This vegan meatloaf is a comforting main course that's perfect for the a special occasion! Made with chickpeas, lots of vegetables, and a maple glaze, it's hearty and savory, with a realistic and 'meaty' texture. Despite the impressive results, it's very easy to make from scratch.
Few things make me feel quite as proud of myself as when someone who's typically a harsh critic of vegan food thoroughly enjoys my recipes. Well, I can say that my vegan meatloaf receives raving reviews from everyone. It's seriously that good, and an absolute comfort food classic.
After seeing lots of you enjoy my vegan nut roast, I wanted to share a version that's more reminiscent of the classic meatloaf. And here it is!
You'll never believe that it's made out of chickpeas and vegetables. The texture is meaty and hearty (i.e., no sogginess or mushiness in sight).
The chickpeas add a lot of firmness, while the vegetables are responsible for the rich, vibrant flavor profile.
I also added a simple maple glaze that requires just 5 ingredients. This adds another layer of deliciousness to every bite.
Add this vegan meatloaf to your Thanksgiving or Christmas table, or bring along to any other special occasion. It's a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, despite how simple the ingredients and the preparation method are.
If you're here planning your holiday menu, don't miss our new Vegan Christmas and Vegan Thanksgiving cookbooks. They're packed with all my favorite holiday-worthy recipes for a plant-based feast.
Vegan meatloaf ingredients
- Olive oil for cooking the vegetables.
- Onions and garlic. These are essential for adding richness to the flavors.
- The vegetables: scallions, celery and carrots. This will add a hint of chunkiness to the loaf.
- Mushrooms. I used ordinary button mushrooms. These are a great way to add heartiness and making the final result more realistic.
- The spices: cumin, paprika and garlic powder. Add a generous amount to make sure that the meatloaf is far from bland!
- Tomato paste. This is a great ingredient for enhancing the flavors of the vegetables.
- Chickpeas. The key ingredient for this loaf. For convenience, I use canned chickpeas. You can, however, also cook your own from scratch.
- Ground flaxseed. This acts as an egg replacement which will help the loaf stick together.
- Nutritional yeast. I love adding this to the mixture in order to add a hint of cheesiness and umami.
- Rolled oats. These help to make the loaf firm and ensure that it doesn't fall apart. You can also use panko breadcrumbs, but I wouldn't recommend using flour because this may give the meatloaf a texture like a loaf of bread!
- Soy sauce. This is a great ingredient for bringing everything together, adding greater complexity and richness.
- Apple cider vinegar. You can also use lemon juice to add a hint of tanginess.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
How to make a vegan chickpea meatloaf
Cook the vegetables
Start by heating the olive oil in a large skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, scallions, carrots, cumin, paprika and garlic powder. Cook for 5 minutes, until softened fully.
Next, add the mushrooms, celery and tomato paste. Cook for 5 minutes more, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms shrink down fully.
Prepare the chickpeas
Drain and rinse canned chickpeas, then add them to a saucepan with water and around ½ tsp baking soda. Simmer them for around 5 minutes, then drain and rinse once more. This will easily remove the skins, which is essential for giving the vegan meatloaf a firm texture.
Now lightly mash around ¾ of the chickpeas using a fork, but make sure to keep some of them whole to give the loaf a more complex texture.
Shape and bake the loaf
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees C/180 degrees F and generously grease a standard loaf tin with vegan butter or olive oil.
Next, add the cooked vegetables, chickpeas, ground flaxseed, nutritional yeast, oats, soy sauce and apple cider vinegar to a large mixing bowl. Mix together, and add salt and pepper to taste.
Now transfer the mixture to the loaf tin and press it down firmly. Bake for 30 minutes. When almost done, start preparing the glaze.
Make and add the glaze
To make the glaze, simply whisk together apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, maple syrup, ketchup and cornstarch. Next, line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Carefully remove the meatloaf from the oven and flip it onto the baking tray. Brush generously with the glaze on all sides, and return to the oven for 5-7 more minutes, until the glaze firms up.
Allow the vegan meatloaf to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.
Recipe tips for success
Make sure to dice up the vegetables very finely. This will make sure that the vegan meatloaf doesn't have huge random chunks of vegetables!
