Home > Vegan Lentil + Quinoa Meatloaf
March 3, 2016

by Alyssa Rimmer

Vegan Lentil + Quinoa Meatloaf

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The best vegan quinoa meatloaf recipe made with lentils, mushrooms, and walnuts, topped with a healthy tomato and maple syrup glaze.

Facebook logoTwitter logoPinterest logoVegan Lentil + Quinoa Meatloaf -- it might sound strange, but it's absolutely AMAZING! Even meat-lovers will love this loaf! {gluten-free}

Yes! One of my fave things to do in the world: take a somewhat “unhealthy” Italian favorite and give it a complete makeover. Last week it was stuffed shells, today it's meatloaf.

Honestly, I've never been a huge fan of meatloaf. It's probably because I wasn't really exposed to it as a kid; if my mom was making something with ground meat you better believe it was meatballs. And plus, the name just throws me off a little bit.

And yet, when I made my healthy spin on this classic dish, a vegetarian quinoa meatloaf, I loved it. In fact, I was genuinely surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Normally I'm not big into leftovers, especially after I've spent a long day testing the recipe, but this was pure gold. I had it for lunch and dinner for the next two days.

Facebook logoTwitter logoPinterest logoThe BEST DAMN vegan meatloaf made with quinoa, lentils, walnuts and mushrooms -- the perfect meatless meal that even meat-eaters will love!

Now I know some people might be a little put off by the sounds of this recipe. Meatloaf without the meat? Is it going to be any good?

Of course, I would never share anything that wasn't delicious 😉 BUT this lentil loaf surprisingly has a very meat-like texture. The combination of lentils, mushrooms, walnuts, and quinoa make it tender and juicy, but it still has structure so it's not just a slice of soggy mush.

I've found that when you're thinking about recreating a meat-based dish into something that's vegetarian and vegan-friendly, you really want to start with ingredients that have a meat-like quality. Things like mushrooms, lentils, and nuts can all do this, especially when you're going for a ground meat consistency.

Facebook logoTwitter logoPinterest logoQUINOA MEATLOAF -- made with lentils, mushrooms and walnuts for a surprising meat-like texture! [vegan + gluten-free]

As I was thinking about this quinoa meatloaf, my main goal was to get the texture right, but I also wanted to make sure I could jam in as many nutrients as possible. Luckily, when you have a plant-based meal like this, it kind of naturally just happens. This loaf is packed with protein, fiber and healthy fats don't use any oils or refined sugars AND it's topped with the dreamiest tomato glaze that's way tastier than the traditional ketchup ones.

When they're all ground together, along with quinoa and a few other ingredients, the texture really does come out like meat. It's tender, juicy and flavorful, is still packed with protein and healthy fats, and yet doesn't have any animal products. Win-win in my book.

I mean just look…aren't plants amazing? Vegan meatloaf that looks like real meatloaf. It's incredible what you can do with them!

Facebook logoTwitter logoPinterest logoThis easy QUINOA MEATLOAF is vegan, gluten-free, packed with protein and veggies, and makes for a healthy and nutritious weeknight meal!

For this recipe, we start with a sauteed medley of carrots, mushrooms, shallots, and garlic which helps to elevate the flavor of the entire loaf. If we were to just add the veggies in raw, we would miss out on the smokiness they get from being cooked together on high heat.

After the veggies, come the lentils which bring a nice earthy, especially when paired with the buttery walnuts. The walnuts, quinoa, and oats also help give the loaf a little crunch. Remember…we're avoiding sogginess at all costs here, so the crunch was more than welcome.

Then I have the classic addition of tomato and Italian spices, as well as a little nutritional yeast which gives just a hint of cheesiness (with the actual cheese of course).

Facebook logoTwitter logoPinterest logoThis is definitely THE BEST vegan meatloaf I have ever tasted! I love the addition of lentils and quinoa - it makes it so filling without the need for any meat at all.

So whether you're looking for a meatless meal or just want to change up your normal routine, this protein-packed quinoa meatloaf is definitely a recipe you need to add to your list. It's super easy to make, freezes well and makes for awesome lunch leftovers.

And also, since we're celebrating National Nutrition Month, this recipe includes FIVE of my 10 best ingredients list:

  1. lentils
  2. quinoa
  3. oats
  4. nutritional yeast
  5. flaxseed meal

Pretty great, don't ya think!?

