A classic tasting Vegan Meatloaf made with a base of chickpeas that is SO simple to make. This is NOT another mushy vegan loaf. It’s beautiful, savory, hearty and extremely comforting alongside some mashed potatoes and green beans.

vegan meatloaf on a wooden board with parsley

*This recipe was originally posted 10/12/17. Updated 9/24/18 with more appetizing photos and slightly updated instructions.

Ah, the Vegan Meatloaf. Have you tried making one yet? You can find many different versions all over the internet, from lentil loaf to tofu loaf, and probably many more.

Some I’ve tried have been quite good, but often even if they taste good, they don’t look very appetizing. I wanted to come up with a Vegan Meatloaf recipe that had more “classic” meatloaf flavors and would also look beautiful. Chickpeas to the rescue!

close up of ketchup topping on top of the vegan meatloaf

The one thing you never want is a super mushy loaf. And it’s pretty hard to avoid, actually. But through some trial and error, I have come up with a non-mushy, flavorful and beautiful loaf that would be just perfect as the main dish for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any other holiday.

I remember one Thanksgiving several years ago that I was super excited to make a popular blogger’s lentil loaf recipe. I wanted to impress our guests with how good vegan cooking can be! Well, the loaf sunk in the middle and was just a complete mushy mess. Ugh. So frustrating.

HOW DO YOU MAKE VEGAN MEATLOAF?

This Vegan Meatloaf is easy to make, and most of the time spent is hands off.

First, saute the vegetables in either water or olive oil for a few minutes, until the onion is translucent. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Mash the drained/rinsed chickpeas in a large bowl (I always use a potato masher, works great!).

Then simply add the cooked vegetables and all the remaining ingredients. Stir very well!

Press the mixture into a loaf pan evenly, cover with foil and cook for 30 minutes. Remove foil, add the ketchup- Worcestershire topping and put back in the oven for 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven, let cool a few minutes, slice and serve.

vegan meatloaf collage of sauteing vegetables and mixing

vegan meatloaf collage of making the loaf

I hope you all enjoy this vegan meatloaf! It’s:

Hearty

Smoky

Fiber-rich

Beautiful

& so Affordable

You can also leave off the ketchup topping and serve with this Easy Vegan Gravy instead!

close up photo from side of vegan meatloaf

Want more savory vegan dishes? Try one of these!

The Best Vegan Lasagna

Easy Vegan Gravy

Vegan Baked Ziti

Inspired by this recipe.

vegan meatloaf on a wooden board with parsley
4.91 stars (201 ratings)

The Best Vegan Meatloaf

A classic style vegan meatloaf recipe made with a base of chickpeas. Unlike some vegan loaf recipes, this one is not mushy. It has a slight smoky flavor and makes for a beautiful centerpiece dish for any holiday or Sunday family dinner.
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 50 mins
Total: 1 hr
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients 
 

Vegetables for Sautéing

  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil OR water for oil free
  • 1 small onion, diced small
  • 2 small carrots, diced small
  • 2 celery stalks, diced small
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

For the Rest

For the topping

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and lightly spray a 9 inch loaf pan with oil, or line the bottom with parchment paper to prevent sticking.
  • Saute the onion, carrots, celery and garlic in the olive oil or water over medium heat for 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Add the chickpeas to a large bowl, and mash with a potato masher (or fork). You do not want them to be completely pasty or mushy, but well broken up. Alternatively, use a food processor, but be careful not to over blend them and make them totally mushy. Pulse a couple of times if using a food processor.
  • Add the cooked veggies and all the remaining ingredients to the chickpeas. I have found 1 cup of breadcrumbs to be enough, but if the mixture seems really moist, add an extra 1/2 cup. Stir with a large wooden spoon until very well combined. 
  • Press the loaf mixture in the prepared pan, pushing down evenly with your hand. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the ketchup and Worcestershire sauce for the topping.
  • After 30 minutes, remove the foil, spread the ketchup topping evenly on top of the loaf and bake for another 15 minutes, uncovered. Remove from the oven.
  • Allow to sit for at least 15 minutes before slicing if you can, it will hold up better. Sprinkle with fresh parsley if desired before serving.

Video

Notes

  1. You may substitute gluten-free or whole wheat breadcrumbs if desired. The amount needed depends on how moist or dry your chickpeas are. I have found this varies depending on the brand. Use 1 to 1 1/2 cups.
  2. Make sure to find vegan Worcestershire sauce. Most have anchovies in the ingredients. Annie's brand has a good one you can find at most natural food stores. You can also order it online.
  3. Find liquid smoke near barbecue sauce in most grocery stores. You can leave it out, but it adds a great "smoky" flavor. One bottle will last you a long time.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 286kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 843mg | Potassium: 600mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 3598IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 4mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

 

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Comments

  1. I made this tonight for dinner and it was a hit with my ENTIRE family! (Including my mother whom is skeptical about my new vegan ventures, she even requested the recipe, yay) I will make this recipe forever ? I cannot wait to try more of your recipes! Thank you so much! ?

    1. So glad it was a hit! Thanks so much for the feedback! 🙂 Let me know if you try other recipes, I love hearing from people!

  2. This looks like a great recipe! I’m excited to try it out. I just need to make a market run to get all the ingredients that I’m missing. Thank you for sharing

  3. I have eaten a vegan diet for 14 years now and I have tried many ‘meatloaf’ recipes. This is by far the most delicious, easy and beloved by all my family! I only recently discovered your blog/recipes through my daughter and I am thrilled by your approach and creativity. Thanks!

