This vegan meatloaf recipe has all the flavors and textures as classic meatloaf, plus it’s hearty and satisfying. Truly delicious plant based meatloaf is easy to make and tastes incredible.
This post has been updated from the original that was posted September 14, 2019.
Have you been searching for a vegan meatloaf recipe? Serious but not so random question. I’ve had more requests for a meatless meatloaf recipe than usual.
This is the time of year that comfort food cravings increase so it’s no surprise that people are looking for a healthier version of a classic meatloaf.
I get it, and I’m here for you, with the best plant-based meatloaf recipe out there. Make a batch of vegan mashed potatoes to go with and you’ve got some healthy childhood nostalgia…coming soon to a plate near you!
Ingredients and Substitutions:
- Mashed beans: Fiber rich and a wonderful source of plant based protein, this bean combo holds it all together. I used kidney beans and chickpeas, you can use any combo of beans you have on hand or even use cooked lentils.
- Veggies: Sauteed onions, carrots and celery with all the classic meatloaf spices to build flavor. Substitute with leeks, fennel, parsnips or any combination.
- Ground oats and ground flax: gluten-free and vegan binders that help hold it all together.
- Tamari, almond milk and vegan worcestershire: Even with plant based meatloaf, you want to make sure it doesn’t dry out. This combo makes the vegan meatloaf moist and flavorful. Substitute with any plant based milk and use low sodium tamari.
- Glaze topping: my favorite part! A combo of apple cider vinegar, tomato paste, and coarse whole grain mustard give this meatless meatloaf just the right tang.
Why you’ll love this vegan meatloaf
- Tasty: so flavorful…especially that homemade tomato glaze.
- Perfect texture: moist, but not mushy!
- Hearty and satisfying.
- Fiber rich.
- Wholesome: made with real, whole foods ingredients. Nothing fake.
- Vegan and gluten-free so everyone can enjoy it.
- Meal prep friendly. Reheats like a dream and freezes beautifully.
Don’t be intimidated by the amount of time mentioned in the recipe notes. Most of it is passive time, waiting for your tasty meatloaf to cook…..so go ahead, help your kids with their homework, fold the laundry, meal prep for tomorrow, return a phone call, relax with a book….whatever it is you NEED or WANT to do while you wait for your delicious meatloaf to cook itself!
How to make:
First prep your veggies. Dice onions, celery and carrots. Press garlic. Saute in heavy skillet, add spices and continue to cook until vegetables are tender.
Meanwhile, mash beans in a large bowl. I find a potato masher makes this easier, but you could also use a fork.
Next, add the almond milk, worcestershire, tamari, tomato paste, ground oats and flax. Mix with a fork until everything is well incorporated. Then, add sauteed vegetables and mix well.
Prepare a loaf pan by lining with unbleached parchment paper.
Spoon bean mixture into prepared loaf pan. Use an offset spatula to smooth and compress, making sure there are no air pockets. Bake in preheated 375 oven for 30 minutes.
Mix together tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, salt and pepper to make the glaze. Use an offset spatula to spread evenly over top of cooked bean mixture. Bake for additional 25 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh herbs. Hold edges of parchment paper to lift meatloaf from loaf pan and on to cutting board.
Cut into thick slices and serve warm.
Meal prep and Storage
- Make ahead: Make the batter. Press meatloaf into prepared loaf pan and cover with plastic wrap or foil. Store in the fridge overnight or the freezer for up to 3 months. OR make the entire meatloaf, including the glaze and baking and follow storage and reheating directions below.
- Storage: Cooked meatloaf can be covered tightly and stored in the fridge for 5 days, or freezer for 3 months. A glass loaf pan with lid makes it easy to store.
- Freeze: Freeze uncooked or cooked meatloaf, in airtight freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight, bake as directed, including instructions in recipe card to make glaze and bake that in too.
- Reheat: Reheat already cooked meatloaf in preheated 350 oven for 25 minutes.
Debra’s Pro Tips:
- A combination of chickpeas and kidney beans will give the color and the texture of ground meat, adding tons of fiber and plant based protein.
- When mashing the beans, leave some chunks and make some more pasty for varied texture in the finished meatloaf.
- If you’re not into the tomato glaze, whip up a batch of my easy vegan gravy to top the meatloaf instead.
- Line your loaf pan with unbleached parchment paper for easy removal.
- Let the meatloaf cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing.
What should I serve with Vegan Meatloaf?
Generally, vegan meatloaf uses mashed beans or lentils, crumbled tofu or seitan in place of meat. Those are often combined with grains like rice or quinoa for a complete plant-based protein.
Rolled oats, ground oats, crushed crackers or crushed chips are good substitutes for breadcrumbs in meatloaf.
Egg is not a necessary ingredient in meatloaf, but you do need something that will bind everything together. Ground flaxseed is a plant-based binder that also contributes omega-3 fats and fiber to this recipe.
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Vegan Meatloaf Recipe
- 1 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion small dice
- 3 carrots small dice
- 2 stalks celery small dice
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 4 cloves garlic pressed
- 1 (14.5-oz)cans kidney beans rinsed and drained
- 1 (14.5-oz) can chickpeas rinsed and drained
- ¼ cup almond milk
- 3 Tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Tamari
- 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup ground oats
- 3 Tablespoons ground flax seeds
- ½ cup tomato paste
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons whole grain dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 and line loaf pan with unbleached parchment paper.
- In a large skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon of the oil over medium heat and saute the onion for 2 minutes. Add remaining 1 Tablespoon of oil and the carrots, celery, paprika, cumin, thyme, salt, cayenne and cook until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir constantly for one minute.