Facebook logoTwitter logoPinterest logoLENTIL + QUINOA MEATLOAF -- made with a blend of mushrooms, walnuts, lentils and quinoa, and then smothered in a tomato-maple glaze!

Your turn…

Have you experimented with turning any meat-based meals meatless? I'd love to hear what your favorite tips and tricks are in the comments below! And if you end up making this recipe, I'd love for you to snap a pic and tag @simplyquinoa on Instagram OR send me a snap (@alyssarimmer)! LOVE seeing your creations 🙂

xx A

More Healthy Vegan Recipes to try:


Facebook logoTwitter logoPinterest logoVegan Lentil Quinoa Meatloaf

Vegan Lentil + Quinoa Meatloaf

When they're all ground together, along with quinoa and a few other ingredients, the texture really does come out like meat. It's tender, juicy and flavorful, is still packed with protein and healthy fats, and yet does't have any animal products. Win-win in my book.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Refrigerate 5 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 189kcal
Author Alyssa Rimmer
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Facebook logoTwitter logoPinterest logoThe BEST DAMN vegan meatloaf made with quinoa, lentils, walnuts and mushrooms -- the perfect meatless meal that even meat-eaters will love!
3.96 from 24 votes



  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a 9x5 loaf pan with parchment and set aside.
  • In a large skillet, sauté the carrots, mushrooms, shallot and garlic until carrots are tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to the bowl of a food processor.
  • To the processor add remaining ingredients, reserving 1/2 cup lentils, and process until a dough starts to form. Pulse in remaining lentils.
  • Transfer dough to the prepared loaf pan, pressing it down with a wooden spoon or spatula. Smooth the top and prepare the glaze.
  • Whisk all glaze ingredients together then pour over the loaf. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes, then remove and bake uncovered for another 5.
  • Remove loaf from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Remaining slices can be frozen or kept in the fridge for 2 - 3 days.


recipe adapted from Eating Bird Food


Calories: 189kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 6g | Sodium: 445mg | Potassium: 540mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2835IU | Vitamin C: 4.3mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 2.9mg



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Facebook logoTwitter logoPinterest logoThe BEST DAMN vegan meatloaf made with quinoa, lentils, walnuts and mushrooms -- the perfect meatless meal that even meat-eaters will love!

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About Alyssa

Hey there, I’m Alyssa Rimmer, a certified Holistic Nutritionist, yoga-lover, dog mom, and founder of Simply Quinoa. It’s nice to meet you! I created SQ as a way to provide solutions for women just like me, who were struggling to find helpful information about how to live a healthy and fulfilled life. My hope is that you will find inspiration here on SQ – in my story, in my recipes, in the hundreds of wellness articles, and in our amazing community. Welcome!

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  1. Like many others, it’s not ‘setting’. I’m pretty experienced with veggie meatloaf. The taste is great! I’ll try again and NOT use the food prices, that might work. It’s been cooking about 50 minutes and still not set. I’ll take it out and pan fry some slices.

  2. […] – Our favorite recipes: black bean burger, hummus, crispy tofu, lentil meatloaf […]

  3. I made this for Thanksgiving, 2 recipes of it. I wish I had read the comments first. It tasted great, but like so many others, both of my loaves came out like mush! It definitely needed a lot more dry ingredients. We enjoyed the flavor but I was hoping to impress some non vegans and I think many did not even give it a try due to its mushy texture.

    • I’m not sure why people are having this issue! Are you at altitude by chance? I’ll try to test this again this week and see if I can figure out what’s going on 🙂

  4. […] – Our favorite recipes: black bean burger, hummus, crispy tofu, lentil meatloaf […]

  5. I wish I noticed these comments before making the meatloaf tonight! Mine also turned to pudding.. but it tastes wonderful so we spread it on toasted sourdough with mashed potatoes too, haha. If anyone finds a way to firm it up, let us know!

    • I’m so sorry it didn’t work for you! I’ve retested this multiple times so I’m not sure why some aren’t firming up!

  6. haven’t tried this yet, but wondering if you could do this with poultry seasoning instead of Italian seasoning for a more “thanksgiving” type flavor? If so, what amount would work best?

  7. I made this and it was amazing! My question is can I assemble the lOaf and freeze it and take it out to bake later? I want to pre make a bunch of these!

