Make your holidays special with this vegan meatloaf. A lentil loaf filled with vegetables and spices. All topped with a maple tomato sauce for a delicious and seasonal plant-based entrée.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links.
November is here!
That means we've got a month of vegan Thanksgiving recipes! This month I'll be sharing a pie recipe, Instant Pot Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes, a Thanksgiving cocktail, and even a Thanksgiving Meal Plan + shopping list! But to start this month off, we have a Lentil and Mushroom Meatloaf that I think you're going to love.
It's a vegan lentil loaf stuffed with vegetables, lentils, fresh herbs and spices, all topped with a maple tomato glaze for an exciting entrée to serve at all your holiday meals coming up.
Ready to check out this vegan meatloaf? Let's dig in!
Ingredients & Substitutions
This lentil loaf uses a base of lentils and mushrooms which I choose for their meaty flavors and textures. I tried this loaf with other bases such as chickpeas and tempeh but I found that the lentil mushroom mixture was the best hearty and wholesome base for this vegan roast.
Here is everything you need.
- Olive Oil - I recommend olive oil but any neutral-flavored oil will do.
- Vegetables - You will need a mixture of onions, carrots, celery, and mushrooms
- Brown Lentils
- Panko Bread Crumbs - Use gluten-free bread crumbs for a gluten-free option. (<<affiliate link)
- Vegetable Broth
- Vegan Worcestershire Sauce- Not all Worcestershire sauce is vegan. Most varieties use anchovies. Make sure to find one that is specifically marked vegan.
- Soy Sauce - Use Tamari for a gluten-free option.
- Tomato Paste
- Liquid Smoke - This gives the recipe a delicious smokiness. Liquid smoke is found in the condiment aisle of most well-stocked grocery stores. However, if you can't find it, it can be omitted.
- Spices - This recipe calls for oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper
- Maple Tomato Glaze - This glaze is made with a mixture of tomato paste, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, and vegan Worcestershire sauce.
How To Make Vegan Meatloaf
Step One: Sauté the Vegetables
In a saucepan, sauté the onions in olive oil until they are sweet and fragrant. Add the garlic, carrots, celery, and mushrooms and sauté a few minutes longer until vegetables are tender and lightly browned.
Step Two: Combine the Ingredients
Once your vegetables are sautéed, combine them in a food processor along with the remaining ingredients. Blending the meatloaf ingredients together requires a little finesse.
We want to process the lentil loaf until the vegetables and lentils are broken down, but not so much that it becomes mushy. Because of the volume, these ingredients will likely fill your food processor to the top. This means that the food at the bottom of the processor will get broken down first. Once about half of the ingredients are well blended, transfer them to a bowl and mash the rest together with a potato masher.
Step Three: Bake
Transfer the vegan meatloaf into a prepared loaf pan and pat it down evenly. Cover the pan in tin foil and bake for 30 minutes.
While the loaf is baking, whisk together the ingredients for your Maple Tomato Glaze.
After 30 minutes of baking, remove the loaf from the oven. Evenly spread on a layer of the tomato glaze and return the loaf to the oven, this time uncovered. Bake your loaf for another 10- 15 minutes until the tomato glaze starts to brown on the edges and the loaf is firm in the middle.
Serving and Storing
Serving - Let the loaf cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing up and serving with your favorite sides.
Storing - Tightly wrap leftover meatloaf and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Freeze the meatloaf for up to 3 months. To reheat, gently rewarm up the meatloaf in the oven or microwave.
Tips and Tricks
- Be careful not to over-mix the ingredients in the food processor. Process until about half your mixture is well blended before transferring meatloaf to a bowl to continue mixing by hand. If you over-mix, the meatloaf will become gummy and mushy.
- Let the loaf cool for at least 15 minutes in the pan before removing to prevent the loaf from breaking apart.
More Vegan Holiday Recipes
- Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
- Best-Ever Vegan Shepherd's Pie
- Maple Balsamic Brussels Sprouts
- Mushroom Gravy
- Sweet Potato Casserole
Vegan Meatloaf with Mushrooms & Lentils
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 small white onion, diced
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- 2 stalks of celery, diced
- 2 cups cremini mushrooms, diced
- 1 cup dry brown lentils, (about 2 ½ cups cooked)
- 2 ½ cups Panko bread crumbs
- ½ cup vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 ½ tsp. liquid smoke
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- salt and pepper, to taste
Maple Tomato Glaze
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 tbsp. maple syrup
- 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Spray a 9x5 loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper, allowing extra to hang over each side.
- Fill a large soup pot with water and add the lentils. Place over medium heat and cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes. Strain through a colander when lentils are cooked all the way through.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add onions and sauté, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes until onions are translucent and fragrant. Add garlic, carrots, celery, and mushrooms and sauté for another 5 minutes until vegetables are tender and lightly browned. Remove from heat.
- In a food processor combine sautéed vegetables, lentils, and the remaining ingredients for the vegan meatloaf. Pulse until well combined. Some texture should remain. Once about half your ingredients are well blended, transfer them to a bowl and mash the rest together with a potato masher or your hands.
