The holidays are approaching fast, and therefore it’s time to start with the first preparations! My mom got remarried in the summer, and this year we will celebrate the holidays in a big patchwork-family fashion – which makes dinner planning slightly more difficult than usual. While most members of my patchwork-family insist on having a roast on Christmas Eve (the current plans involve rabbit roast), my stepsister and I don’t eat meat, and my mom started to worry about what so serve us as meat-free alternative. And by ‘worry’ I mean she started pestering me with increasingly urgent sounding e-mails asking for recipes. So I went on a little ‘holiday appropriate meat alternative invention’-trail, and tried out different types of dishes – with varying results. The vegan roast I tried to prepare came out kind of dry and crumbly, though that might be due to my probably-older-than-me stove. So, I changed tactics and went for pan-fried meat substitutes, and this recipe is the final result! The main ingredients are brown rice, rolled oats and mushrooms, which combine to a deliciously savoury flavour. You can also use quinoa or other grains instead of rice, I just went for the most common one to keep holiday shopping easier.
- 75 g brown rice (short-grain works best)
- 200 ml water
- 50 g rolled oats
- 150 ml hot vegetable stock
- 100 g brown or white mushrooms
- 1 small onion
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 – 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 – 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 – 2 teaspoons mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon powdered paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon lovage
- salt and pepper to taste
- vegetable oil for frying
Heat the 200 ml water in a small pot and boil the brown rice until tender. Drain any excess water and leave to cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, cover the rolled oats with the hot vegetable stock and allow 20 minutes for the oats to adsorb the fluid.
Cut the mushrooms and onion in small cubes. Heat the vegetable oil in a small pan and gently roast mushrooms and onion for three to five minutes. Make sure to use as little oil as possible – if your mixture is too oily, it will make it difficult to form meat loafs with it.
Combine oats, rice and the mushroom-onion mixture in a big bowl. Add cornstarch, breadcrumbs, tomato paste, mustard and spices and gently combine with your hands. If the mixture seems too crumbly, add a tablespoon of water, if it seems to dry, add some more breadcrumbs. You should end up with a well combined, firm and slightly sticky mixture.
Heat some vegetable oil in a frying pan. Wet your hands and form small meat loafs from the mixture – you can make them as small or big as you want, though I personally prefer to make them rather small (about one heaped tablespoon for one meat loaf). Gently fry the meat loafs for about 5 minutes on both sides. Enjoy!
Note: This makes about 8 small meat loafs, which should serve up to four persons in a three course menu. Since this dish contains mushrooms, I strongly advice you not to prepare them for a buffet – you should either eat them right from the pan (with a detour to your plate of course) or immediately refrigerate any leftovers to keep them from spoiling.