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.
*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!
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.
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!
Want more savory vegan dishes? Try one of these!
Inspired by this recipe.
The Best Vegan Meatloaf
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
- (2) 15 oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed (3 cups)
- 1- 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs*
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke, optional, but good
For the topping
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
I was a little disappointed, but perhaps it is because I didn’t use bread crumbs. Mine was flavorful, but more like bean dip than a loaf. We’re gluten free, and I was looking for away to economically make this loaf . I chose rice cake crumbs. I used 1 cup. Perhaps next time I’ll try using more crumbs or adding some oats.
Rice cake crumbs are very different from gluten free breadcrumbs, which is why the loaf didn’t hold together. Old fashioned oats would probably be a better substitute if you try this again.
I was looking for a vegan “Meatloaf “ to make this morning and came upon your “The Best Vegan Meatloaf” recipe!! I had all the ingredients and decided that would be my recipe of the day!! While my chickpeas were cooking in my hot pot I prepared the sauteed veggies, and got the other ingredients together ready to add!! In what seemed like no time at all I had it all together and in the oven!! I can tell you it did not disappoint. I had a slice with a side of broccoli and cauliflower and what a delicious meal!! I definitely will be making it again!! Thank you for sharing this recipe!!
You are welcome, Sandra! It’s so awesome to read your experience with my meatloaf recipe! I am thrilled you loved it! Thank you for sharing your fantastic feedback and review!
Hello. Trying to use the nutrition info but … how many servings does this make? It must say that somewhere, but darned if I can find it. Thank you.
Hi Lynne. This recipe makes six servings. When you go to the recipe ingredients and instructions, you’ll see the serving information listed below the title of the recipe. I hope this helps! Happy cooking!
GF SUBSTITUTION: I used 1 cup QUICK OATS instead of bread crumbs. Also added a generous sprinkle of VegeSal (my favorite seasoning salt) and slightly more ground flax. The mixture seemed a bit dry compared to vege-loaf recipes I usually make, so I was skeptical–but this loaf held together perfectly. It looked like the picture, and tasted good. My garbanzo-averse husband found it acceptable, especially with gravy. My flexitarian friend liked it, and said her meat eating husband will enjoy the leftovers. I grew up vegetarian, so am used to entrees with more flavor than this. To me this was nice, but a bit too mild–probably mirroring the mild flavor of meat. Next time I’d add McKay’s Chicken-style Seasoning, Better Than Bouillon, Bragg Aminos, or Bragg 24 Herb Sprinkle, etc. to get a more intense flavor.
I really liked the flavors of the meatloaf but mine did not hold together. I think my pressure cooked chickpeas were not wet enough and I tried to not overmash. I can’t use breadcrumbs so I used oats which I think means I needed more moisture.
I will try again though, after all my leftovers are gone. It’s still tasty even falling apart. I might add a bit of water or some mashed sweet potato as another veggie binder.
Don’t want use the topping, still need to cook for the extra 15min after the 30?
No, you don’t need to put it back in for another 15.
This looks delicious! Can this be prepared the day before, stored in the fridge l, and baked the next day?
Yes, that will work just fine. Thanks!
My husband and daughter will not eat ketchup. Would tomato paste work well in place of the ketchup? Is there an herb gravy you could recommend? You are my number one source for vegan recipes! Thank you!
You could leave it off and serve with my Easy Vegan Gravy instead, I love this combination. Or top with BBQ sauce. I don’t think tomato paste will taste very good.
I use a can of cream of tomato to which I add 1/3 can of tomato paste and 1/3 cup of brown sugar. Add salt, pepper and a little basilic.
Thank you for sharing!
Enjoyed this recipe much more than the one that I have been using. It’s very tasty, slices and holds together well. The whole family loved it!
Thanks for sharing your terrific feedback and review! I’m so glad the family loved the meatloaf!
Hi Nora, I think I’ve reviewed this recipe before but just had to drop by again. Currently enjoying the delicious leftovers, this recipe deserves all the stars in the world. I make it again and again, thank you so much.
Do you have a favorite brand of canned chickpeas?
Aw thank you so much Jules! That’s great to hear. I don’t really have a favorite brand, I use a variety, usually the low sodium just because of preference.
I hear you. I do the same. Thanks for letting me know.
