Enjoy healthy comfort food with this vegan meatloaf made with lentils, quinoa, lots of savory flavorings, and a sweet tomato topping. Everyone loves a plant-based meatloaf served with vegan mashed potatoes!
Weeknight meals can always be a hassle. That’s why I like making vegan meatloaf on the weekend and enjoying the leftovers throughout the week.
Thus, my mama’s meatloaf is now all healthy and nutritious. I left the delicious in there, just cause I like you so much!
What You Need
You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:
- Olive oil — substitute vegetable broth for an oil-free recipe.
- Veggies — You’ll need an onion, a carrot, some celery, and garlic cloves.
- Lentils — This recipe calls for 2 cups of cooked lentils or you can substitute a 15 oz can of chickpeas or black beans.
- Walnuts — You’ll need 1 cup of walnuts.
- Rolled oats
- Nutritional yeast flakes
- Sauces — You’ll need liquid smoke, ketchup, vegan Worcestershire sauce, and tamari (substitute soy sauce) to get the best flavor in this roast.
- Seasoning — I like to add what I refer to as sausage seasoning to this loaf. It delivers amazing flavor. You’ll need fennel seeds, caraway seeds, dried sage, dried thyme, and paprika. See the recipe card below for exact measurements. I explain more about this combination of dried herbs in my post on Plant-based Sausage Crumbles.
- Quinoa — I love using quinoa, but you can substitute cooked brown rice.
- TVP (optional) — This stands for textured vegetable protein and you can find it at health food stores, some larger grocery store chains, and online. This is an optional ingredient. I have made the loaf without the TVP and it’s fine. But the texture is a bit meatier and firmer with the TVP, so that’s why I recommend it.
- Brown sugar — You can use brown sugar or substitute maple syrup.
- Ground nutmeg — We’ll use just a bit of ground nutmeg in the sauce. You can substitute a tablespoon of barbecue sauce.
How to Make Vegan Meatloaf
- Cook onions, carrots, and celery in an oiled skillet until tender.
- Add garlic and cook for one more minute.
- Set aside 3/4 cup of the cooked lentils.
- Combine walnuts and oats in a food processor and pulse until it develops a sand-like consistency.
- Add the cooked veggies to the food processor.
- Add the lentils and other ingredients.
- Pulse in short bursts to combine, leaving behind some texture.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
- Stir in the reserved lentils and TVP (if using).
- Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes.
- Pour the bean mixture into a prepared loaf pan.
- Use a spatula to press it into the pan.
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until done
- Combine ketchup, sugar, and nutmeg in a bowl.
- Transfer the meatloaf to a baking sheet.
- Spread the ketchup topping across the top, allowing it to spill over the sides.
- Place the meatloaf back in the oven and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature for the best texture.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. It can also be frozen in freezer-safe containers for up to 2 months. Transfer to the fridge overnight to thaw.
Homemade Vegan Meatloaf
One thing I like more than comfort food is leftovers. With meatloaf, the two go hand-in-hand. It’s almost like our foremothers realized that if you’re going to make food so tasty, you might as well make enough of it to last through the week as well.
This homemade vegan meatloaf not only makes for the best leftovers, but it’s also versatile. Take a couple of thick slabs of this meatloaf between two slices of soft, whole wheat bread, and slathered with some vegan mayo, and let me tell ya, you’re living high on the hill.
Any of your favorite sides will work perfectly with this plant-based meatloaf. Here are some favorites:
Why This Recipe is a Winner
- HEALTHY — Loaded with fiber from the lentils and protein from the quinoa, you’ll love serving this healthy meatless meatloaf to your family!
- FREEZER-FRIENDLY — After it’s baked and cooled, you can freeze the entire meatloaf or individual slices.
- VERSATILE — Slice and serve it as a main dish with your favorite sides (hello, vegan mashed potatoes), or serve it up as sandwiches for lunch!
Vegan Meat Recipes
If you love this vegan meatloaf, here are even more tasty vegan meat recipes to try:
Homemade Vegan Meatloaf
- 1 teaspoon olive oil (substitute vegetable broth for oil-free)
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup carrots, chopped
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 cups cooked lentils (substitute chickpeas or black beans)
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 cup rolled oats
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 tablespoon sausage seasoning (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons tamari (substitute soy sauce)
- 1 cup cooked quinoa (substitute cooked brown rice)
- 1 cup TVP (OPTIONAL — see notes)
For the Topping
- ½ cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar (substitute maple syrup)
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 350°F/175*C. Spray a large loaf pan with vegetable spray or line with parchment paper.
