Special K Loaf aka Cottage Cheese Vegetarian Loaf

This Special K Loaf aka Cottage Cheese Loaf, is a delicious high protein vegetarian recipe popular in the world of Seventh-Day Adventists. It is a main dish recipe that is often served at church potlucks, holidays, and for dinner with guests.

This vegetarian loaf is made with ingredients that may surprise you! You might not imagine that Special K Cereal, Cottage Cheese, and eggs could come together to replicate a meatloaf and be so delicious! However, this combination of ingredients turned out to be so delicious that the vegetarians in your life will come back for more!

Special K Loaf on a plate with a side of sauteed zucchini

My personal history with Special K Loaf

I grew up eating this Special K Loaf. We were first introduced to the recipe when my mom joined the SDA Church. It is highly likely we had it at a church potluck one week and because Mom enjoyed the cottage cheese loaf, she asked for the recipe. We had this often in our home and to be quite honest with you, it was also one of my favorite recipes!

This really is a great recipe. Despite the “ugliness”of the loaf before it is actually baked! It may seem like a plain jane type of recipe, but I promise you it is not! The flavor is completely there! I made this recipe for my children when they were growing up and it is one of the recipes they remember enjoying also. And, even my meat eater hubby eats this Special K Loaf recipe! That should be the biggest telling factor to its deliciousness.

Special K Loaf aka Cottage Cheese Vegetarian Loaf

Eating cottage cheese loaf as a vegetarian

Special K Cereal was chosen for this recipe because of its high protein content due to the fact that vegetarians are trying to keep their nutritional levels intact. This recipe has 17 grams of protein per serving. Which, for a vegetarian loaf is a good number. Cottage cheese, Special K, and eggs are all great sources of protein.

The flavor cottage cheese loaf is surprisingly “beef” like. If you mix the ingredients as instructed, the loaf bakes up into what looks like a meaty texture. If your going for that look, bake this in a loaf pan instead of a 9×13 pan. The end result will be a thicker loaf that resembles a meatloaf even more so.

Mom's Recipe Card for Cottage Cheese Loaf

Variations to Special K Loaf

This cottage cheese loaf can be made in a variety of ways. It is pretty hard to mess it up! Unfortunately, this is not a recipe I recommend you try to transform into a vegan meatloaf recipe. With the number of ingredients in this recipe that are not considered vegan, it would likely become a disaster. That is, unless you really know what you are doing.

The cereal that can be used in cottage cheese loaf

  • Wheaties (gives a darker color)
  • Grape-Nuts, mom would use these sometimes in her recipe.

Nut substitution suggestion

  • Substitute chopped pecans, cashews, or almonds in place of the walnuts.
walnuts in nut chopper

Substitutes for half and half

  • The original recipe calls for evaporated milk which works great, if you have it on hand.
  • Cashew milk makes a good substitute. It adds a creamy richness that is similar to half and half or evaporated milk.

Vary the flavor of the broth!

Add a sauce on top of your Special K Loaf!

  • Easy Homemade Gravy Recipeworks great for that comfort food feel. Just be sure to use a vegetarian based broth if you want to keep it vegetarian.
  • Make this Homemade BBQ Sauce. Just warm it up a little before topping the cooked Special K Loaf.
  • Warm up some of your favorite marinara sauce and spoon some over top of the loaf prior to serving.
cottage cheese loaf

Tips for a successful Vegetarian Meatloaf Recipe

Like many of the other recipe cards from our family files, there are no directions. Apparently everyone just “knew” how to transform the ingredients into a delicious dish! However, since there are some people without that knack, I’ve come up with some tips to help you succeed in making this cottage cheese loaf recipe!

  • Always add the liquid to the cereal first. Then begin the other preparations.
  • Small curd cottage cheese works best. Large curd can be used, but for aesthetics, I prefer small curd. I don’t like seeing big hunks of cottage cheese in my finished loaf!
  • Dice those onions and garlic up fine. Dicing them up really fine helps bring out more flavor.
  • Use a hand nut chopper to quickly chop the nuts you will use in this recipe. I love this nut chopper the best. I will also use it for my onions and garlic!
  • If using a loaf pan instead of 9×13, you will need to increase your baking time by 15 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on the loaf. It will be considered done when it is no longer let on top.
cottage cheese vegetarian loaf

What to serve with Special K Loaf

When it comes to sides for this recipe, you can serve up traditional recipes that you would serve with meatloaf.

Mashed potatoes are always a great choice when eating meatloaf. If you want to cut the carbs some, serve this recipe for Garlic Mashed Cauliflower. We love the slight sweetness Roasted Acorn Squash with Maple Browned Butter is another mashed vegetable you could serve in place of potatoes. to the squash.

If your into the squash as a side, this sweet and spicy Roasted Delicata Squash is another great recipe to serve. Or, A garden salad topped with Thousand Island Salad Dressing compliments the flavors in this vegetarian recipe.