Don't skip removing the skins of the chickpeas. This will ensure that the texture of the meatloaf is smooth, and that it doesn't fall apart.
I wouldn't recommend using a blender or food processor to combine the ingredients because overmixing is how you end up with a soggy loaf that doesn't stick together. Plus, it only takes a few minutes to mix the ingredients by hand.
Be very careful when flipping the loaf from the loaf tin to the baking tray. I would recommend using a pair of oven gloves to hold the baking tray upside down on the loaf tin (use kitchen clips to hold the parchment paper in place). Then, rotate it 180 degrees and slowly lift up the loaf tin.
The loaf firms up as it cools. Therefore, it's important to allow it to cool sufficiently before serving.
How to store and freeze this vegan meatloaf
This chickpea loaf can be kept in the fridge for up to 4-5 days in an airtight container. Reheat in the microwave before serving.
You can also freeze it as individual slices. Simply place them in freezer-friendly bags and freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat, firstly allow the slices to thaw fully in the fridge overnight. You can then reheat in the microwave until warm all the way through.
PRO TIP: You can also reheat the vegan meatloaf slices in a skillet. Simply add some olive oil to the skillet, then cook them for 4-5 minutes on each side, until fully warmed through.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, it's very easy! Simply use tamari instead of soy sauce, and gluten-free rolled oats.
Yes, you can prepare the loaf around 24-48 hours ahead of time. Simply transfer the loaf mixture to the loaf tin, cover it with cling film and keep in the fridge. Then, when ready to serve, simply bake and add the glaze as normal.
How to serve vegan meatloaf
This chickpea loaf pairs exceptionally well with potato side dishes such as mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes, sweet potato wedges or crispy roast potatoes. For a sauce, I would recommend either dairy-free mayonnaise, vegan horseradish sauce, or gravy.
Other vegan main course ideas for special occasions
- My vegan ham recipe is guaranteed to impress!
- If you want to impress everyone, make a realistic vegan schnitzel.
- Baked mac and cheese is comforting and flavorful.
- My vegan quiche is delicious and easy to make.
If you give this vegan meatloaf recipe a go, be sure to tag me on Instagram (@ohmyveggies) so I can see your creations, and leave your feedback in the comments below together with a star rating – I love hearing from you!
- Conventional oven
- Loaf tin
- Large mixing bowl
- Small mixing bowl
For the loaf
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup scallions chopped
- 2 small carrots diced
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 5 oz chestnut mushrooms diced
- 1 cup celery chopped finely
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 cans chickpeas around 3 cups
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 3 tbsp ground flaxseed
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- ½ cup oats
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
For the glaze
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, scallions, carrots, cumin, paprika and garlic powder. Cook for 5 minutes, until softened fully.1 tbsp olive oil, 1 large onion, 2 cloves garlic, ½ cup scallions, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp garlic powder, 2 small carrots
- Add the mushrooms, celery and tomato paste. Cook for 5 minutes more, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms shrink down fully.5 oz chestnut mushrooms, 1 cup celery, ¼ cup tomato paste
- Drain and rinse canned chickpeas, then add them to a saucepan with water and the baking soda. Simmer them for around 5 minutes, then drain and rinse once more. This will easily remove the skins.2 cans chickpeas, ½ tsp baking soda
- Lightly mash around ¾ of the chickpeas using a fork, but make sure to keep some of them whole.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees C/180 degrees F and generously grease a standard loaf tin with vegan butter or olive oil.
- Add the cooked vegetables, chickpeas, nutritional yeast, oats, soy sauce and apple cider vinegar to a large mixing bowl. Mix together, and add salt and pepper to taste.3 tbsp nutritional yeast, ½ cup oats, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Transfer the mixture to the loaf tin and press it down firmly. Bake for 30 minutes. When almost done, start preparing the glaze.
- Make the glaze by whisking together apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, maple syrup, ketchup and cornstarch.2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp maple syrup, ¼ cup ketchup, 1 tbsp cornstarch
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Carefully remove the meatloaf from the oven and flip it onto the baking tray. Brush generously with the glaze on all sides, and return to the oven for 5-7 more minutes, until the glaze firms up.
- Allow the loaf to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.
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