This hearty vegan meatloaf has the best texture and it's so flavorful! It's loaded with vegetables and lentils, it has a delicious meaty flavor, and it can be served with a tangy tomato glaze or mushroom gravy. This comfort food meal is sure to become a family favorite!
I've been working on perfecting this vegan meatloaf recipe for years! I tried so many different variations and this one is 100% the BEST! Some were too dry and some were too wet, some crumbled and some were like a brick. This one is the best of both worlds!
This mushroom lentil loaf is moist, but not mushy, and it's tender, but it won't fall apart when sliced. This loaf is loaded with oats, lentils, and quinoa for the perfect texture + mushrooms and a variety of seasonings and condiments that add so much flavor!
What is Vegan Meatloaf Made of?
Traditionally, meatloaf is made with beef, onions, eggs, breadcrumbs, and seasonings. In a vegan meatloaf, the lentils and mushrooms replace the beef, I used a flax egg instead of a real egg, and oats are used instead of breadcrumbs (to make it gluten-free) to bind it all together.
Similar seasonings (Italians, basil, and parsley) are still used along with onions, garlic, and some other ingredients to create the most delicious plant-based meatloaf!
Tools You'll Need
- Medium-Sized Pot
- 13-Cup Food Processor
- Parchment Paper (I love this one because it's unbleached and chlorine-free)
- 9-inch x 5-inch Loaf Pan (I use this one because it's aluminum-free)
Ingredients & Substitutions
This vegan meatloaf recipe is made with a combination of fresh vegetables and pantry ingredients. Let's go over the ingredients and substitutions if you need them.
- Lentils - This legume add texture, flavor, and plant-based protein. You can use green or brown 1:1 instead of french lentils. Don't use red lentils because they're too soft and mushy once cooked.
- Quinoa - This adds to the texture!
- Onion - Use your favorite variety of onion.
- Garlic - Fresh garlic adds so much flavor! You can also use 1 teaspoon of dried garlic.
- Mushrooms - Cremini mushrooms add so much flavor! You can substitute white button or portobello mushrooms.
- Old Fashioned Oats - Oats are used to bind the loaf together. If you don't want to use oats, you can substitute the same amount of breadcrumbs.
- Ground Flaxseeds - This also helps to holds the vegan meatloaf together.
- Sunflower Seeds - You can use pumpkin seeds or walnuts instead of sunflower seeds.
- Nutritional Yeast - The gives a tangy flavor to the lentil loaf.
- Tomato Paste - This is my favorite organic tomato paste to use because it's in a glass jar!
- Vegan Worcestershire - This ingredient adds a delicious tangy flavor to the mixture. Make sure that you use vegan worcestershire sauce (this is my favorite!), not all brands are vegan.
- Dried Seasonings - Italian seasonings, basil, and parsley add loads of flavor! You could definitely use fresh if you have it.
- Balsamic Vinegar - This makes the glaze taste perfectly tangy in the best way.
- Maple Syrup - This sweetener balances the tangy flavor of the balsamic in the glaze. You can also use agave or date syrup.
How to Make Vegan Meatloaf
Step 1 - Cook the lentils and quinoa together in one pot (Photo 1). Drain any excess water and then let it cool for a few minutes before adding them to the food processor.
Step 2 - In a small bowl, stir together the ground flaxseed and water and put it in the fridge to thicken for 10 min (Photo 2).
Step 3 - Pour the cooked lentils and quinoa into a large food processor. Add the onions, mushrooms, garlic, oats, nutritional yeast, sunflower seeds, tomato paste, vegan Worcestershire sauce, flax egg, and dried seasonings (Photo 3).
Step 4 - Put the lid on and pulse until the mixture is well combined and slightly chunky, but not pureed (Photo 4).
Step 5 - Line an 8.5 x 4.5-inch loaf pan with a piece of parchment paper before you add the filling so it's easy to pull out later (Photo 5).
Step 6 - Scoop the filling into the pan and use a spoon to smooth it out evenly (Photo 6). Bake the mushroom lentil loaf for 30 min.
Step 7 - While the vegan meatloaf is baking, make the tomato glaze or mushroom gravy (Photo 7).
Step 8 - After 30 minutes, remove the loaf from the oven and spread half of the tomato glaze over the top (Photo 8). Reserve the rest for serving. Put the loaf back into the oven to cook for 20 more minutes.
Step 9 - Let the loaf cool for a little bit to set up before you lift it out of the pan. Slather the rest of the tomato glaze on top and slice it into 1-inch wedges to serve.
You can slather the lentil mushroom meatloaf with tomato glaze or my favorite vegan mushroom gravy. Both toppings are delicious, you really can't go wrong with either option.
I like to serve the vegan meatloaf with some type of potato (mashed, scalloped, or baked) and a vegetable like green peas or roasted broccoli. Any of the following recipes will make a delicious side dish.
- Vegan Scalloped Potatoes
- Roasted Lemon Turmeric Cauliflower
- Roasted Maple Dijon Brussel Sprouts
- Dairy Free Mac and Cheese
A tasty way to serve leftovers is to cut the loaf into slices, warm it, and then use it as the "meat" in a sandwich. Add butter lettuce, tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion, vegan cheese, and mustard. Or you could crumble it up and use it as a filling for tacos or sprinkle it on top of a pizza.
Storage & Freezing Instructions
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days.
