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How to Make Quinoa and Mushroom “Meatloaf”

Quinoa and mushroom "meatloaf"

After six weeks of a relatively meat-heavy diet, Lindsay and I have been eager to get back to more vegetable-based meals. This “meatloaf” turned out to be a great winter vegetable half-way point, and great comfort food as well.

This dish is tasty and texturally pretty close to the real thing. Better yet, this vegetarian “meatloaf” contains quinoa, which is one of those so-called “super-foods”. It looks and tasted like a cereal or grain, but it isn’t. It’s high in nutrients and protein.


We served this “meatloaf” with vegetarian mushroom gravy (see the link for the recipe) and mashed potatoes (see the bottom of this post). Yum.

Quinoa and mushroom “meatloaf”


Amount Ingredient Preparation Where we bought it
(* Union Sq. Greenmarket)
1 cup Quinoa Rinsed and drained
2 cups Water
2 TBsp Sunflower oil Can substitute olive oil Stolor Organics (sold by Cayuga Organics) *
0.5 lbs Carrots Diced, can substitute 2 stalks of celery Paffenroth Gardens *
1 Medium onion Diced Paffenroth Gardens *
1.5 tsps Kosher salt
12 oz. Mushrooms
(we used crimini)
Thinly sliced Bulich Mushroom Farm *
1.5 cups Wheat germ
1 cup Walnuts Toasted and ground
0.5 cup Bread crumbs
1 Large egg Lightly whisked Northshire Farm
1 TBsp Dried sage
2 tsps Dried thyme
1 tsps Dried rosemary Crumbled with your fingers
As desired Black pepper Freshly ground


  1. In a sauce pan, bring the 2 cups of water to a boil on high heat. Putting a lid on the pan will make the process faster. Add the quinoa, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 15 – 20 minutes, until the water is absorbed. Set it aside.
  2. While the quinoa is simmering, slice the mushrooms and dice the onion and carrots.

    Onion, mushrooms, and (yellow) carrotDiced onions and yellow carrots

  3. Heat the 2 TBsp of oil in a skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrot, and salt and sauté for about 5 minutes until the onions become translucent. Add the mushrooms and continue to sauté, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms release their juices, and then continue until the mixture evaporates most of its moisture, about 10 minutes.

    Sliced mushroomsSautéing onions, yellow carrots, and mushrooms

  4. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put a quarter-sized pool of the sunflower or olive oil in the bottom of a loaf pan and rub it around the bottom and sides of the pan with a paper towel.
  5. Toast whole walnuts or pieces in a skillet for about 8 minutes. When done, grind the walnuts in a food processor or coffee grinder, or alternately use a knife to chop them very finely.

    Toasting the walnuts

  6. Whisk the egg in the bottom of a large bowl. When done, add the wheat germ, breadcrumbs, ground walnuts, ground pepper, and herbs to the bowl.

    Wheat germ, breadcrumbs, ground walnut, egg, and herbs

  7. Add the sautéed onions, mushrooms, and carrots, as well as the quinoa , to the large bowl containing the other ingredients and mix thoroughly. Use your hands to pack it tightly into the loaf pan. It should all fit into a single loaf pan if you pack it tightly enough.

    Ready to go in the oven

  8. Bake for 1 hour, until the top is nicely browned. Let it cool for 10 minutes. Loosen the sides using a spatula. Place the serving plate upside-down on top of the loaf pan and flip it over to release it onto the plate. Carefully lift the load pan off of the “meatloaf”.

    Out of the ovenOut of the pan

Mashed potatoes


Amount Ingredient Preparation Where we bought it
(* Union Sq. Greenmarket)
1.5 to 2 lbs German butterball potatoes Scrubbed, eyes and bad spots removed Berried Treasures *
0.5 cup Buttermilk Tonjes Farm Dairy *
1 large pinch Kosher salt
As desired Black pepper Freshly ground


  1. Scrub the potatoes. Remove any eyes and cut out any bad spots.


  2. Bring a pot full of water to a boil. Add the potatoes and continue the boil for about 30 minutes, or until they are very soft. They are done when you can very easily puncture them with a butter knife, and the skin may crack open when you do so.

    Boiled potatoes

  3. Drain the pot and put the potatoes into a large bowl. Cut them into smaller pieces (quarters). Add the buttermilk, salt, and pepper and use a masher or large fork to thoroughly mash the potatoes. If you want to, you can pull out the skins now, rather than mashing them in.

    Mashed potatoes

Bringing it all together

You can chop the onions and mushrooms for the gravy at the same time as that for the “meatloaf”. You can prepare the potatoes and the gravy while the “meatloaf” is in the oven. Plate them together for a delicious meal:

Plated and served

5 comments to How to Make Quinoa and Mushroom “Meatloaf”

  • Jen

    Mmm… looks good. But my kids fear “chunks” in their food (they have learned I may be sneaking in something dreadfully nutritious) so do you think this loaf would stay together if I slightly ground the main ingredients in a food processor instead of dicing/slicing? Looks delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Erik

      Hi Jen,

      I’d have to think that it would stay together even better. The key to the “chunks” method is that you really have to press it firmly into the pan, both to make it fit and to get it to stick together. I would think that blending / processing it would help on both counts.

      The gravy would definitely work processes because you just mix the mushrooms and onions in at the last minute, after the gravy has gelled.


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