- Transfer the meatloaf to the prepared loaf pan, cover in tin foil, and bake for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix together the ingredients for the tomato maple glaze in a small bowl. When the loaf is ready, pull it out, remove tin foil, and evenly cover the top with the glaze. Return to oven, uncovered, and bake an additional 10-15 minutes.
- When the tomato glaze starts to brown at the edges and the lentil loaf is firm, remove from oven and let cool 15 minutes before slicing. This allows the meatloaf to firm up as it cools.
- Serve with Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes and Maple Balsamic Brussels Sprouts for a hearty holiday meal.
I found this recipe after my first lentil loaf attempt for thanksgiving last month. It had green lentils, oats, flax egg, no mushrooms if bread crumbs. This one sounds so much better and I can’t wait to try it. I’m a novice. I’m a little confused about the mixing. How do you know when half of it is blended. Does it all go in the food processor first to blend and then take it out and mash, or do you just put half of the ingredients in the food processor and mash that half? I am asking because the loaf I made at thanks giving was way too over processed. My food processor was a little too small and by the time it all blended it was mushy in texture. Can I use green lentils?
I noticed this doesn’t have a flax egg-his does it stay together.
Thank you and sorry for all of the question.
Wow it was delicious. Had it was garlic mash potato and green peas. Great meal for a cool night. Thanks for the recipe.
This sounds so delicious,BUT...my body reacts very badly to all things tomato! Can you suggest any substitutes, especially for the glaze topping. What would happen if I left the tomato paste out of the loaf?
I would appreciate any suggestions.
My very first time making a lentil meatloaf! New to fully plant based eating. The flavors were spot on! The texture I am not quite in love with. I did have to make a couple small modifications as I didn't have enough bread crumbs so added rolled oats. Sauted veggies in broth so added a "flax egg". I will definitely make again and perhaps add another 1/4 cp of lentils and make my own whole grain panko to add a little more protein. I just had white on hand. I will try just mashing by hand instead of in food processor. It will give me a little exercise! Thank you for the great recipe!
Could I sub chick pea flour or ground flax seed for like 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs, to add a little more protein/nutrients?
If I wanted to make this for a large crowd, could I use a 9x13 glass pan? What would need to be altered in the recipe?
Sarah McMinn says
Yes, you can, I would just x3 the batch. If the casserole dish is shallower than a loaf pan, it will take less time to bake.
Could I sub organic white mushrooms instead of Cremini??
Sarah McMinn says
Have you ever used can lentils in the recipe? I was thinking of using them to cut back on time.
Sarah McMinn says
I'm sure that would be fine!
I enjoyed making this Recipe! I wanted a pretty simple Recipe! I also didn't want to use a food processor. I mashed up half with a potato masher. It came out great! It held together perfectly. My Mum and friend loved it. What a hearty and delicious meal! I love Mushrooms and they certainly enhanced this Lentil Loaf!
Great recipe! I made it today with double amount of ingredients because I have a bigger tin. This vegan meatloaf is delicious! I served it with steamed broccoli and your mushroom gravy which is also yummy! Thanks for sharing your recipes!
Cecile MacMillan says
Can I use Red lentils in this recipe? Thank you for your time! Can’t wait to taste it!
Sarah McMinn says
Red lentils have quite a different texture than brown lentils and I'm afraid it might make this loaf kinda gummy and dense.
Didnt work for me. I did forget the tin foil and the loaf is mushy.
Do you think this would work well with coconut aminos subbed in place of the soy sauce?
Yes, I would just reduce the amount by about 30% since aminos tend to be saltier.
I made this last night for Sunday dinner with some steamed broccoli, mashed potatoes with some mashed cauliflower, and a simple gravy. It was very delicious! The only thing I changed was the topping; I’ve never been a big fan of the tomato-y topping so I just put BBQ sauce on top. Next time I’m going to try your glaze because I wish it was a little sweeter.
The meatloaf is absolutely amazing. I used less breadcrumbs and cabbage instead of onion. It still came out amazing.
The lentils i sprouted for 24 hours to release the phytic acid then steamed them for 20 min.
That's awesome! Thanks for sharing.
Hello. What can I use instead of the Panko crumbs, oats, almond flour, crumbled tempeh?
Are you looking for a gluten-free option? You might find this article helpful. Oats would also work, I believe.
I just made this....I used your recipe as a base, added fresh tomatoes, spinach and scallions. (clean out the fridge ). For the topping i used sun dried tomatoes, tomato paste, honey, apple cider vinegar and the soy. Excellent recipe!!! Love all your recipes. Thank you so much!!
Diana Lopes says
Lentils are probably my favorite way to cook vegan recipes, they always turn out delicious!
Pamela Maxson says
Are the lentil beans cooked?
You start with 1 cup of raw lentils and you'll see that they get cooked in step 2.
Sylvia Edwards says
Any chance I can make this with brown rice or wild rice instead of lentils.
Yeah, it would change the texture a bit but I think it would still turn out great!