This is the best vegan meatloaf You will never eat! Filled with lentils, vegetables, and delicious goodness. And if you love this vegetarian meatloaf recipe, add a bell pepper, portobello mushroom, or some pasta shells to this yummy lentil mix!
When I was young, my mother used to cook the best meat in the world. Even though this was before we all started eating plant-based, I remember a meatloaf sandwich in my lunch box the next day. But vegan meatloaf is in a class of its own. This vegan meatloaf recipe is so good; You should make two loaves!
While everyone in the family likes to cover their meat sandwiches in ketchup, mine was covered in yellow mustard. So, I made this vegan meatloaf that reminds me of my childhood. Unfortunately, most vegan meatloaf recipes come out dry and tasteless.
This new recipe cracks the code I created – Vegan Meatloaf with Lentils! Lentils are the secret ingredient.
Vegan meatloaf tastes just like mom’s recipe. Not only does it have texture and flavor, but this vegetarian meatloaf with lentils is loaded with veggies and high-fiber lentils to make it so much better than mom’s version.
Mistakes to avoid
Of course, making a vegan meatloaf took a lot of trial and error. My multiple failures always result in a dry loaf or a moist and crumbly loaf.
Also, my other loaves stick to the pan and taste bland. Finally, after cooking my lentils were too soggy, my bread soggy and looking back at my mistakes.
Another mistake I made was over-mixing the vegetables and lentils, again creating an overly soggy bread. Ironically, cooking the vegetables before making the bread was better than leaving the vegetables raw.
Instead, I recommend using whole drained lentils and not overcooking them. Or use vacuum-sealed precooked lentils from the produce section.
For example, Trader Joe’s sells precooked vacuum-sealed lentils, which work perfectly for this recipe. Sometimes, a shortcut like this saves a lot of time.
Looking back, I recommend roasting the vegetables before making the bread, to reduce the water released during cooking. This makes the bread stiffer, but it sticks together better when removed from the pan.
Additionally, I use a silicon loaf Pan to prevent sticking. If you don’t have a silicone loaf pan, use parchment paper, so the loaf comes out of the pan easily.
Finally, after much trial and more error, I mastered the vegan meatloaf recipe. I focused on combining lots of flaxseed meal, bread crumbs and quick oats.
As simple as all this sounds, the struggle was real. But once I figured it out, my results were better.
Ingredients for lentil bread
- Prepared brown lentils: Prepared lentils means pre-cooked. I love Trader Joe’s Steamed Brown Lentils. They are oil-free and a great shortcut when cooking with lentils.
- White or yellow onion: I love onions, and the more onions in the meatballs the better!
- the carrot: Did you know that boiled or steamed carrots provide more antioxidants than eating them raw?
- Celery: The natural saltiness and slight bitterness of the celery adds depth to the flavor of the mirepoix.
- red pepper: Sweet in taste and beautiful in color, red bell peppers provide a crunch as well as a nutritional component to lentil bread.
- mushroom: When added to the ingredients, the mushrooms act as meat and the moisture helps bind the ingredients together.
- garlic: I love garlic in everything. Fresh garlic is best.
- Tomato paste: Just goes a long way in terms of flavor and texture.
- Barbecue Sauce: I make my own BBQ sauce, but your favorite bottled brand works too.
- Yellow Mustard: My mom always adds yellow mustard to her meatloaf recipe. It gives a little tang.
- Flaxseed meal: It provides a binding element and works well with ingredients to stick everything together.
- Fresh Parsley: Parsley brings freshness to the meatloaf ingredients.
- Salt: All you need for this recipe is a little salt to enhance the flavors already in the recipe.
- Chilli: Black pepper changes the taste of food, adding depth and some spice.
- Quick Oats: Oats act as a secondary binder and a healthy ingredient in bread.
- Slices of whole wheat bread: I’ve used Dave’s bread and made my own), but ready-made bread slices are better.
Substitute lentil bread ingredients
- Regular rolled oats and quick cook are usually interchangeable in baking recipes. If your recipe calls for quick-cooking oats and you only have old-fashioned rolled oats, pulse the old-fashioned oats a few times in a food processor.
- Tomato paste out? Use ketchup as a quick alternative.
- Make your own bread crumbs by crushing bread and toasting in a food processor. You can even make glutinous bread slices with gluten-free bread.
- Use green chillies instead of red chillies.
- Add jalapenos for a little spice, but be sure to wear gloves when working with jalapenos.
- Substitute white or yellow onions with red onions for a sweeter taste.
How to make the recipe
First, saute minced garlic, chopped onion, celery, carrots and mushrooms in a large pan.
