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.


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:





& 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
4.89 stars (222 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 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Servings: 6 servings


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


  • 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.



  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.


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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  1. I’ve tried several veggie meatloaf recipes. This one tastes the best. I think I smashed my garbanzo beans too much but the taste overall was wonderful! Will definitely try this again!

  2. This recipe is fantastic! It’s a great comfort food. The sauce is tasty and the filling is moist and flavorful. My non-vegan family even loves it. 

  3. Great recipe. I am shocked at the amazing moist and firm texture of this meatloaf. Very flavorful, balanced and filling. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  4. I’ve made this for Thanksgiving the last three years and it’s always delicious while also being simple to make (which helps lessen the madness of preparing several dishes at once).

    1. Thank you for taking your time to share your wonderful review and comments! I am so glad you are loving the meatloaf! I love easy and delicious as well!

  5. I made a double recipe. Can I leave all combined and mixed ingredients in bowl overnight  in frig or is it best to bake and reheat? 

    1. You could refrigerate the mixture overnight, but I would shape it into loaves first, then bake tomorrow. Otherwise it will be crumbly and hard to work with.

  6. Made this last night and it was absolutely delish! Texture came out perfect and really enjoyed this. Was even better today so will be making again. Made it oil free and substituted bell pepper for the celery (a family member does not like celery) and rolled outs for the breadcrumbs. Any ideas about healthier substitutes for the ketchup (less sugar)? I don’t like to use sugar free alternatives. Thanks for this recipe!!!

    1. Hi Ray. I’m glad you enjoyed the meatloaf! Ketchup substitute options are BBQ sauce, which I sometimes use. Others have also used tomato paste, and some have used mustard. Thank you for sharing your comments!

    1. It just helps the loaf stay together and not fall apart as easily, but it’s okay to leave it out if needed. Or just ground chia seeds instead. Even JUST Egg would work. Enjoy!

  7. Hi Nora, thanks for all your recipes…me and my tummy enjoy them very much!
    Question: I would like to make these a mini loafs ( one for each person) – would the bake time & temp have to be altered? Thanks again for all you do!

    1. I’m so glad, thank you! That sounds so fun. Yes, I would only bake mini loaves for about 15 minutes. Hope everyone enjoys!

  8. I just made this tonight, my first time making any type of “meatless” meatloaf and I have to say the taste is wonderful! I did change it up a bit using some TVP and vitual wheat gluten (just a bit of each) and I do like the texture it gave me. I also added an egg, (I’m vegetarian) and to tell the truth I don’t think it needed it at all because it was a bit too moist but I added it because of comments that the loaf could be dry but I will leave it out next time.
    Thank you for a great recipe and making me a believer in “meatless” meatloaf! <3

  9. I love this recipe! I want to make it ahead and freeze it (in preparation for Thanksgiving). Could you walk me through the best way to do that? Should I freeze it before baking it, and if so, can I put it straight in the oven while frozen (and maybe bake it a bit longer), or should I defrost it and then follow the usual baking directions? Or is it better to bake it before freezing, and if so, what’s the best way to warm it up without it drying out?

    1. I think it would be best to make the loaf, don’t add the topping, and freeze without baking. Cover it well (I usually wrap in foil then place in a large ziplock bag). Then, when ready to serve, defrost in the refrigerator overnight. Add the topping and bake as directed. It may need a few extra minutes because it will be going in cold. Hope that helps!

  10. Hi Nora, what can be substituted for the Nutritional Yeast or can it simply be omitted? Thanks so much looking forward to making this next week!!!

  11. Hi Nora – we love your meatloaf recipe! Question- can it be frozen? My daughter is expecting her first baby and we are looking for make ahead recipes which can be frozen.
    Thank you so much!

  12. Hi Nora! My husband is not a fan of ketchup. Could I replace the ketchup that goes inside of the loaf with barbecue sauce? Would that be a good substitute? What do you think would be best? Thank you!

  13. Hi Nora,

    First I want to thank you for such the lovely recipes.  I have been a vegetarian (sometimes vegan) cook for over 50 years, and I must say that your recipes produce some wonderful tasting food!  

    I am in the process of making “The Best Vegan Meatloaf,” and I have two questions for you:
    1.  Are the bread crumbs soft or dry?  

     2.  How wide is the 9″ loaf pan that you use?  I have two different 9″ loaf pans that vary in the volume they will hold based on their width.   

    I look forward to hearing from you soon.  


    1. Hi Maggie. Thank you for your wonderful words! I take them as a high compliment from someone who has been a cook for over 50 years! The bread crumbs are dry. I use the standard loaf pan, which is 9 x 5 x 2-1/2 inches. I hope this helps, and that your meatloaf turns out great!

  14. I made this for Thanksgiving dinner today and it is soooo good! My meat loving hubby said it tasted way better than his ham and my 4 year old loved it too! This ones a keeper! Thanks for sharing your wonderful vegan recipes Nora! 

    1. Hi Christine! I’m so glad the meatloaf was delicious for your family! Thank your using my recipes, and for taking time to share your great review and comments!

  15. First timer making a chickpea “meat” loaf. 
    Substituted well cooked brown rice and add a bit old bay spices to the loaf. 
    Made a day before, refrigerant it and reheated at the supper next day. 
    I think the flavour developed better after a day. 
    Enjoyed it with vegan mushroom gravy. 
    Will make it again. 

  16. First timer making a chickpea “meat”loaf. 
    I substituted bread crumbs with well cooked brown rice and added extra seasonings (old bay spices ) . 
    Much easier to slice after the loaf cooled. I cooked the day before and reheated at the supper. 
    Enjoyed it amd will make it again.

  17. Love this recipe, I make it every Thanksgiving and Christmas. I add a can of Tomato Paste for my topping instead of ketchup it’s the best. YUMMY, YUMMY, YUMMY!! ?

  18. Love this recipe, I ma,e it every Thanksgiving and Christmas. I add a can of Tomato Paste for my topping instead of ketchup it’s the best. YUMMY, YUMMY, YUMMY!! ?

  19. I’ve made this today for our Thanksgiving Sunday tomorrow. I had enough left for a small “tester” loaf . For a preview dinner tonight. ? It was fabulous and one of the best vegan meatloaf’s I’ve ever tried. 

  20. Hi Nora,
    Can the loaf be made a day ahead and re-heated and if so how long and what temp should it be re-heated at?
    Thanks for the recipe! 🙂

    1. Hi Alice. Yes, you can make it ahead of time. I would just cover it with foil and reheat it in the oven at 375 degrees until just warmed through. Maybe leave off the topping until you re-warm it. Another option is to prepare it, put in the loaf pan, and refrigerate it. When ready, bake as per the recipe instructions. I hope that helps!

    2. I made the day befor and reheated in the oven for 10 minutes at the supper next time. 
      I think the temp was 375 F. 
      I think the flavour developed better after a day. 

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