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
4.90 stars (209 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. Hi.. made this for the first time. The carrots were still very firm and the chickpeas weren’t make enough.. flavor was delicious but texture was not

  2. Love this recipe! Thank you! I’ve made it a few times and with gravy and other sides, it’s awesome. I usually add mushroom. Comes out great every time.

  3. This is the second time I’ve made this meatless loaf recipe and we just love it! I followed your recipe with no changes, the texture and flavor are perfect. Such a great comfort along with the mashed potatoes and peas and carrots I made with it. This freezes really well, too. I froze two complete meals. Such a quick and easy microwave meal at the end of a very busy, cool Fall day. Thank you so much for this delicious recipe.

    1. You are welcome! I agree that this is a very cozy meal, and I love a recipe that can be frozen for later! Thank you for positive feedback and review! It makes my day!

  4. I am excited to try this recipe for tomorrow nights dinner. Is it advisable to make ahead the day before, refrigerate it and then bake it the next day?
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Scott. This recipe can be made ahead, and baked the next day. I suggest putting the vegan meatloaf in the loaf pan, and refrigerating it. When ready, bake as per the recipe instructions. I hope that helps!

    1. Hi Brenda. I’m so glad you are loving the meatloaf and that it is your go-to recipe. Thanks for sharing your fabulous feedback!

  5. I have made this several times and we enjoy it every time.  Just wondering if you use this recipe to make chickpea balls instead of the loaf ?

  6. LOVE this meatloaf! I usually make a nut meatloaf, but this tastes better and is much more economical as well. I somehow ran out of garbonzo beans (rare occurence lol), and had to use that garbonzo bean pasta–elbows. I cooked them first, then added to the meatloaf and it was just delicious. Cannot wait to try it exactly as the recipe instructs, with just the beans. Thank you!!! New favorite here.

  7. Really tasty! I will be adding this recipe to my rotation of easy dinners. I was so pleased that it didn’t fall apart taking it out of the loaf pan, too! Thank you 🙂

    1. Hi Kamryn. You are welcome! I’m so glad this will be added to your meal rotation! Thank you for sharing your great feedback!

  8. My family loves all your recipes that I have tried and that’s quite a few.  I have a problem with any of the recipes that have chickpeas like the meatloaf and the patties as well.  For the patties when I made them last week the mixture seemed really dry so I added more tahini but they still crumbled.  We really love the flavor but I just can’t get them to stop crumbling.  The meatloaf is slowly coming along.  When I first made it, it was mushy and I couldn’t slice it. Now I can slice it but it is still a little mushy if you reheat it in the microwave the next day. Is it me or the chickpeas?  What am I doing wrong?

    1. Thanks so much for using so many of my recipes, Sharon! It’s hard to know what’s going wrong with the chickpea burgers and meatloaf without being there. If the meatloaf is turning out mushy, then it’s possible the chickpeas were over-mashed. As for the chickpea patties, you can add 1 flax egg if they’re crumbling or falling apart. I hope this helps!

  9. Yummy! I didn’t have celery nor did I want to put it in, so I subbed for orange bell pepper I had on hand. Also didn’t have liquid smoke, so I added some smoked paprika! Everything turned out delicious… Sauce was yummy on top, but I prefer more so added some after I sliced it onto my plate… Very delicious! thank you Nora! My go to vegan recipe gal 🙂

    1. You’re so welcome, Serena! I’m so glad you loved the meatloaf. Thank you for your wonderful feedback and review!

  10. Love, love LOVE this recipe!!! So easy to make, so delicious and comforting! My husband and I make this regularly, especially in those winter months. 

    1. Hi Mary. I know what you mean about this meatloaf being comforting! Thank you for sharing your wonderful feedback! I’m thrilled you both are loving the recipe!

  11. Can I give it   Five Stars!! The title says it all. And it makes great sandwiches the next day because it doesn’t fall apart.
    I would like to make these in mini loaf pans to freeze ahead. (Its just me)
    Would you have any idea as to the cooking time variance with the mini loaf pans?
    Thank you for sharing all your recipes.

    1. Hi Susie. I’m so glad you are loving the meatloaf! Bake the mini loaf pans for about 15 minutes. Thank you for taking time to share your wonderful feedback! Happy cooking!

  12. This recipe sounds great but wondering if I could replace the breadcrumbs with almond flour? Anyone experiment with that before?

  13. Tried this today, and it was fantastic. But then, everything I try of yours is. I did sauté the veggies in water because I try to do ff as much as I can. I honestly don’t think it altered the taste at all.

    1. I’m so glad you loved the meatloaf. Thank you for sharing your wonderful feedback and ideas! Wishing you lots of happy cooking!

  14. One of my children can’t eat soy. Have you ever made this without soy sauce? Or have you ever substituted something for the soy sauce?

    1. Yes, you can replace the soy sauce and Vegan Worcestershire sauce (which can contain soy) with coconut aminos. Hope this helps!

  15. Can the flax be substituted or omitted? It is something I struggle to find in my area. Thank you 🙂 

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