Pinnable image for Special K Loaf

Other Vegetarian Main Course recipes to try!

I have a love for all things vegetarian when it comes to loaves and patties. Here are a few that I highly recommend.

Vegetarian Patties with Marinara Sauce

I made recently made these Vegetarian Patties with Marinara Sauce and my whole family loved them! These are also a keto friendly recipe which made it a big win for us!

If you love lentils then this vegan loaf recipe for Red Lentil Nut Loaf is a great one to try. I love the twist on this recipe from the normal lentil loaf recipes I have tried.

6 Favorite Recipes Handed Down from Mom's
Mom’s Vegetarian Meatballs

My Mom’s Homemade Vegetarian Meatballs are a long time favorite of ours. Great with a side of spaghetti squash or pasta!

Special K Loaf aka Cottage Cheese Vegetarian Loaf

Special K Loaf

Special K Loaf, also known as Cottage Cheese Loaf, is a vegetarian meatloaf full of flavor and protein. It is a delicious recipe to serve over the holidays for the vegetarians in your life.
4.75 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cottage Cheese Loaf, Cottage Cheese Vegetarian Loaf, Special K Loaf
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 380kcal


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup onion diced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 5 cups Special K Cereal
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 beef-flavored bouillon
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups cottage cheese small curd preferred
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Mix together the boullion and hot water until bouillon is dissolved.
  • Pour 5 cups Special K Cereal in a large mixing bowl. Pour the half and half, and water with boullion over top of cereal. Stir to combine. Let cereal sit and soak in liquid while you move on to step 4.
  • Using a hand food processor, process walnuts. Then process onions and garlic.
  • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onions and garlic. Simmer until onions are translucent.
  • Add butter, onion, and garlic to cereal mixture. Sprinkle in chopped walnuts.
  • Whisk eggs and pour over top of cereal mixture. Stir to combine well.
  • Add cottage cheese to cereal mixture and stir to combine.
  • Pour into a 9×13 pan that has been coated with cooking spray.
  • Place in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. Until top of Special K Loaf is no longer wet.
  • Remove from oven, let cool about 15 minutes, then serve.


Calories: 380kcal | Carbohydrates: 21.02g | Protein: 17.16g | Fat: 25.59g | Saturated Fat: 11.298g | Cholesterol: 160mg | Sodium: 992mg | Fiber: 0.9g | Sugar: 5.21g

About the Author: Shelby Law Ruttan

Shelby is the author/owner of Grumpy's Honeybunch. Established in 2007, she shares and preserves family recipes as well as recipes for cooking light and keto. She is an experienced, self-taught home cook who loves to share recipes with others. You can see her work on websites such as Veal Made Easy, Parade, Community Table, SoFab Food, Yummly, and FoodGawker.


  1. Linda January 7, 2010 at 11:22 pm - Reply

    Maybe for Grumpy you should've called it "cheese casserole" 😉

    Is it like a quiche without the crust?

  2. HoneyB January 7, 2010 at 11:27 pm - Reply

    LOL, Linda your so cute. Grumpy is always suspicious of anything I make that isn't meat and potatoes.

    Its not really quiche like. I think of quiche being egg like and this isn't like that. The Special K is probably what takes that away from it. It is a favorite dish in the Seventh-Day Adventist community and there are many versions of it. It is also called Special K Loaf (probably more appetizing that cottage cheese loaf)

    • Debra Loveridge December 26, 2020 at 2:01 pm - Reply

      5 stars
      Hi Bhoney, the recipe you posted is min my mother’s hand writing! Just curious as to who you are. Debra Loveridge

      • Shelby Law Ruttan December 27, 2020 at 5:44 am - Reply

        Hi Debra, your mom’s handwriting must look similar to my own mothers. The recipe card I show in this photo was written by my own mother. 🙂

  3. Jeanette January 7, 2010 at 11:38 pm - Reply

    I think it sounds good. I eat vegetarian about 75% of the time. Next time my husband is out of town I might try it. He, like Grumpy has to have his meat and potatoes in a visable form.

  4. noble pig January 8, 2010 at 12:29 am - Reply

    What a cool recipe and hilarious about the directions. We are all so lame now needing very specific directions.

  5. Bellini Valli January 8, 2010 at 1:07 am - Reply

    My dad has always been a vegetarian as you know Shelby so I gave had plenty of delicious loaves in my lifetime.

  6. Mags January 8, 2010 at 2:03 am - Reply

    I would totally love this but I can see that hubby would be like your Grumpy and give it a thumbs down without even tasting it.

  7. Donna-FFW January 8, 2010 at 2:17 am - Reply

    I love recipes on recipe cards, something so sentimental about them! And it's true, often there are no directions on some of the older ones Ive seen, how funny.

    That said it sounds like a lovely loaf, quite different and I bet very tasty!

