Anyone’s mouth watering at the thought of “soybean loaf”? Mine certainly wasn’t.
I recently got “More-with-Less” – a well-known Mennonite cookbook that emphasizes nutritional balance, “whole” foods and making meal choices that reflect a concern for global poverty and sustainability. The foreword of my 25th anniversary edition states:
North Americans are encouraged to consume. We’ve seen an explosion of new artificial fats and sweeteners and products made with them, yet we suffer from obesity. The nutritional supplement industry encourages us to take vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements to be healthy and happy. We no longer see food as good, providing nutrients and needed fuel. It is either a splurge or a scourge. (This cookbook) can help recapture the joy of preparing and eating adequate and appropriate food.
My mom used “More-with-Less” often as we were growing up, so I have eaten many recipes from it. But now with my own copy, I’ve decided to try some new ones. I was intrigued by the many soybean recipes included in the book. Growing up in Kansas, I have seen countless soybean fields but have not seen a lot of recipes featuring soybeans. A particular recipe that grabbed my attention was the following:
Preheat oven to 350.
Combine in large bowl:
2 1/2 c. soybeans, cooked and mashed
1/2 c. cottage cheese
1/2 c. fresh or cooked tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 T. oil
1 1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. bread crumbs
Mix well. Form into loaf and place on greased baking pan.
Pour sauce (a homemade tomato sauce) on top.
Bake 1 hour.
This was undoubtably the weirdest thing I have ever cooked. The ingredients were not expensive or hard to find, and making it was not difficult. I was afraid of it being bland, so I added some garlic powder, fresh ground pepper and dried italian herbs. I also sprinkled some grated parmesan cheese on top. It smelled really good while baking. But really – soybeans, cottage cheese and tomatoes? We had the back-up plan of running to Chick-fil-A if things got bad.
I made mashed potatoes, figuring that was the traditional side dish for meatloaf, and I wanted to have some illusion of normality for this meal.
We were surprised – in a positive way. I really only made this recipe because it sounded so strange, but it ended up being a not-so-bad meal. The texture was similar to meatloaf, and it was surprisingly flavorful (probably due to my recipe rogue additions). Brett’s take: “It’s different.” But he did clean his plate. Hannah had already gone to bed when we ate, so we’ll have to get her review tomorrow.
Would I make this again? No. But I’m glad I tried it. Being open-minded about new recipes may not always result in deliciousness, but the experience was worth it. Expect many more “More-with-Less” recipes to be featured in the future.