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
4.89 stars (243 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

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. We love this! So much better then any loaf made with meat or fake meat. I made it according to the recipe except for the topping, I used apple butter bbq sauce instead 🤤
    I use your recipes more than any others because they’re easy and delicious, thank-you! Looking forward to more yumminess 😉

  2. I made this as written and it was delicious. My 1 year old granddaughter couldn’t get enough! I would like to make this in muffin tins for individual servings. Any suggestions for that option?

    1. That would be so fun! They will not need to cook nearly as long, maybe only 20-30 minutes. I’m so glad you love the recipe! Thank you for your awesome review! Happy cooking!

  3. Hi Nora; I made this several times and my husband and I love it. I make sandwiches with the leftover yum!
    I want to make this for a church potluck in a 9×13 casserole dish; do I have to double or triple the recipe to make the right thickness? I have been a vegan
    30 years, right after I was diagnosed with RA and read to avoid flesh foods. My RA is now in remission. Praise God!

    I use many of your recipes and making the chocolate cake again for church. Everyone loves it!

    1. That is wonderful to hear Lisa! I haven’t done this (I should!) but I think I would double it for a 9×13 inch dish. What a great idea for a potluck.

  4. I followed the recipe almost exactly and it’s super delicious holy liquid smoke. Mine came out kinda mush like but it’s my own fault cause I didn’t read the recipe right and didn’t drain the chickpeas.

  5. This was one of the best loafs I’ve made (according to my mom). We really enjoyed the flavor and the texture was perfect. Did everything exactly as written in the recipe. Superb!

  6. This is so good. I’ve had other versions that are super mushy…not this one. I used a potato masher and then a fork for the beans. Amazing ketchup topping!

  7. Hi Nora, I love this recipe! I made a few alterations because of what I had and didn’t have in my kitchen, and I was excited to make it. First, I only had one can of chickpeas so I added a can of black beans. Next, I had some fennel in the fridge that needed to be used up, so I diced it and added that to the other veggies in the saute. I also forgot I had sliced water chestnuts in the cabinet – I added those too – some I diced and added to the saute, and some I cut in half and added later. I didn’t have breadcrumbs, so I used steel-cut oats – I didn’t need much. Finally, I added chili pepper flakes to the topping. I wasn’t crazy about the taste when I took it out of the oven & was disappointed with myself that I didn’t follow the exact recipe. I was going to eat it anyway, and the next day when I warmed it up at work – it was AMAZING! I can’t wait to try your other recipes. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

    1. I think it’s wonderful that you got creative and used what you had in the kitchen. The fact that it tasted amazing the next day is just a great bonus! Thanks so much for your review and feedback 🙂

  8. Hi Nora,

    I’m going to make this tonight but I only have flax and chia seed mix (whole). Can I omit the ground flax seed or should I sub with something else? Thanks!

    1. If you don’t mind whole seeds being in your loaf, you could use them. Is there any way you can grind the seeds down? A coffee grinder works, or a food processor or blender. If not, you could use another egg replacer if you have it, like JUST Egg liquid, or Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer powder mixed with water. If you really need to you could just omit the flaxseeds, just know the meatloaf might not stay together as well.

  9. I really like the flavor of this veggie meatloaf. I’ve tried lots of other veggie meatloaf recipes and this is my favorite. Next time I make it I’ll avoid putting the chickpeas in the food processor (I got impatient). Doing that does make it a bit mushier.

  10. I did not care for this as a loaf BUT I’ve been absolutely loving it seared in a pan the next day as part of a hash with eggs and cheeses and sometimes hash browns. I know that defeats the purpose of it being vegan, but I’m just starting out and leaning more vegetarian (or maybe lacto-ovo?) at the moment. Anyway, it’s delicious!

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