While the vegetables are roasting, combine all other ingredients in a food processor with a large blade. Then add the fried vegetables and pulses until the ingredients are combined.
But avoid over-pulsing. The texture will appear thick and chunky.
After that, you can prepare a bread pan. To cook without oil, use parchment paper to line a loaf pan. This process also removes the lentil bread and makes it easier to clean once it cools.
Next, transfer the processed lentil mixture to the prepared pan, cover it with aluminum foil and bake.
Remove the aluminum foil, spread additional barbecue sauce over the meatloaf (optional), and bake uncovered for an additional 10 minutes.
Let cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from pan and slicing. And, if desired, make this vegan meatloaf a day ahead and reheat it, or eat it chilled in a sandwich. Hot or cold, this lentil bread does not disappoint.
Since my mom always serves mashed potatoes with her mashed potatoes, I decided to do the same.
So, I served my vegan mashed potatoes on the side. We used to dip our meat potatoes in mashed potatoes as kids.
Watching my husband dip his vegan lentil bread into his mashed potatoes made me smile.
Ground flax, breadcrumbs and oats are perfect binders in many vegan recipes. Instead of using eggs, these will hold your meatloaf together.
The most popular base ingredients for making vegan meatloaf are lentils, beans, quinoa, tofu, brown rice, and tempeh.
Store the bread in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Or, freeze meatloaf whole or in individual slices.
- Lentils to dry! If you cook your lentils or use canned lentils, make sure they are drained and firm, not mushy.
- Do not over-pulse the mixture in the food processor. Over-beating causes the mixture to become too moist and not bake.
- Use a silicone loaf pan lined with parchment paper instead of a standard loaf pan.
- Or, line a baking sheet and use your hands to form a loaf on the baking sheet.
- Another option is to use a large muffin pan for individual meat loaves
- Mini loaf pans are a cute way to make individual lentil loaves.
- But be aware, if using a muffin pan or small loaf pan, cut the cooking time in half.
- Allow bread to set up before cutting.
- I love this meatloaf cold cut the next day in a sandwich.
- I have found that this mixture makes a wonderful lentil bread and vegan spaghetti and meatballs for meat. Or use vegan meatloaf stuffed with red or green peppers for stuffed peppers.
- Another great idea if you’re single is to put the lentil bread in muffin pans for single servings and freeze individual servings for future meals.
The next time you’re craving comfort food, try this vegan meatloaf! You will love every bite!
More Recommended Vegan Recipes
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This lentil loaf is the best vegan meatloaf you’ll ever eat! Make it the day before, enjoy it for dinner, and make cold vegan meatloaf sandwiches for lunch! YUM! And if you like this recipe, add a bell pepper, portobello mushroom or some pasta shells to this yummy lentil mixture.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Chop onion, celery, mushroom, red pepper and carrot (diced). I used the small blade on my favorite vegetable chopper.
In a large skillet, cook onion, garlic, mushrooms, carrots, celery, and salt and pepper until browned. (You can use a little vegetable broth to avoid sticking)
Pulse prepared lentils, quick oats, flaxseed, bread crumbs, cooked vegetables, tomato paste, BBQ sauce, mustard and parsley in a food processor.
The finished product should be chunky; Do not over pulse.
Use a silicone backing or place parchment paper in the bottom of a glass loaf pan. If you don’t have a loaf pan, you can shape the dough into a loaf on a cookie sheet.
Place the dough in the loaf pan and press down gently to form a loaf shape.
Cover with aluminum foil.
Cover and bake for 35 minutes.
Uncover after 35 minutes, and sprinkle additional bbq sauce on top.
Return to oven, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven; Recover and let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.
I find it easier to remove it from the pan before cutting.
- Do not over-pulse the mixture in the food processor.
- Allow bread to set up before cutting.
- Place the mixture in a baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
- Stuff this mixture inside the stuffed shells and pour your favorite marinara sauce on top; Then bake covered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
- Fill large portobello mushroom caps with the lentil mixture and drizzle with barbecue sauce or marinara. Bake covered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
- Make meatballs by rolling the mixture into balls; Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
- Or, make lentil bread muffins in a large pan for individual meat cravings.
- And my favorite is a cold lentil bread sandwich with mustard crusted toasted bread!
Worship: 12gCalories: 92kcalSugars: 17gProtein: 5gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fats: 1gMonounsaturated fats: 0.2gSodium: 281mgPotassium: 308mgFiber: 5gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 1150IUVitamin C: 11mgCalcium: 21mgIron: 2mg
Oh! My name is Kathy, I am a retired high school English teacher and vegetarian and blogger. My entire blog is completely plant-based vegan. I truly believe that what we eat and how we live determines our health and the preservation of our planet! 🙂