(Jen Carlson/Gothamist)

Let's talk meatloaf—not my old softball coach, but the comfort food, which, I'm calling it, will be a food trend in restaurants in the coming year. Something needs to replace kale and avocado toast.

Meatloaf is a simple, classic comfort food, but it's also very pliable—you can make it the way mom used to, or you can add your own flair. And despite its name, you can even make it vegetarian.

When I was little, I loved when my mom would make meatloaf—maybe because it was one of the only non-German things we would have in my earlier years? Anyway, it was a favorite at the dinner table, but I'm a vegetarian now... and it's really hard to make a good vegetarian loaf without spending 12 hours in the kitchen. Field Roast supposedly makes a good one, but for years I've been searching markets and have never been able to locate it. Instead, I keep trying different recipes. Recipes with oats. Recipes with seitan. They are all time-consuming, don't end up having the same taste, and often fall apart when lifted from the loaf pan.

Last night, I decided to keep things very simple. This is a good rule when creating anything in your kitchen: start simple, and add your own tastes as you go along. I found this recipe online, and adapted it slightly—the important part is: I added onion soup mix, which I guess is a thing people add to regular meatloaf. While it's not much to look at: it is perfect if you're looking for that taste of nostalgia. I even put the ketchup on top for the last ten minutes of baking.

Classic Vegetarian "Meat" Loaf

  • 1.5 bags of Morningstar crumbles (or any vegetarian crumbles—if frozen, heat up first)
  • One packet onion soup mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
Bake at 400 for about 40 minutes, or until firm, and apply ketchup for the last 10 minutes. If you're using a foil loaf pan, I would recommend lining it with parchment paper so you can easily lift it out.

If you want to make the loaf a little more complex, here are flavor suggestions that will pair well: finely chopped garlic, fried sage leaves, nutmeg, or even a thin layer of herbed ricotta cheese in the middle of the loaf.