Although Houston certainly has a decent amount of restaurants serving vegan food, my wallet wouldn't allow me to eat every dinner out during Vegan Dreamquest. On the second night, my friend Kattie and I hosted a potluck dinner, inviting our omnivorous and herbivorous cohorts to try their hands at going vegan as well.
My contribution to the meal, a cold quinoa salad with zucchini, was delicious but sort of a cop-out in that I picked it up from WholeFoods rather than making it myself. I was definitely shown up by Kattie, whose vegan beetloaf was the pièce de résistance.
Kattie adapted the recipe of vegan cook/blogger The Stripey Cat by adding a layer of spinach and using a mixture of tahini and almond butter.
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The bright pinkness from the beets made the loaf oddly resemble a mound of uncooked hamburger. But this garish hue belied richer, nuttier flavors from the combination of ground legumes, toasted bread crumbs, nut butters, and herbs. I won't say I couldn't tell I wasn't eating meat; I will say I wouldn't have known I was eating something devoid of animal products had I not been the wiser.
Unlike many other substitute/faux meat vegetarian/vegan products I've tried, the beetloaf had an amazingly tender texture. It was sufficiently moist and juicy in its own right, but with the addition of a few spoonfuls of vegan gravy (recipe adapted from PETA) the beetloaf absolutely burst with savoury notes of apple, thyme, and sage.
"But where's the beets?" you may be wondering.
Taste-wise, only in the background. I like beets though not so much that I desire to consume a solid block of them. However, in the case of the loaf, vegetables were more just a vehicle for other stronger flavors. But that was just fine that for the potluck. With three slices of beetloaf in addition to several scoops of kale salad, summer squash with tomatoes, and quinoa with zucchini, I certainly tasted my share of vegetables. And for once doing so was pure pleasure.