  8. I had the same experience as some others, with the loaf being quite soft in the middle. I let it cool and then sliced it. Once sliced, I tried both baking the slices to get a better crust and also pan frying. Both worked to firm up the slices.

  9. Hi there! Going to try this out and wondering if “ground mustard” is mustard (like from a jar) or mustard powder/ground mustard seed. Thanks!

  10. Could you comment on how the lentils should look after you cook them? What is their texture? Firm/slightly mushy? How dry should they be? Totally dry, like sit in a strainer for a while? Thanks so much. I have a feeling that is where things are going wrong for others, and don’t want to have that happen. THANK YOU!

    • I would say in between firm and mushy. You want them to be soft like other beans that you eat out of the can. No crunch to them, but not mushy 🙂

  11. This is the best tasting bean loaf Ive ever had, and I have been a vegetarian for 25 yrs. My problem with this recipe, like many others in this thread, is it Never firmed up. It went in as mush and came out as mush. I even cooked it twice as long. I am super bummed. Next time I will add breadcrumbs and use a heartier lentil instead of red. I am curious why it worked so well for some and not for others. Followed the recipe to a tee, with the exception of the miso.

    • I’m not sure why others have had this problem 🙁 I’ve made this multiple times and not had that issue. I’ll make some notes in the recipe to add suggestions 🙂

  12. Hi, I recently saw a documentary called “What the Health?” on Netflix, and am seriously considering becoming a vegetarian…and even vegan so here I am looking for recipes to try. I love meat and esp eggs 🙁 I can’t believe how bad they are for you.. Anyway, is it possible for you to put up a youtube vid of how you made this? It’s just easier to follow nowadays when we see things made live.

  13. Hii Alyssa!

    I don’t know how you came up with this recipe…but the meatloaf was DELICIOUS!! So much flavour!
    The only difference that I did was I substituted the nutritional yeast for some shredded white cheese.

    One question, how do you get it out from the pan because mine is soft…do you turn the pan upside down?

    Thank you so much :))

  14. I made this last night for some guests that are open to vegan receipes, they loved it and I loved it!!! The texture was a little mushy but still able to slice out. Thank you so much!!!!

  15. Made this for me and my husband as part of our Sunday roast and have to say it was absolutely delicious. Will cut what’s left into portions and freeze for future dinners but it’s looking like it won’t get as far as the freezer as we keep attacking it. We had it with roast potatoes, broccoli and egg free Yorkshire puddings, it was amazing and well worth the effort to make. Will definitely be bookmarking this to make again.

  16. As a holistic nutrition coach, I’ve been following you for quite awhile and love all your recipes! I just made this last night, and I gotta say . . . it is absolutely awesome. The only thing different is that I baked it at 450 degrees in a convection oven — only b/c the oven was that temp for roasted veggies. It turned out great. This would also make great burgers… yum!

  17. The flavor was fabulous. However, like some others, mine did not firm up. Might add some whole wheat pastry flour or bread crumbs next time.

  18. Alyssa,
    First and foremost- Thank you so much for your website! I just found it and I am in love with the recipes!! Thank you for all your hard work and dedication. I am vegan and I’ve just transitioned my kids over to veganism and I am so going to make this recipe. It looks amazing. But, I have a child with nut allergies..is there anything I can substitute for the nuts? And also any substitutes for miso paste? Thank you so much!

    • Excited to hear how you like it, Jennifer! I’m not 100% sure on the nut substitution as I haven’t personally tried it without nuts, but you could try sunflower seeds I think. And the miso? You could just leave that out, you just may want to add a touch more salt/tamari. Enjoy!

  19. […] image credit: simplyquinoa /  Alyssa Get the recipe here for this Vegan Lentil And Quinoa Meatloaf […]

  20. […] A way to eat less hormones, steroids and antibiotics while conserving energy is by making more meatless meals. And finally, if you have the resources to do so, try growing our own tomatoes/cucumbers/squash in […]

    • I had the same issue. I’ve made this twice now…second time I added more oatmeal, and although the flavour is there, it ends up just plopping out of the pan.

      • Hmm not sure why that’s happening for you! I’ll whip this up again this week and let you know if I can troubleshoot for you! xo

  21. Omg. I never leave comments on blogs.. But damn. I made this exactly as written and it came out SO GOOD. Even my omnivore husband tried multiple bites and really liked it. I’m gonna add this to the regular meal rotation and will probably make 2 loaves at a time. Thank youuuuuuuu!

