This Vegan Lentil Meatloaf is made with oats instead of breadcrumbs and is one of my absolute favorite healthier comfort foods to serve when I’m craving something hearty. It’s gluten free, oil free, nut free, and packed with 17 grams of protein per serving! Try it in place of a holiday roast or on a cooler weeknight! Serve it with my Almond Milk Mashed Potatoes and Instant Pot Vegan Collard Greens for a complete meal!
Since going vegan, I have tried several versions of vegan meatloaf and I usually find they have one of two problems:
- Too mushy.
- Too dry and crumbly.
Vegan loaves made primarily with lentils and nuts usually lean towards too dry and loaves made with chickpeas lean towards too wet and mushy.
My solution? A loaf made with a combination of lentils and chickpeas for the perfect texture.
Why This Recipe Works
- Using oat flour instead of bread crumbs keeps this loaf gluten free.
- Homemade ketchup makes this loaf refined sugar free and enhances the flavor immensely!
- The combination of french lentils with chickpeas creates the best veggie loaf texture!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- lentils and chickpeas – The combo of these two make for the best, hearty meaty texture!
- garlic and onion – I highly recommend using fresh onion and garlic and taking that extra step of sautéing it before baking it in the meatloaf. It gives it so much flavor that you just can’t get from a powdered version.
- carrots – Optional, but I love adding diced carrot to my meatloaf. You can also do half carrot, half celery, if desired!
- oat flour – Helps give this meatloaf structure and is a great, gluten free substitute for traditional breadcrumbs.
- Italian parsley – I love adding fresh parsley to meatloaf because it makes it taste so fresh and flavorful. You can skip, if necessary but I highly recommend it when possible.
- vegan Worcestershire – Essential to a super flavorful vegan meatloaf. I highly recommend the brand Annie’s for a great vegan version. I’ve enjoyed it more than generic brands I’ve tried.
- liquid smoke – Optional, but great for mimicking the flavor in real meat. I really like the Lazy Kettle Brand.
- tomato paste, maple syrup, tamari, and apple cider vinegar – Ingredients in my super simple, homemade ketchup glaze. I don’t recommend substituting it with real ketchup as real ketchup is too sweet.
Step by Step Instructions
- Prepare the homemade ketchup glaze! Whisk together the tomato paste, maple syrup, tamari, and apple cider vinegar. Set aside.
- Mash together the COLD (or at minimum, room temperature) lentils and chickpeas! This can be done with a potato masher, a fork, or my favorite method (that also happens to be the fastest): blitzed in the food processor.
If using the food processor, just be sure that you don’t overdo it and turn the lentils and chickpeas into a paste. You wan’t it to be combined into a meaty consistency but still retain shape and texture!
- Add in the oat flour, vegan Worcestershire, parsley, Old Bay seasoning, liquid smoke, homemade ketchup glaze, and black pepper and mix to combine!
- In a large skillet, sauté together the garlic, onion and carrots until soft and tender, about 5-7 minutes. I usually sauté in a tablespoon of avocado oil, but if you’d like to keep this loaf oil free, sauté in 1 tablespoon of broth or water.
Once soft, add them into the meatloaf mixture and mix to combine.
- Transfer the meatloaf to a parchment lined 9×5 loaf pan and bake for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, remove from the oven, add the remaining homemade ketchup glaze to the top of the loaf, and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes.
- Once baked, allow to cool in pan for a minimum of 15 minutes. Then, remove loaf from pan and slice and serve while warm!
Making oat flour at home is easy! Simply add your rolled oats to a food processor and blitz until a breadcrumb texture is reached. I prefer making oat flour for this recipe in a food processor over the blender because a blender makes it too fine and dries out the meatloaf.
You can find vegan Worcestershire sauce at most grocery stores! I prefer the brand Annie’s. I find it to be the most flavorful. It is worth it to find it for this recipe because it adds so much flavor and cannot be substituted!
Yes, use 2 cups of breadcrumbs in place of the 1 ⅓ cups oat flour. Oat flour is much more absorbent than breadcrumbs, which is why less is required.
