This vegan meatloaf recipe is moist, hearty, and nutritious. It has all the flavor and comfort of a traditional meatloaf, while being vegan and gluten-free.
Meatloaf is one of the most comforting foods that you can make during the winter. It’s comforting, hearty, and super filling, while being packed with winter flavors. But there’s one big problem with meatloaf: it’s usually made with meat, with a good amount of gluten, too. And so I set out to create a gluten-free, vegan meatloaf recipe that was just as tasty as a traditional meatloaf.
This recipe hits the nail on the head. Nutritional yeast, tamari, mushrooms, and walnuts give the vegan meatloaf a meaty flavor, while lentils, flaxseed meal, and oats give it a meaty texture. It’s full of strong, cozy flavors and spices like fennel seeds, maple syrup, and hot sauce, and topped with a sweet, sour, and sticky glaze. This vegan meatloaf has everything you could want in a meatloaf recipe, and so much more.
What You’ll Need
Here are all the ingredients needed for this gluten-free vegan meatloaf recipe. Be sure to check out the recipe card at the bottom of the article for the exact amounts of each ingredient.
For the Lentil Meatloaf:
- Olive oil
- Mushrooms – You can use whatever type of mushrooms you like. I usually keep it simple with cremini or button mushrooms, but shiitake mushrooms will add even more meatiness to the dish.
- Shallot – If you don’t have a shallot, a red onion will work just fine.
- Kosher salt
- Ground flaxseed meal
- Lentils – You want to use lentils that are already cooked. Green or brown lentils will both work fine.
- Gluten-free breadcrumbs
- Oats – Be sure to use fast-cooking oats.
- Nutritional yeast
- Tomato paste
- Gluten-free tamari – Tamari is very similar to soy sauce, but doesn’t have wheat. I like to use a low-sodium tamari.
- Maple syrup – Be sure to use 100% real maple syrup.
- Hot sauce – This is an optional ingredient, but I strongly recommend it.
- Dried oregano
- Dried basil – If you prefer, you can use Italian seasoning in place of the oregano and basil.
- Fennel seeds – These are optional
For the Glaze:
- Tomato paste
- Apple cider vinegar
- Maple syrup
- Ground mustard
- Gluten-free tamari
How to Make Vegan Meatloaf
Here are the steps for making this fun, healthy, and hearty lentil meatloaf.
- Prep. Preheat your oven to 350F, and line a 9×5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
- Cook the veggies. Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the carrots, shallot, and mushrooms, and cook until the carrots are tender and the mushrooms have released all their liquid. This should take about 10 minutes.
- Season. Add the garlic and some salt, then cook until the mixture becomes fragrant. This should take roughly a minute.
- Make a flax egg. Add some water to the flaxseed meal and let it sit for 10 minutes. The mixture should become fairly thick.
- Make the loaf. Add all of the cooked ingredients, the flax egg, some lentils, and the rest of the ingredients in the recipe to a food processor. Turn the food processor on, and process the mixture until it forms a cohesive dough.
- Add the rest of the lentils. Pour the rest of the lentils in the food processor, and pulse until just combined.
- Shape the meatloaf. Place the meatloaf dough in the loaf pan, and press down slightly, then smooth out the top. Let it sit for 15 minutes.
- Make the glaze. Add all of the ingredients for the glaze into a bowl, and whisk together.
- Glaze the loaf. Pour or brush all of the glaze across the top of the meatloaf.
- Bake. Place the meatloaf in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. After the meatloaf is done cooking, let it rest in the loaf pan for 10 minutes, then move it to a wire rack for at least 10 more minutes before serving.
Tips for Success
Here are some tricks and tips for making the best possible gluten-free vegan meatloaf.
- Cook the lentils ahead of time. For the best results, I recommend cooking the lentils the day before, then straining them fully before placing them in the fridge. This will save you a lot of time when you make the meatloaf, and also help with the texture.
- Make consistent cuts. When cutting the shallot, mushrooms, and especially carrots, try to be consistent. You want the pieces of each veggie to be cut to a similar size, so that they cook at the same time. It’s never fun to eat a meatloaf where some of the carrot pieces are still a little raw, while the rest have finished cooking.
- Let it properly rest. This vegan meatloaf is going to smell absolutely incredible when it’s baking in your oven. You’ll want to dive into it when you take it out, but have a little patience. By letting the meatloaf rest and cool for the proper amount of time, you allow it to absorb all the liquids, and firm up.
Since this is a rich and hearty dish, I like to serve it alongside a lighter salad, or some veggies. Here are a few of my favorite recipes to pair with this vegan meatloaf.
- Quinoa “tabbouleh” salad
- Pear and arugula salad
- Watermelon and goat cheese salad with spiced nuts
- Easy roasted zucchini
- Amazing roasted winter vegetables with maple glaze
How to Store and Reheat Vegan Meatloaf
This recipe can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in a 350F oven for 10 minutes, or in the microwave on 80% power in 30-second increments.
Can This Recipe Be Frozen?
You can definitely freeze this recipe for an easy meal at any time. Store it in an airtight container, and freeze for up to 4 months. Reheat directly from the freezer in a 350F oven for 15 minutes.
For the Meatloaf:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup carrots , diced
- 1 cup mushrooms , finely chopped
- ¼ cup shallot (or red onion), diced
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt , divided
- 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal
- 1 ½ cups cooked green or brown lentils (about ½ cup dry), divided
- 1 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs
- ½ cup walnut pieces
- 1 cup quick-cooking oats
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- ½ cup tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons gluten-free tamari , low-sodium preferred
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil (or substitute 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning for both the basil and oregano)
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a 9×5 loaf pan with parchment and set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Sauté the carrots, mushrooms and shallot until carrots are tender, and the mushrooms have released their liquid, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and ½ teaspoon salt and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Meanwhile, combine the flaxseed meal with ⅓ cup of water and let sit for 10 minutes to gel.
- Add the cooked vegetables, 1 cup lentils, flax egg, and remaining ingredients, including the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, to a food processor. Process until a dough starts to form, scraping down the sides as necessary so everything is fully incorproated. Some larger pieces of carrots are ok, it doesn’t have to be completely uniform. Pulse in the remaining ½ cup lentils.
- Transfer dough to the prepared loaf pan, pressing it down with a wooden spoon or spatula. Smooth the top. Let the mixture sit in the loaf pan for 15 minutes to allow the liquids to absorb.
- Whisk all glaze ingredients together then pour over the loaf.
- Bake for 45 minutes, then cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing from the dish. Cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving. You can serve at room temperature or warm. Remaining slices can be frozen or kept in the fridge for 2 – 3 days.