- Pour the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook until it's shimmering. Substitute vegetable broth to make this recipe oil-free. Then add the chopped onions, celery, and carrots. Cook until slightly tender, around 5 minutes. Then add garlic and cook for one minute.
- Set aside ¾ cup of the cooked lentils.
- In a food processor, combine the cooked vegetables and the rest of the meatloaf ingredients (except for the reserved lentils and TVP). Pulse in short bursts to combine, leaving behind some texture.
- Stir in the remaining lentils and TVP. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes.
- Press the bean mixture into the prepared pan. Place it in the oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the edges separate from the pan and it looks crispy on the edges. It should be slightly firm in the middle as well.
- In the meantime prepare the topping by combining the ketchup, brown sugar, and nutmeg in a bowl. Stir to combine. Note: You can also add a half teaspoon of smoke sauce or a tablespoon of BBQ sauce to this mixture as well.
- Remove the pan from the oven and invert the loaf onto a baking sheet. Turn your oven up to 400°F/200°C. Spread the ketchup topping across the top of the meatloaf, allowing it to spill over the sides. Place it back in the oven and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow it to cool slightly before serving. You can serve it right away, but the flavors and texture improve as it cools so it's recommended to let it sit for 2 hours to come to room temperature. For even better texture, refrigerate overnight and heat to serve the following day.
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- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- ⅓ teaspoon dried thyme
- ⅓ teaspoon dried sage
- ⅓ paprika (regular or smoked)
The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
This post was originally published in 2015 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2022.
15 Responses to Vegan Meatloaf
Hi I was wondering what the walnuts can be substituted with. I have a nut allergy but would like to make this. Thanks
Hi Nicole. I used the walnuts to add “fatty texture” to the meatloaf. I haven’t tried this myself, but you could try substituting half of a mashed avocado or maybe even a quarter cup of olive oil. You could always leave it out entirely if you’d like. It might result in a drier meatloaf, but I think it should still be very delicious! I would love to hear back from you once you’ve tried it!
Can you actually substitute lentils for mushrooms? I just wanted to see if there is a Vegan Keto alternative.
Hi Ree! I would consider a couple of things to replace the lentils. Maybe go with 1 cup of mushrooms (I think more might be too overpowering) and maybe a cup of cauliflower rice. I haven’t tried this substation myself, so I’m brainstorming with you here on ideas. For the oats, you could add a couple of tablespoons of chia powder (ground chia seeds). Let me know how it goes!
This was a colossal fail for me. The baked loaf never congealed! It was impossible to unmold. It turned into vegan hash which is how I had to serve it. I did not change the recipe and followed all the instructions correctly. I have made many similar recipes and never had a failure like this. The flavor was good, but I was looking for a loaf, not a pile of tasty mush.
This is a terrific loaf! Didn’t have nutritional yeast…but it was stiill great. Added a couple of tablespoons of tomato padte to the mix. Drizzkl
Drizzled some low sugar ketchup on top. I made a meatloaf sandwich later..yum!
So glad you liked it Kris!
This it the best vegan meatloaf ever!
So glad you like it, Regina!
We live in North Dakota, and I have never seen Gimme Leans products in our stores. I used Tofurkey Vegan Sausage instead, and the loaf was absolutely DELICIOUS! Walmart carries the Tofurkey Vegan Sausage. It is usually near the tofu section. I put the sausage, as well as the beans, in my food processor to chop up like burger. Hope this helps someone that is unable to find the Gimme Lean Burger.
My husband’s parents live in North Dakota. Wow. Talk about some harsh winters! Anyway, I love your recipe alterations to make this work without the Gimme Lean. Looks perfect!
What can you use instead of the bouillon? It has too much salt for me.
Hey Robin. Thanks for your comment. Well, you could always use a low-sodium soy sauce. If that’s still too much sodium, you could just replace the bouillon with a little bit of red wine to add some flavor. If you do that, I’d be sure to add a teaspoon or two of garlic powder to add more flavor. Let me know how it goes!
I’ve never seen Gimme Lean products in our stores. Is there an alternative?
Great question Audrey! If I couldn’t find Gimme Lean, I’d probably by a bag of veggie crumbles, like Boca or something like that. I would add that into the mixture in place of the Gimme Lean. Just so you know, I haven’t tried this myself, but now that you’ve provided this inspiring question…I think I will! Thanks!