When you're reheating leftovers, I like to place slices on a parchment-lined tray and bake at 400 degrees for 5-8 min or until it's hot in the center and the edges are crisp.
You can freeze a whole vegan meatloaf that's been cooked and cooled, or cut it into individual 1-inch slices before freezing. When you're ready to eat it, put it in the fridge to defrost for 24 hours.
Then you can bake it at 375 degrees for 30 min or until it's hot all the way through. Add half of the tomato glaze halfway through baking and reserve the rest for serving.
When reheating an entire loaf, you can test to see if it's hot all the way through by sticking a knife in the center and holding it there for 10 seconds. Pull the knife out and carefully touch the tip, if the knife is warm then the meatloaf is hot all the way through.
Yes, you can assemble it the day before, cover it, store it in the fridge, and then bake it fresh the next day.
Yes, you can use (1) 14 oz can of lentils instead of cooking fresh lentils. Make sure to drain the lentils very well so it won't make the loaf mushy.
It's ok! It will still taste good if you accidentally over blend the filling. It might be slightly mushy in the center, but you can try stirring in an additional ½ cup of oats to give it more texture.
Oats and a flax egg bind the ingredients together and will stop the meatloaf from falling apart.
- Make sure that the lentils are quinoa are dry and you drain any excess liquid from the pan so it won't make the meatloaf wet.
- Use ground flaxseed, not whole flaxseed, to make the flax egg. If you only have whole flaxseeds on hand, you can use a blender or coffee grinder to break down the seeds.
- If you don't have a food processor (don't use a blender), your best option is to dice the vegetables very small, slightly mash the lentils with a fork or potato masher, and then stir it all together in a large bowl. The texture might be a little bit chunkier, but it will still taste great!
- Try not to over-blend the meatloaf mixture. The texture should be slightly chunky, not pureed.
- Line the loaf pan with parchment paper so it goes over the edges. Then you can pull it out easily after it's done baking. No sticking and less cleanup!
- Let the meatloaf sit for 10 min after it's done baking, this will help the texture to set up.
Want More Vegan Meat Recipes?
Vegan Lentil Mushroom Meatloaf
- Medium Saucepan
- 13-Cup Food Processor
- 9x5-inch Loaf Pan
- 3 cups water
- ¾ cup uncooked french lentils rinsed and drained
- ¼ cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 medium red onion diced
- 3 medium garlic cloves minced
- 6 oz cremini mushrooms diced
- 1 ½ cups old fashioned oats gluten-free
- 3 tbsp ground flaxseed
- 6 tbsp water
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds or walnuts
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce
- 1 ½ tbsp Italian seasonings
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- ½ tsp salt (add more to taste)
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- In a medium saucepan, boil 3 cups of water. Add the lentils and reduce the heat to medium. Set a timer for 12 minutes. When the timer goes off, add ¼ cup of quinoa to the pot and give it a stir. Set the timer for 12 more minutes and let it cook until all the water has been absorbed.
- Let the mixture cool down for a few minutes before you add it to the food processor. If there is any water left, make sure to drain it out before you add the mixture to the food processor.
- While the lentils and quinoa are cooking, chop the veggies and make the flax egg. Make the flax egg by stirring together the ground flaxseed and 6 tbsp of water in a small bowl. Put it in the fridge to thicken for 10 minutes.
- Pour the cooked lentils and quinoa into a large food processor cup. Add the onions, mushrooms, garlic, oats, nutritional yeast, sunflower seeds, tomato paste, vegan worcestershire sauce, flax egg, Italian seasonings, dried basil, dried parsley, salt, and black pepper. The food processor will be pretty full once you add all of the ingredients.
- Put the lid on and pulse it on High for 1 minute, stopping every 20 seconds to use a spoon to scrape down the sides. Continue pulsing until all of the vegetables have broken down into small chunks and everything is combined. The mixture should be a little bit chunky. Be careful not to over blend it and puree the filling. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
- Line a 9 x 5-inch loaf-shaped pan with a piece of parchment paper. Let the edges stick out of the pan so you have handles to pull the loaf out of the pan. Scoop the lentil filling into the pan and use a spoon to smooth it out evenly all the way to the edges.
- Bake the loaf for 30 minutes. While it's baking, make the tangy tomato glaze or mushroom gravy. To make the glaze, mix together tomato paste, pure maple syrup, and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl.
- After 30 minutes, remove the lentil loaf from the oven and spread half of the tomato glaze over the top. Reserve the rest for serving. Put it back into the oven to cook for 20 more minutes.
- Carefully take it out of the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes. This resting time will help the meatloaf to setup. To take the loaf out of the pan, grab both of the parchment paper handles, lift it up, and transfer it to a large plate or cutting board. Spread the rest of the tomato glaze on top and then slice into 1-inch wedges.
- Store leftover slices in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days or you can freeze it for a future meal. Freezing instructions for slices or a whole loaf are in the Notes below.
- If you don't have a food processor, you can dice all of the vegetables, slightly mash the lentils, and then mix it by hand in a large mixing bowl. The texture might be a little chunkier than if you had used a food processor, but it will still be delicious.
- Make sure that you line the loaf pan with parchment paper that goes over the edges, so you can pull it out easily after it's done baking. It won't stick and easy cleanup! If you don't have parchment, you can spray or rub it with oil.