  22. I had a hard time with this recipe. The flavor is great but it had a pudding consistency even after baking for twice the recommended time. Eventually I dumped it back in a bowl and added probably 2 cups cooked quinoa and a half cup extra oats and salvaged it. But it ended up taking me several hours in preparation and fixing it. Not worth it. I can’t understand how others were able to make this following the instructions and ingredients in the recipe. I’m not a novice cook and have experience with veggie meatloaf. Very mysterious.

    • I am also neither new to cooking nor making meatless loaves and wasn’t successful with this recipe.

      The flavor was great but it never did set, and I cooked it for well over an hour *more* than the recipe suggests. The outside was fine but the inside, even at the ends, was a mushy pudding consistency. I couldn’t get it to firm up at all.

      My guess is that either my cooked lentils (which are left up to interpretation in the recipe) had more liquid than required (though they seem to form the majority of the glue for the loaf) or the listed 3/4 cup quinoa is a pre-cooked rather than post-cooked measurement, which really makes a difference.

      It’s good enough that I’ll try again and will post if I can get a different result.

    • Hmmm I’m not sure what could have happened there? I’ve made this a bunch of times and never had any issues. Sorry about that!

  23. I made this for dinner last night as my first attempt at a meatless loaf. This was very delicious served with wild rice. I made no substitutions; but a few commenters stated that it didn’t hold together for them, so I added 1 cup of Italian bread crumbs and 3 tablespoons of aquafaba (replacing traditional egg) just in case. Leftovers tonight and putting this recipe in my rotation. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!

  24. Fantastic and satisfying recipe.
    It was delicious and very tasty.

    I didn’t have any miso on hand – so I simply left that out of the recipe, but wonderful just the same!

    Thanks Alyssa!

  25. Hi,
    This recipe looks wonderful…

    I’ve never used miso or tamari. (We have to cut down sodium) But, I’d like to try this recipe. (Also, we have to be soy-free)

    I was thinking about buying South River miso… They have a chick pea and azuki miso. They also have a chick pea and azuki tamari. Which flavor miso and tamari would you recommend?

    Also, any substitutions for the miso and tamari? Or, any organic low sodium soy-free miso and tamari that you would recommend?

    Thanks 🙂

    • I’m not sure about the low-sodium miso, but I LOVE their chickpea miso – it’s so yummy. You could also use coconut aminos to replace the tamari 🙂

  26. I made this and it was delicious. There were a lot of ingredients that I have never used before so it was somewhat intimidating but the picture made me want to give it a try. I’m glad I did because I will make it again for sure.

  27. I wasn’t aware that the lentils were brown and as it looked orange I used the orange variety. Turn out great anyway Thanks

    • Oh great! I’m glad to know that variety works as well 🙂 Yes, lentils come in all sorts of colors: black, brown, green, red. Glad you enjoyed it! xo

    • I’m pretty sure you could just leave it out, but maybe try adding 1 tablespoon of flour and see how that goes. Chia meal would also be an option!

  28. Alyssa, here in Australia oats are not considered gluten-free. I think there’s too much potential cross-contamination and even organic ones are marked as containing gluten. Otherwise this recipe looks great. Do you think that quinoa flakes would work as a substitute?

    • I used rolled, but you could do any! Since they’re getting ground up, I don’t think the type will really matter that much 🙂

  29. I am so obsessed with this!!! I love bean loaves, so this is right up my alley. I’m loving that you added walnuts and quinoa (of course) for extra nutrition. Must try this soon!!

  30. Looks amazing — I will try this for SURE. By the way, not being a huge lentil person (yet), would you say all lentils are created equal? I know they come in different colors. I’m sure any would work in this recipe but do you personally have a fave? 🙂

    • Nope – actually not all lentils are created equal. I used brown lentils in this recipe (will update the description) and those are definitely different than beluga and French. I think they will all still work, the consistency of the loaf might just be a teeny bit different 🙂 Enjoy!

    • Hmmm you could probably do some more carrots and maybe some celery. I haven’t tested without the mushrooms, but I think as long as you have the volume right, you could really use any other type of veggie. Let me know what you end up trying! xo

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