When we are going to a family gathering and need to take a dish or two, this homestyle Vegan Meatloaf is always my first go-to. During the holidays, you can bet it will be on the menu.
There’s just nothing more comforting than delicious savory vegan meatloaf served with creamy mashed potatoes and gravy. At my house, it doesn’t have to be a holiday or a special occasion.
Table of contents
We love this vegan meatloaf because it’s…
- Firm & not mushy
- Makes a great main dish
- Bursting with flavor
Variations of vegan meatloaf
There are many different versions and variations of vegan meatloaf. One of the most popular is probably a lentil loaf, which I like. However, lentil loaves never achieve the texture that reminds me of the meatloaf my mom used to make when I was a kid.
That’s why I absolutely LOVE this home-style vegan meatloaf that reminds me of my childhood, especially when it’s paired with mashed potatoes and gravy. A couple of the secret ingredients are bulgur and crushed walnuts.
How to make vegan meatloaf
This vegan loaf is very easy to make and can be ready to put in the oven in only about 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 13 baking dish with parchment paper or a deeper loaf pan.
Cook bulgur according to package directions. Cooks on the stove or in a rice cooker in about 15-minutes. I really like to batch cook bulgur in my rice cooker and freeze it for use in other recipes like this, spaghetti, lasagna, and nachos.
Dice the veggies–onion, garlic, celery, bell pepper, carrots, and walnuts. One tip here is that a blender or food processor makes it easy to make bread crumbs. It’s also great for chopping walnuts.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl (including the fully-cooked bulgur). Mix with a spoon, or do like I do and use your hands to mix thoroughly.
Press into prepared 9 x 13 baking dish. Poke holes all over the top with a finger then spread a thin layer of ketchup over the top with a spatula.
If you would like to make your own ketchup for this recipe, check out my 10-Minute Vegan Ketchup recipe.
I suggest using a baking pan rather than a loaf pan that is deeper so this will firm up nice for you.
Bake for 60 minutes. I broil mine for the last 5 minutes, just to get that browned top.
InstantPot Cooking Instructions: Add 1-1/2 cups of water. Cook in a springform pan and place it on a trivet. Set to Manual High for 25 minutes. Instructions from follower Pamela Hawkins who used a 6 quart IP.
Tips for making vegan meatloaf
- A blender or food processor makes it easy to make bread crumbs. It’s also great for chopping the walnuts.
- I save old loaf bread ends and freeze them for making this vegan meatloaf.
- The bulgur can be soaked in warm water for 30+ minutes and not cooked if you prefer.
- Though it calls for bulgur, a number of people have told me that they’ve subbed with buckwheat groats, quinoa, brown rice, and barley and it still comes out good.
- For mixing these ingredients, I love using my hands and kneading. That’s how I used to make the traditional meatloaf and how I still like to do it.
- I suggest using a baking pan rather than a loaf pan that is deeper so this will firm up nice for you.
- I highly recommend making the recipe exactly as listed the first time. If you prefer to tweak it later, do that on the next batch.
Vegan meatloaf side dishes
Follower comments & feedback
I made a pan of this the other day. After it cooled, I cut into single serving pieces, bagged and put in the freezer. This way all I have to do is thaw and reheat and add my sides!
I had some tonight for dinner with a side of veggies and a sweet potato. It was awesome!
Note: I replaced the soy sauce with 1 Tbsp. Braggs Aminos and left out the sage and thyme because I didn’t have any on hand!–Peggy
The No Meat Loaf was wonderful. Before we became plant-based, we loved meat loaf and have missed it. This version is the best! Looking forward to the no meat loaf sandwiches from left overs! Thanks so much.—Linda
This recipe is absolutely delicious! It is adapted from Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes.
This same basic recipe is what is used to make my Vegan Meatballs recipe that is fabulous served with marinara and pasta. Another variation of the meatballs is to coat them with bbq sauce and serve as an appetizer.
Your Questions Answered:
- Q: Can tomato paste be used in place of ketchup? It sure can! However, it won’t be as flavorful as ketchup, especially for the topping, in my opinion.
- Q: Can I use gluten-free bread crumbs? Absolutely! Gluten-free bread crumbs will work just fine.
- Q: Can I prep this in a loaf pan and then cook the next day? Yes, prepping ahead is actually a great idea.
- Q: Is vegan meatloaf freezable? Yes, freezing this meatless loaf is a great idea. I like to make a double batch so we can eat one immediately and freeze one for later.
Originally published October 2014
Other vegan recipes
- Perfect Vegan Roast
- Veggie No-Meat Barbecue Balls
- Mock Chicken Casserole | Soy Curls
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes & Gravy
- Asian Green Beans
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.
- 2 cups cooked Bulgur
- 1-1/2 cups whole wheat bread crumbs (about 2-3 slices of bread)
- 1-1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup fire-roasted tomatoes, with juice (fire-roasted diced tomatoes add a lot of flavor)
- 1/2 cup small onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 celery sticks, diced
- 3/4 cup carrots, diced
- 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
- 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- sea salt, to your taste
- 1/2 cup ketchup, plus enough to top the loaf with before baking
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 baking dish with parchment paper.
- Cook bulgur according to package directions. Cooks on the stove or in a rice cooker in about 15-minutes.
- Dice the veggies--onion, garlic, celery, bell pepper, carrots, and walnuts.
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl (including the fully-cooked bulgur). Mix with a spoon, or do like I do and use your hands to mix thoroughly.
- Press into prepared dish. Poke holes all over the top with a finger, then spread a thin layer of ketchup over the top with a spatula.
- Bake for 60 minutes. I broil mine for the last 5 minutes, just to get that browned top.
- Helpful Hint– a blender or food processor makes it easy to make bread crumbs. Also great chopping walnuts.
Though it calls for bulgur, a number of people have told me that they've subbed with buckwheat groats, quinoa, brown rice, and barley and it still comes out good.
Detailed instructions, in-process photos, and my personal helpful tips can be found in the article above.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 226Total Fat: 5gCholesterol: 0mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 7gSugar: 11gProtein: 7g
To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.