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!
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.
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 9x13 pan. The end result will be a thicker loaf that resembles a meatloaf even more so.
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.
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!
- I prefer a concentrated bouillon. It is easy to mix with hot water and easy to find in the store or on Amazon.
- Use the traditional chicken-style instant brothor this rich brown seasoning and broth used in the original recipe.
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.
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 9x13, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup onion diced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 5 cups Special K Cereal
- ½ cup half and half
- 1 cup hot water
- 2 beef-flavored bouillon
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups cottage cheese small curd preferred
- ¾ 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 9x13 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.