Tips for success
- Make sure the lentils and chickpeas are at minimum at room temperature when mashing together. If they are warm, they will be over mashed and form a paste.
- Ere on the side of caution when mashing the chickpeas and lentils. It is better for them to be under processed than over processed.
- Make sure the meatloaf cools for a minimum of fifteen minutes in the loaf pan after baking. If you remove it too soon, it will be more difficult to slice.
- This loaf makes for great leftovers! I almost enjoy it more as leftovers.
- Try this meatloaf with my Almond Milk Mashed Potatoes! It’s the perfect combination.
More Vegan Main Dish Ideas
- Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup
- Easy Vegan Crockpot Lasagna Soup
- Instant Pot Chili
- Vegetarian Green Chili Stew
- Vegan Thai Pumpkin Red Curry
Vegan Lentil Meatloaf with Oats
- 1 sweet onion - finely diced (about 1 cup)
- 4 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 cup carrots - diced
- 2 cups green lentils - cooked and cooled
- 1 (14 ounce) can chickpeas - rinsed and drained (equivalent to 1 ½ cup if cooking from dry beans)
- 1 ⅓ cups oat flour
- ½ cup vegan Worcestershire sauce - I prefer the brand Annie's
- ½ cup homemade ketchup glaze
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley
- 1 ½ teaspoons liquid smoke - I prefer the brand Lazy Kettle
- 1 ½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Alternatively, lightly grease the loaf pan to ensure the meatloaf won't stick.
- Prepare the homemade ketchup glaze. Whisk together the tomato paste, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and tamari until smooth. Set aside.½ cup tomato paste, ¼ cup maple syrup, 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons tamari
- In a large mixing bowl, mash together the lentils and chickpeas using either a fork, potato masher or process together in a food processor and transfer back to the mixing bowl (my preferred method). Make sure there is some remaining texture and the lentils and chickpeas are not over processed (see photos in post for reference).2 cups green lentils, 1 (14 ounce) can chickpeas
- Add the oat flour, vegan Worcestershire, ½ cup of the homemade ketchup glaze, parsley, liquid smoke, Old Bay seasoning and black pepper and mix to combine.1 ⅓ cups oat flour, ½ cup vegan Worcestershire sauce, ½ cup homemade ketchup glaze, 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, 1 ½ teaspoons liquid smoke, 1 ½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning, ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- In a large skillet, sauté the diced onion, minced garlic and diced carrot in a tablespoon of oil (or broth if oil free) until soft and fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes.1 sweet onion, 4 cloves garlic, 1 cup carrots
- Once soft, add the onion, garlic and carrots into the meatloaf mixture and mix to combine.
- Transfer the meatloaf mixture to the parchment lined loaf pan. Bake for 30 minutes on middle oven rack.
- After 30 minutes, remove the loaf, top with the remaining ketchup glaze, then bake for additional 15 minutes.
- Let cool for a minimum of 15 minutes in the loaf pan before serving.
- This loaf makes for excellent leftovers. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Make sure to use cool lentils and chickpeas or they will over process easily into a paste.
- If you use a food processor to dice the onion and/or carrot, it will release a lot more of the moisture in these foods compared to dicing with a knife. This will yield a more moist loaf and may require a 10-15 minute longer bake time.
- How to make oat flour: Blitz rolled oats in a food processor until a fine texture is achieved – not a powder, but not large chunks either. If using a blender, pulse until correct texture is achieved. Avoid blending into a super fine powder – that makes for a drier meatloaf.
- If you would like to substitute the oat flour with breadcrumbs, use 2 cups breadcrumbs.
General note about salt
Please pay attention to the type of salt called for in the recipe (if applicable). Not all salts are made equal and cannot be substituted 1 for 1. If you are substituting table salt for kosher salt, you will need to cut the amount called for in the recipe by at least half.
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Disclaimer: The Nutritional Information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.
This recipe was originally published November 8, 2019 and was republished on October 20, 2021 to include an improved recipe, new recipe photos including step by step instructions, frequently asked questions and tips for success.