos are featured in many Middle Eastern and Indian dishes like hummus, falafels and curries. But you can also use the beans to make a gluten free flour and a batter. This is what triggered me to use it to make a savory loaf.
Let’s get started! Preheat your oven to 350º. The first step was to create a soffrito base by pureeing the tomato, onion & celery tops with a pinch of sea salt in my Ninja processor. From here I switched over to dry ingredients; grinding the oats into a flour and stirring my oat flour in with all the dry seasonings in a mixing bowl. Add your soffrito to the dry stuff and mix together with one egg. Already it is forming a batter.
Drain your chickpeas and add a tablespoon of minced garlic or a couple of cloves of fresh garlic to the processor bowl with the Neufchâtel Cream Cheese and process it to a chunky consistency. Now you can scoop the cheesy mashed chickpeas into the oat flour/soffritto mixture and fork mash the whole of it together.
Add one teaspoon of Sesame Oil to your baking pan and spread it all over the bottom and on the sides with a silicone spatula.
Bake at 350º for 30 minutes and then allow the loaf to rest about 15 minutes before you de-pan it onto a cutting surface.
Slice the loaf into thin bars. Enough slices to prep four healthy sandwiches – 2 tonight and 2 for another time. Or, to serve as an entree with mashed cauliflower!!
These babies are ready for the grill pan! To make the twice cooked sandwiches, lay bars on their sides in groups of three (fits nicely on my grilling spatula). Grill for 2-3 minutes on each side. Assemble your sandwiches and eat well!
- 1 can chickpeas warmed and drained
- ¼ slice of an 8oz bar of Neufchâtel Cream Cheese
- ½ Med Onion, chopped
- ½ Cup Celery tops
- 1 Medium Tomato chopped
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 Large Egg
- ¾ Cup Oats
- 1 TBSP Minced Garlic
- ¼ tsp Vegetable Bouillon powder
- 1/8 tsp Cayenne
- ½ tsp Ms. Dash No Salt Blend of herbs and spices
- 1 tsp Dry Kelp flakes
- 1 tsp Sesame Oil
- Preheat oven to 350º F
- Puree tomato, onion & celery with salt and set aside in a mixing bowl..
- Grind oats to flour and stir in all dry seasonings.
- Fold dry ingredients into the tomato mixture and add 1 egg.
- Process drained chickpeas with garlic and cream cheese. Leave a little chunky.
- Use a fork to fold mashed chickpeas/cheese into the oats mixture.
- Oil loaf pan with sesame oil.
- Bake in 350º oven for 30 minutes
- Allow to rest 15 minutes before de-panning
- Slice in even pieces to serve.
- Store in fridge overnight to make grilled loaf sandwiches the next day.