A Meatless Meatloaf Recipe So Perfect, It Will Fool Even the Most Carnivorous of Carnivores

There’s no shortage of meatless meat recipes on the Internet. But if you ask any committed carnivore, they will tell you that no matter how much quinoa or rolled oats you put into a dish, they will never be fooled. Meatless just tastes different.

Until now.

Now there’s the Perfect Meatless Meatloaf. With this meatloaf, you will never again hear complaints from your bloodthirsty friends and family when you try to get them to eat a little less animal protein and a little more bean paste.

First, make a meatloaf as you normally would. This step is important. This meatloaf must in all ways be a regular, meat-filled meatloaf. Your carnivores must see you making it, smell you baking it, and hear you mumbling the directions to yourself: “Okay, so now I start mixing the meat with bread crumbs. Okay, then I add a beaten egg to the meat mixture. Good. Wow, that’s a lot of meat.”

Second, just before serving, send the carnivores out to buy you something. Maybe you need beer, or Mass Effect 4, or new slippers. Oh no! You just realized you need those things, but you can’t go get them! Your hands are covered in meat! See? Look at how much meat there is!

When they get back, they will never realize the trick you have played on them. Serve up the meatloaf you made, then sit back and let the compliments roll in. “This is really great meatloaf! I can totally taste the meat! Delicious!” I guarantee, no one will accuse you of serving up a nutloaf covered in ketchup.

Suckers.

Shepherd’s Pie, With Substitutions (A Weight Loss Tale)

It’s been about a year since I started following the slow-carb diet in Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Body. Although I haven’t supplemented the diet with the drugs, workouts, or ice baths, that Ferriss talks about in the book, I’ve been diligent about the foods to avoid, and I’ve seen results: 20 lbs over a year, without adding any exercise to my routine.

It’s not magic. I lost the majority of that during the first few months, and I’ve basically just been keeping weight off for the rest of the time. Even without weight loss, though, the body re-shaping has proceeded; I’ve continued to lose inches of fat, slowly, but consistently.

At the one-year mark I decided to add in regular exercise to see what would happen (though not the workouts from the book). Having figured out how to be committed to something like a diet for a year, it has been fairly easy to commit to an exercise routine. Again, it’s not magic; more like inertia. I figured out how to forget to stop.

The hardest part hasn’t been cravings, or finding things to eat when we’re out (I’ve just gotten really, really good at cobbling meals together at restaurants); the hardest part is that I often cook two separate meals for dinner. One meal is whatever I’m going to be eating, which has at times been as simple as eggs, with spinach and a can of beans; the other meal is for Emily and the kids, and might contain interesting things like rice or potatoes. Often, I’ll cook a protein for both groups, and a vegetable side, and just substitute beans or lentils for whatever starchy, carby thing they’re going to eat. Sometimes it’s been hard to miss out on old dishes I used to eat, and I’ve been looking for substitutes. Spaghetti squash, for instance, though not a real substitute for spaghetti, can give you something to twirl on a fork with a spaghetti sauce.

I’ve also noticed that lentils can be cooked, flavoured, and mashed down to a consistency and density that isn’t too far off from mashed potatoes, so tonight I thought I would try doing a shepherd’s pie with a mashed lentil substitution. I’ve been wondering for a while if this could work.

I cooked potatoes for Emily and the kids, and lentils for me (in a chicken stock, with butter) and then browned some onions, and cooked some carrots, celery, ground turkey, and peas together in a single pot. I layered the turkey mix in two separate casserole dishes, then mashed the potatoes and lentils. The lentils needed a little more chicken stock added after cooking to make the mash really effective (and some salt and pepper to taste), but in the end the lentil layer worked great.

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I covered the casseroles with foil, then baked them in the oven at 350 for about twenty minutes. The lentils even bound together, and to the turkey mixture, in the same way the potatoes did. I was very, very pleased with the result.

(Okay, so it’s not shepherd’s pie. In fact, as soon as I didn’t use lamb it wasn’t going to be shepherd’s pie. I don’t know what a person who raises turkeys is called, but it was a slow-carb version of a That-Person Pie.)

I have no reason to stop eating the way I do (a recent physical basically said I was fine, though I should exercise more, which I’m doing), and I have a new experiment going on (the exercise routines), and I’d like to see where it all ends up. Maybe someday I’ll fit into the suit I wore to my high school graduation.

Shawn's High School Graduation

(This picture makes me laugh, because clearly I ate that guy. And he was all ears and Adam’s apple.)

Beans Beans. They’re Good for the Heart. Something Something Something Fart. (Now with an update: Please ignore previous version of this.)

BeansThis was originally a very funny post ranting against soaking beans. I suggested just cooking them in a slow cooker all day (in part because the Larousse Gastronomique opposes soaking beans). Then someone was all “kidney bean poisoning” in the comments and I went and Googled things on the Interweb and OH MY GOD DON’T DO IT!!!!!!

Actually, the worry seems to be that if you undercook beans, you increase the risk of this particular kind of food poisoning. And if you undercook beans at a temperature like 175 Fahrenheit you actually increase the risk of this about fivefold. Apparently there are a lot of slow cookers out there that can’t get your food higher than that temperature range.

I do not want you to spend all day in the bathroom.

Go soak your beans.