This vegan meatloaf is the best ever. It’s hearty, satisfying, loaded with flavor and glazed with a sweet and spicy tomato sauce.
I can hardly even believe how good this vegan meatloaf is.
Even before it’s cooked it’s so darn good. Don’t taste the mix before you cook it, you guys! You’ll just want to eat it just like that, and you can too.
It’s all vegan and ‘pre-cooked’ so nothing bad would even happen if you did, but rather have patience because it gets even better when cooked.
And if you like this recipe then also check out our vegan nut roast.
How To Make Vegan Meatloaf
You will find full instructions and measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post. This is a summary of the process to go along with the process photos.
- This vegan meatloaf recipe is based on chickpeas. This is mixed with onion, garlic, homemade breadcrumbs – and when I say ‘homemade’, I mean I put some sliced bread in the blender and made breadcrumbs – sweet chili sauce, dijon mustard, soy sauce, ground flaxseed meal, nutritional yeast, tomato paste and cayenne pepper.
- Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil, then mash up chickpeas with a fork or a potato masher, the object being to keep it quite chunky but not too chunky, add in all the other ingredients and mix it into a thick batter. Transfer it to a parchment lined loaf pan and smooth it down.
- Bake it for 30 minutes covered with foil.
- While it’s baking mix up a delicious tomato glaze of tomato paste, brown sugar, maple syrup, garlic powder and paprika and when the meatloaf has baked for 30 minutes, remove the cover and spread the tomato glaze on top. Put it back in the oven to bake for another 15 minutes (uncovered) and voilá!
Breadcrumbs. I used 4 slices of a regular pre-sliced thick cut sandwich bread for the breadcrumbs. It makes around 2 cups of homemade breadcrumbs. We just put the bread in the blender and pulse blend it to get breadcrumbs.
If you use a store-bought version of breadcrumbs such as panko breadcrumbs instead then you will need much less, in the region of 1 cup. This is because store-bought breadcrumbs are more dry than freshly made breadcrumbs. Use only as much as you need to get the consistency that you can see in our pics above.
Line your dish with parchment paper. It’s crucial to line your loaf pan with parchment paper, and not just line it, but have a parchment paper overhang so that you can lift the entire meatloaf out of the pan using the parchment paper.
This is necessary because the meatloaf isn’t super firm when it comes out of the oven, and the glaze on top is still quite wet, so you can’t be tipping it over onto your wire cooling rack the way you would with a loaf of home baked bread.
Let it cool for around 10 minutes after coming out of the oven, and then you just lift it right out with the parchment paper onto a wire cooling rack, let it cool for another 10 minutes and then serve.
How To Serve Vegan Meatloaf
This meatloaf is wonderful served with some vegan mashed potatoes or vegan mashed sweet potatoes or vegan stuffing, or alongside a delicious salad like our vegan kale salad or roasted butternut squash salad.
It doesn’t need gravy because it’s not at all dry, but if you do want to serve it with gravy, that would be awesome too. Especially if you’ve got some mashed potatoes on the side.
We have a wonderful vegan gravy recipe and a vegan mushroom gravy recipe, and either of those would be great. If you want to serve this with gravy you could forego the tomato glaze, but it’s so good I don’t recommend missing out on it.
Make Ahead, Storing and Freezing
Make Ahead: You can make this up to the point that you would bake it, then just cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days, and then bake it when you’re ready.
Storing: Leftovers are amazing! So you will love love love having leftovers of this! Keep it in the fridge (covered) for 4-5 days. You can serve it cold or reheat it as you like.
Freezing: It is freezer friendly for up to 3 months. Wrap it well and freeze. Thaw overnight in the fridge and then reheat in the oven until warmed through.
More Vegan Dinner Recipes
- Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese
- The Best Vegan Lasagna
- Vegan Moussaka
- Vegan Pasta Bake
- Vegan Risotto
- Vegan Shepherds Pie
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Crushed Garlic
- 1 Small Onion (100g) White, Yellow or Brown, finely chopped
- 2 (15-ounce) Cans Chickpeas Drained (3 cups)
- 4 Slices Brown or Whole Wheat Bread (160g) processed into breadcrumbs (see notes*)
- 2 Tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
- 2 Tbsp Sweet Chili Sauce
- 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
- 2 Tbsp Ground Flaxseed Meal
- 2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 3 Tbsp Tomato Paste
- ¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper
- Fresh Basil Optional
- Add the chopped onion and crushed garlic to a frying pan with the olive oil and sauté until the onions are softened.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray and line it with parchment paper so that the meatloaf can be easily lifted out. Set aside.
- Drain the chickpeas and add to a mixing bowl. Mash with a fork or potato masher until roughly mashed.
- Make your breadcrumbs by breaking up the 4 slices of bread and placing into a blender and pulse blending until it makes breadcrumbs (see notes*).
- Add the breadcrumbs, soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, dijon mustard, flaxseed meal, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, tomato paste and cayenne pepper to the mixing bowl. Add in the cooked onions and garlic. Mix very well into a thick batter. Make sure everything is evenly mixed (it's a very thick mix). Transfer this into the parchment lined loaf pan and smooth down with the back of a spoon.
- Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- While the meatloaf is baking, mix the tomato paste, brown sugar, maple syrup, garlic powder, salt and paprika in a bowl and stir together.
- When the meatloaf has baked for 30 minutes, remove it from the oven and remove the foil. Spread on the tomato glaze evenly and return it to the oven, (no foil, uncovered) to bake for a further 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from the loaf pan by lifting the meatloaf out with the parchment paper. Let it cool for another 10 minutes.
- Slice and serve with fresh basil.
- I used 4 slices of a regular pre-sliced thick cut sandwich bread for the breadcrumbs. This makes around 2 cups of homemade breadcrumbs. If you use a store-bought version of breadcrumbs such as panko breadcrumbs then you will only need only around 1 cup to 1 and ½ cups breadcrumbs since store-bought breadcrumbs are more dry than freshly made breadcrumbs. Use only as much as you need to get the meatloaf mix to the consistency that you see in our photos in the blog post above. Chickpeas can also vary in their moisture content, so being a little flexible with this is important.
- The tomato glaze is so good that we sometimes double it and use all of it for a thicker tomato glaze topping! If you like it as much as we do, you might want to do the same.
- This recipe was first published in March 2018. It has been slightly updated with extra tips and notes.