  8. Erin from Long Island January 8, 2010 at 3:11 am - Reply

    yum! I dont care what you call it, it looks good to me! I have a lentil loaf that I have made since I was 17 and I love it. If you like lentils, it is for you, I just need to come up with a more appetizing name

  9. Lynda January 8, 2010 at 4:28 am - Reply

    I've never heard of this dish, but I love cottage cheese, so this must be yummy. This is a wonderful Family Recipe, Shelby-too bad Grumpy won't try it! 🙂

  10. Cajun Chef Ryan January 8, 2010 at 6:18 pm - Reply

    Yes, recipe cards are so interesting when reading them, especially the particular ingredients that are found only in certain areas. Similar to the George Washington Broth in this one. I agree, sometimes no directions given for preparation other than put all this together and cook!



  11. JennDZ - The Leftover Queen January 8, 2010 at 8:43 pm - Reply

    LOL, Oleo!!! I only see that in some of my grandmother's old recipes – Butter is the new Oleo! 🙂 This sounds pretty good. I don't like cottage cheese normally, but I think it would be good in a hot dish.

  12. pigpigscorner January 9, 2010 at 9:14 am - Reply

    Sounds great! But My hubs won't enjoy it either. I would probably have to add in some bacon for him =P

  13. Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer January 26, 2010 at 8:56 pm - Reply

    Oh goodness I love this recipe! I've never seen it before.

  14. Anonymous October 3, 2011 at 7:57 pm - Reply

    I LOVE THIS!! I grew up as a vegetarian! & I LOVE THIS!!!!

  15. Tricia April 16, 2012 at 6:17 am - Reply

    My husband grew up eating cottage cheese loaf. There are so many versions out there. Your recipe is very similar to mine! I add both dark and light GW which gives the loaf a little darker color and I use pecan meal instead of chunks of nuts. Our boys never wanted to bite into a nut so pecan meal is added to many of my vegetarian "meat" recipes. If you like this loaf, you would LOVE my vegetarian non-meat ball recipe!! I'm a new blogger. I posted my cottage cheese loaf recipe but have not YET posted the non-meatball recipe. Stay tuned. I promise you'll love them 🙂

  16. Anonymous September 15, 2012 at 6:01 am - Reply

    Hey, thanks for sharing this basic recipe. I tweeked it a little bit by using half cornflakes, and half cooked organic brown rice; added a ton of garlic; for the "margerine" I used a quarter cup olive olive oil, and drained a can of olives (the un virgin kind cuz they all had holes all the way through) run through the slicer. To garnish the top, I cut up some ripe red bell pepper, and–oh, I forgot–a sprinkle of parmesian cheeze on top before the red bells. (It will be interesting to watch the vegan's scrutinizing eyes tomorrow at church potluck)

    Sew What-Why-When?

  17. stephanie August 5, 2013 at 11:54 am - Reply

    Nice recipe, one I will probably make again. I made it for this month's SRC. Thanks for sharing the family's collection!

  18. AnnaBelle AppleBaum October 7, 2017 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    I always use the grape nuts, as that is how I was taught to make it. Hadn’t thought of this in awhile, but I have all the ingredient except the nuts, so I’ll get those and make it tomorrow night. If there is any left, it makes great sandwiches the next day!

  19. Miriah October 19, 2019 at 9:03 am - Reply


  20. Laura November 2, 2019 at 8:57 am - Reply

    I see the 2 cups of cottage cheese in the delightful old recipe card, but not in the newer version. Is the newer version made without cottage cheese?

    • Shelby Law Ruttan November 2, 2019 at 10:02 am - Reply

      Hi Laura, you are correct! Thank you for bringing that to my attention. I will adjust my recipe card as soon as possible. Shelby

  21. Grace August 29, 2020 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    I made it with the recipe on index card photo. It was like thick soup going into the oven. I’m still trying to get it to set up 2 hours later. I’m going to give it another 30 minutes. If it doesn’t set up, we’re just having sides for dinner. I’m sad. 🙁

    • Shelby Law Ruttan August 31, 2020 at 5:47 am - Reply

      Hi Grace, the recipe on the index card photo did not have instructions on how to assemble the loaf, it is basically a part of the post to show my mother’s hand written card, not to follow as a recipe. Did you read the recipe card at the bottom of the post? There are detailed instructions on the recipe card at the bottom of the post. Shelby

  22. Ashley January 17, 2021 at 11:28 pm - Reply

    I was raised SDA and my mom is not the greatest cook but she makes a cottage cheese, nut, special K loaf that is amazing!

    • Shelby Law Ruttan January 18, 2021 at 12:29 pm - Reply

      Hi Ashley, thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it so much. I hope you try this recipe, we absolutely love it! Shelby

Leave A Comment

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Shelby Welcome! I'm Shelby, author of Grumpy's Honeybunch. I have been sharing family favorite recipes since 2007. I started the Keto Diet in October 2017 and since then I have been creating Keto ... read more

Latest Cookbook Available Now

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Pescatarian Cookbook Preorder Now Image

One Pot Paleo Cookbook by Shelby Law Ruttan