Thank you for sharing
You are welcome! Thank YOU for sharing your great review!
Delicious!!! I used Bob’s Redmill Egg Replacer instead of flax and gluten free bread crumbs, and it came out perfectly. This is a keeper.
That’s wonderful to hear, Gina! Thank you for sharing!
I absolutely love this recipe, I twel it a little for our taste and it’s the only meatloaf we eat, we love all your recipes. Thank You
Great “meat”-loaf! I would tweet a bit next time. More onions fewer carrots and would sauté veggies longer, more ketchup/Worcestershire mixture for the top!
Overall very good recipe! Will be making this again!
I’m glad you loved the meatloaf! Thank you for your great ideas and feedback! Happy cooking!
I have been making this for over a year now on a regular basis. I absolutely love it. Meatloaf is one thing I miss from before my vegan days, so I was very happy to find your recipe.
I’m so glad you liked it! Thank you for your wonderful feedback and review!
Can this be prepped ahead of time, frozen, and baked later? I would like to make 2 of these at a time, then eat one fresh and save one for another meal.
Yes, it freezes well both before and after baking.
Very good!! Hit the spot when I was randomly craving some meatloaf!
I’m so glad the meatloaf hit the spot for you! Thanks for your terrific feedback!
Hi Nora ~ We used your “Best Vegan Meatloaf” recipe for dinner tonight. WOW!! Sooooo good!!! Great taste, texture, aroma, appearance, and one fantastic sandwich for tomorrow’s lunch! Bless you, for all of your hard work in formulating this wonderful recipe!! We enjoyed the meal ~ all of it, and are looking forward to sandwiches tomorrow. This recipe takes a bit of prep, but it is worth all of the chopping!! Thank you for sharing your cooking talents with us!!
Hi what can you use instead of flax? I’m not vegan
Hi Lora. You could substitute with ground chia seeds or JUST Egg. I have never used a real egg in this recipe, however, others have and indicated it worked well. Enjoy!
I made this for the Christmas dinner. Delicious! The recipe called for bread crumbs … all I had was stuffing mix so I used it and it came out perfectly! 🙂 I will use bread crumbs next time to see the difference between them 🙂
Hi Charles. I’m glad you found the vegan meatloaf delicious! Good to know stuffing mix works! Thank you for your wonderful feedback!
Can we freeze this?!
It freezes very well, both before and after baking.
For Christmas dinner this year, I duplicated the dinner in A Christmas Story movie – meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and red cabbage. I needed a good vegan meatloaf recipe, and. I used yours. It was so easy (especially subbing pre-chopped mirepoix), and everyone loved it! It looked exactly like the picture! I made it the day before, and chilled it overnight. Then I sliced it and heated the slices. Thanks so much for posting this and all the rest of your wonderful recipes. My daughter is vegan, and I always check your website first when I’m looking for something to make for her.
Hi Anne. Your Christmas dinner sounds very fun and delicious! I’m glad the meatloaf turned out wonderful for you! Thank you for relying on my recipes when it comes to your vegan recipe needs! I appreciate you sharing your terrific feedback! Happy holidays!
Absolutely delicious. I’ve tried a few other recipes now, and this is by far my favorite.
I didn’t add enough breadcrumbs, so it’s a bit too moist, but that’s my fault. I’ll know for next time. I used a mix of chickpeas and pinto beans. So tasty!
I’m so happy to hear that you loved the meatloaf, Deborah! Thank you for taking time to share your wonderful feedback!
This was really, really good. But, the leftovers as a sandwich were truly amazing!! Looking forward to making it again.
I’m glad you loved the meatloaf, and I agree, the leftovers are amazing! Thanks for your fabulous feedback!
I am not true vegan so in lieu of flax seeds I used an eggs. Perfecto! Kids and adults loved. Now my go to recipe. Thank you for sharing.
You are so welcome! How wonderful that everyone loved the meatloaf! I’m thrilled to hear it is your go to recipe! Thank you for sharing your fantastic feedback!
Can you combine two different types of beans here? Any you would recommend?
Sure, pinto or white beans would work fine.
Can you freeze this recipe unbaked? Thanks!
Yes you can.
Can you freeze it after cooking and reheat at Christmas? Thanks
Yes, it freezes well both before and after baking. Just reheat it in a 350ºF oven before serving.