- Using a potato masher or a fork, in a large bowl, mash the beans. Stir in milk, worcestershire, tamari, tomato paste, oatmeal and flax. Mix well, then stir in the cooked veggies until well incorporated.
- Press mixture firmly into prepared pan. Push down to be sure there are no air pockets. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.
- While meatloaf is cooking, make the glaze in a small bowl. Whisk together ingredients and set aside.
- After 30 minutes, spoon glaze onto meatloaf and spread evenly over top. Bake for additional 25 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before lifting gently from pan.
- Sprinkle chopped parsley or cilantro on top before slicing and serving.
This sounds so very interesting and creative idea for vegetarian option. So flavorful and delicious.
Absolutely. The sauce on top alone is worth making. Delish!!
This sounds really interesting, I’m sure I’d prefer it to a meat version!
Yes! All of the same flavors you would find if you included beef. This vegan version skimps on nothing!!
I can tell just by reading that ingredients list this is one of the most flavorful meatloaves out there, I love that its vegan!
You won’t miss the meat. Definitely flavorful with all the texture you’d expect from meatloaf!
This was such a great recipe idea! It was tasty, easy and everyone gobbled it up!
That’s awesome. Thanks for letting me know Kim.
This looks like the real deal and definitely amazing. I have tried a veggie ‘meat’ loaf made from lentils but not beans and chickpeas. I think the texture on this will be more like original meatloaf. Saving this for later, we have been cutting way down on beef and this looks like a perfect substitute. Thanks for sharing!
You’re welcome….I too have tried many different “meat” loaf recipes and this is the closest to texture, color and taste that I’ve ever had. When you’re ready, you will love this.
Super easy (including the homemade ketchup), flavorful, and the finished product looked as beautiful as yours. Served it to my vegan friend while the rest of my guests had steak, and he and I thorougly enjoyed it. Even some of the meat eaters gave it a thumbs up. I knew I’d find a good alternative for the non-meat eaters on your site.
I’m starting to eat less meat for my diet and this recipe seems like a great alternative. Thanks for the recipe 🙂
I love this – I love that you have used great ingredients, and nothing processed as you mentioned!
YES! Plus it is so delicious, EVERYONE loves it.
What a delicious recipe for a vegan meatloaf. Thank you for sharing.
I love the “no processed food” approach. Very hard to find that! This vegan meatloaf is a keeper!
Can’t wait to try this, looks delicious.
Taleen | Just As Tasty
this is going on my menu rotation for meatless Mondays! It looks ah-mazing!!
Delish….perfect for a Meatless Monday!
Mama Maggie's Kitchen
My mouth is watering. I have to make this tonight!
It’s the perfect night for a Meatless Meatloaf!
That meatloaf looks delicious ! I want to try and make this for my hubby!
I think even avid meat eaters would have a hard time resisting this hearty meatloaf. I need to give this a try. We love to have a few meatless meals throughout the week.
Absolutely! I’ve served this to all kinds of eaters and every single one loved it.
My whole family loved this recipe!
This Vegan Meatloaf Recipe was off the chain wonderful! I’m telling you it flew off the table in no time. All of our friends asked for the recipe link.
Looking forward to your new recipe posts
Awesome! Thanks so much for letting me know, and I’ve got lots of good stuff coming your way!
I made this for the family last night, but I didn’t tell them it was a vegan loaf. After they raved about it, I let them in on the secret and they were shocked that it tasted so much like the real thing.
Great rouse…that glazed topping is so good, you don’t have to look at what’s underneath…and the texture is spot on.
I love beans in all shapes and sizes, so this vegan meatloaf is perfect for myself and my family. All of the herbs and spices sound amazing, I’m looking forward to making it tonight!
IT’s definitely delish…the textures and flavors are just right. Enjoy.
This vegan meatloaf is a tasty one! The beans give it such a perfect texture, and it had that cozy feel I love in meatloaf. Will definitely make this again!
Thanks so much…exactly the way I feel about it.
This vegan meatloaf was surprisingly easy to make and came out delicious! Will be making it again. Thank you for the thoughtful recipe, your tips made the whole process a breeze.
Yay….so glad you tried it and had success. Thank you.
I became such a fan of veggie burgers that I’m dying to try this meatloaf. I didn’t even think it was possible and I love meatloaf so much! Great flavors and the fact that it can be frozen is a big plus. Thanks for sharing.
You’re welcome…totally agree about the veggie burgers….and the meatless loaf.
Never tried vegan meat loaf. What a creative vegetarian option for holiday dinner. Thanks for sharing
You’re welcome….it’s good for a holiday, and good for every day.
You should have seen the look of skepticism (ok, maybe fear) on my husband’s face when I told him I was making vegan meatloaf! But, he ate one piece in about 5 minutes and went back for seconds. Great recipe!
Awesome….way to go!
Vegan Meatloaf sounds so interesting and looks delish! Couldn’t resist so made it last night for Sunday dinner, it came out so delicious, that sauce and the flavors, bang on! Will make this meatloaf again soon. Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe! ::)
You’re welcome….it’s so perfect for a Sunday night dinner too!
Do you think there Is a difference in using soymilk instead of almond milk.?
I think you can make that swap no problem!
Howabout using cooked beans? Do you k ow how much to use? Would it be the same as canned beans?
Yes. I updated the recipe card to reflect the total quantity of beans needed. It’s 3 cups of whatever kind of beans you prefer and those can be cooked from dry or canned.