This Vegan Meatloaf makes a perfect Thanksgiving (and beyond) main dish/entree! It takes only 15 minutes of prep time and has an incredible texture rated 5 stars by dozens. It is moist, flavorful and bound to be a show-stopper at your next meal! Serve it with a side of vegan mashed potatoes and green bean casserole.
1tablespoonmaple syrupor agave or liquid sweetener
Mix together the tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and the sea salt in a small bowl and set it aside until you need it.
Preheat your oven to 375°F/190°C degrees. Prepare a loaf with by lining with parchment paper so that it's hanging over the sides. This helps to remove the loaf with ease.
In a skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the garlic, red onion and the celery. Sauté until onions are translucent, celery has softened and garlic is fragrant, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, add all of the ingredients (the cooked garlic, red onion, celery above, as well as the chickpeas, lentils, liquid smoke, vegan Worcestershire (or soy sauce), breadcrumbs, sea salt, ground black pepper, flax eggs, tomato paste, and thyme).
Mix together slightly with a wooden spoon. I find that this helps to distribute the liquid ingredients equally one the beans and breadcrumbs.
In a food processor, add all of your ingredients from the bowl. I have a 10-cup food processor, so if yours is smaller, you may want to put it in in increments. Pulse a few times until everything begins to come together. Do NOT over pulse – it will turn to mush and not firm up in the oven. You want to see chunks of celery, lentils and other ingredients. I like to pulse about 10 times.
Pour/scoop the mixture into your parchment paper-lined loaf pan. Smooth down the top with the spatula. Pour over your glaze from earlier, smoothing it down with a spoon or spatula.
Bake for 45 minutes to 60 minutes. My loaf was done at around 55 minutes. It's ready if a toothpick comes out mostly clean.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove from loaf pan and slice up and serve. Enjoy!
If you think you'll be sensitive to the liquid smoke (one or two readers have shared this) start with 2 teaspoons. Give it a taste (everything is cooked so you can try it) then add more if desired! I usually add the full amount. IF you're lowing the amount, replace the rest with water so the recipe has the right amount of liquid (so add 1 tablespoon of water + 1 teaspoon).
Expert Tips and FAQ
Don’t over blend your meatloaf in the food processor. This will make it way too mushy. You can also watch the video for a better idea of what it should look like.
I strongly recommend only using a loaf pan for this. If you try to freeform it it might fall apart or dry out (No one wants that!!).
Be sure to line the pan (don’t skip this). It really helps with holding it together and is much easier to remove from the pan.
Don’t skip that 10 minute cooling period! You can even cool it completely, just don’t cut as soon as you take it out. As it cools, it firms up even more. For the glaze, if you’d prefer a bbq glaze you can just sub the tomato paste for bbq sauce.
Make sure the Worcestershire that you pick says "vegan" on it since most aren't. You can also just use soy sauce if you can't find it.
Why is my vegan meatloaf falling apart?This really shouldn’t happen since I tested the recipe specifically to avoid this. To prevent this from happening, PLEASE do not over pulse your ingredients. I did this the first time and it turned to mush and wouldn’t firm up. Leaving chunks somehow helps it to come together. Also, ensure that your toothpick comes out pretty much clean to confirm everything is cooking together. Be sure to properly press this into the pan too.Ensure you’re using the right size pan since a too wide meatloaf will not hold up properly. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes to cool at room temperature. If you’ve done all of this and it’s still giving problems, then last resort, if you sit your meatloaf in the fridge for like an hour, it will firm up completely. Then slice it up. I cut my slices about 1-inch thick. HOW TO STOREYou can store this loaf in an airtight container in the fridge. I just slice it up first, but you can also store it whole. You could also just wrapthe top of the loaf pan if you want to preserve the shape of the loaf. This will last at least a week in your fridge. This loaf with firm up a whole lot in your fridge.HOW TO FREEZEWrap the loaf in foil, then put it in a freezer-friendly zipped bag. This loaf can freeze for at least 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in your fridge, and reheat in your microwave.