    1. You are so kind! Thank you so much for your feedback, I appreciate it. 🙂 I’m so glad your family loves this vegan meatloaf!

  4. This is pretty good, and why is it called meat loaf instead of veggie loaf? The name is misleading for those who refuse to eat anything from animals.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it! As for the name, sometimes it is difficult to come up with a name for recipes, and I often look at what people are typing into google. This is one of those, because believe it or not “vegan meatloaf” gets searched for over 8000 times per month! “veggie loaf”, on the other hand, about 1000. So I try to name my recipes at least in part based on what folks might be searching for, if that makes sense! Thanks for the question.

  5. Thank you so so much for this yummy recipe ! I liked it so much better than the lentil loaf recipes I have tried. But I did add about 1/2 tsp of cumin and a generous sprinkle of smoked paprika. And truth be told I substituted red beans for the chickpeas. Delicious…really….Thanks again Nora !

    1. Oooh red beans instead of chickpeas? I bet it was a pretty color! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  6. I made this last night – really enjoyed it! Excellent recipe. It held up well – not crumbly or soft. It looked and sliced up like a ‘regular’ meatloaf. I LOVE finding a new delish recipe so thank you for making my day, possibly my week!!

    1. It might be a little mushy, but maybe not! I haven’t tried it, but my guess is it will work out just fine.

  7. I made this last week and liked it a lot, but your prep time estimate is way off. Took me at least 40 minutes. Just chopping/dicing the vegetables took 15 minutes, and I cook a lot. Also, 5 min to soften the veggies is not nearly enough. Good recipe but next time I need to allow for much more prep time, more like 30-45 minutes

  8. This was yummy! Tried it tonight. Takes a while to make but is worth it. It was a little dry…do you think there is any way to make it more moist? Regardless it was a hit. Definitely checking out more vegan recipes on your website.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the recipe! If you found it was a little dry, try using less breadcrumbs next time, maybe 1 cup and then add more if it seems very wet. It’s very adjustable. 🙂 Thanks for your comment!

  9. We made this tonight and were thrilled at how tasty it is. Jimmy was excited because he thought it tasted so much better than the meat version. This recipe is definitely going to be in our rotation!

  10. I followed this recipe and ended up with a pan of dry crumbled stuff… not anything like the photos here…. it was extremely dry and crumbly and did not stick together at all… I even added extra ketchup before baking it because I could tell it was super dry….

    1. Hi there! I am so sorry this didn’t work out for you! Hmmm, I’m trying to think of what might have gone wrong.. Many, many people have made this and no one has had this problem yet. Did you use all of the wet ingredients? And use a food processor for the chickpeas? The only other thing I can think of is to add the breadcrumbs in last, and only use as much as you need to, though I found the full amount to be perfect and they help prevent a mushy loaf.

  11. This is in the oven as we speak. I have entered the recipe twice into My Fitness Pal, and even with 8 servings it comes out to 429 cal per serving. Can you help clarify the nutritional info? Is there a more reliable website/app I can use? This varies drastically from what you have listed. Thank you!

    1. I hope you enjoyed it! Hmm, I wonder if you entered dried chickpeas instead of 3 cups canned? I just entered it again (I use cronometer) and got the same 213 calories per serving (6 servings total) and with the ketchup topping, 266 calories. 🙂

  12. OMG! After 4 pretty unsuccessful awfully disgusting tries at different GF Vegan Meatloaf Recipes this one is just plain AMAZING!! Just Amazing!! I ran out of GF Panko so I made some GF breadcrumbs to add just as you said. Turned out perfectly! Thank you from the bottom of my stomach!!

  13. When you say a can of chick peas, what size are you referring to? I tend to cook my own chick peas so listing the quantity would be helpful. TIA.

    1. 15 oz cans of chickpeas. I updated the recipe with that information! So 2 15 oz cans, or 3 cups cooked chickpeas. Thanks!!

  14. I loved this vegan chickpea loaf far better than lentil loaf. It is a keeper. I can’t wait to make a sandwich with it.

  15. I made this last weekend. Really delicious. I love the texture. It slices beautifully, and is great hot or cold. It has made it into my recipe card box!!

  16. I made this yesterday and it was a hit! Probably the best loaf I’ve ever attempted. Not mushy at all. Even my meat-eating husband gobbled it up. Thanks for a great loaf recipe!

      1. Oh good, as i was wondering about the tahini too…i just don’t want the added fat..so it will still bind together without it you think?

          1. You might be able to, especially if your blender has a “pulse” option. You don’t want them to be blended, just broken up a bit. The best alternative would be to mash them with a fork or potato masher.

        1. Kikkoman panko breadcrumbs are vegan, as are Trader Joe’s version. But if you can’t find them, you can use any kind of breadcrumbs that are dairy free, or make your own with a food processor or high powered blender. Just blitz a few pieces of bread until you have enough crumbs for the recipe. Hope that helps!

  17. This is neat. I am gluten-free so I’d have to find suitable panko but I make chickpeas somewhat regularly, usually fry them in a pot with diced onion, garlic, some curry powder or other seasoning/condiment, and olive oil, then smash with potato masher. Very nice. I may make this recipe above. Saved. Five stars for chickpeas and how yummy this looks. 🙂

    1. Thanks Jess! I think any gluten-free breadcrumbs would work fine. Your usual chickpea dish sounds delicious! I love chickpeas, they are so versatile. Thanks for your comment! 🙂

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