I’ve had a bit of an obsession with vegetarian recipes of late, and have unwittingly built up something of a backlog of recipes. This recipe is one of the most recent, and has impressed me no end, so I thought I’d bring it to you all in time for Meatless Monday.
This recipe comes from an old American cookery book from the 1970s, and whilst new to me, a little hunting around the internet reveals that it’s a firm favourite in many households, with people waxing lyrical about their fond memories of this recipe from their childhood.
The recipe consists of a mixture of cottage cheese, regular cheese, eggs and seasonings and dry cereal flakes, which is then smoothed into a loaf tin and baked for 45 minutes. Best bit by far is how easy it is – it can all be done in one bowl!
During baking the cereal flakes absorb the liquid and set to, what appears to the innocent eye, to be a regular meatloaf. The original recipe wasn’t clear on which cereal flakes you should use, but again, from hunting around, it would appear that you can use whatever you have to hand. My choice of dark brown bran flakes meant that the baked loaf was closer to the appearance of a meatloaf, but the taste and flavour is much more savoury. And, of course, very filling.
And this brings me to another great aspect of this recipe – adaptability!
Other cereal choices people have made include corn flakes, Special K, rice crispies, quick-cook porridge oats – even saltine crackers! Using paler ingredients will naturally affect the finished colour of your loaf, but this can be adjusted, if liked, with a little gravy browning.
Other adaptations could be in the type of cheese – although I’ve not tried it, quark might be a suitable substitution for the cottage cheese, but it’s simple to substitute parmesan for the grana padano, stilton or other blue cheese for the cheddar, etc..
Onion variations could include caramelised onions, shallots, red, brown or white regular onions.
Don’t like walnuts? Use pecans instead. Or cashews, hazelnuts, almonds…
If you don’t have any vegetable bouillon powder, some people choose to add a packet of onion soup mix powder. Or use 2-3 tablespoons of Marmite/Vegemite. Or, in desperation, you could, as the original suggests, grate some stock cubes.
Others like to pack more vegetables in: lightly sauteed green peppers, mushrooms, pimentos… the possibilities are almost endless.
I like to bake the loaf as is, but another option would be to coat it with a tomato/barbecue sauce before baking. Your choice.
Finally, if this seems too large a quantity, you can either divide the recipe in half or by a third and bake in mini loaf tins for about 25-30 minutes, depending on the size of your mini tins. A full batch will make 4 mini loaves.
Cottage Cheese Loaf
As with regular meatloaf, this can be enjoyed either hot or cold. Zap slices in the microwave for a quick supper or use them for lunches. You can use the slices as a sandwich filling, but also to make the sandwich itself. Due to the cereal flakes, it might be a little carb-heavy as a filling for some. Since the baked loaf is very firm, you can also use cold slices as ‘bread’ and fill with lots of fresh salad for a fab savoury sandwich as in the photo above. Another option, also seen in the photo above, is to toast the slices in a dry pan over medium heat to crisp them up before use.
450g cottage cheese
3 large eggs
60ml vegetable oil
3 rounded tablespoons vegetable bouillon
5-6 spring onions – chopped as fine or as coarsly as you like
salt and pepper
40g grated grana padano cheese
85g tasty cheddar – grated
50g walnuts – chopped
300g branflakes – crushed
- Heat the oven to 190°C, 170°C Fan.
- Oil a large (1kg) loaf tin. After experimentation, I have decided I prefer a longer, narrower DRÖMMAR tin I bought at IKEA .
- Put the cottage cheese, eggs, milk, oil and bouillon into a liquidiser (or use a stick blender) and blend smooth. Pour into a large bowl.
- Stir through the remaining ingredients, mixing thoroughly. Season to your taste with salt and pepper (but remember that hard cheeses like grana padano and parmesan are already quite salty, as is the bouillon).
- Pour the mixture into the oiled tin and smooth the top.
- Bake for 45 minutes, turning the tin around after 25 minutes to ensure even baking.
- Allow to rest in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out.
- Enjoy hot or allow to cool, wrap in foil and store in the fridge.