VeganMoFo: Home-style Vegan Meatloaf

VeganMoFo: Home-Style Vegan Meatloaf

With cooler weather settling in, it’s time to bring on the comfort food. Inspired by the Chickpea Cutlets recipe in Veganomicon, I made “meatloaf.”

When I first mixed up a batch of the Chickpea Cutlets, it reminded me of when I had to help my mom make dinner as a youngster. One of my jobs back then was to mix together the ingredients for meatloaf. It looks surprisingly similar.

For this meatloaf version, I changed up some of the spices and added onion, celery, and carrots. I also shaped them into mini loaves. Mini food just looks so cute. But really, it was to make sure that the center firmed up and doesn’t come out too mushy.

Home-style Vegan Meatloaf
Makes 4 mini loaves
Adapted from the Chickpea Cutlets recipe in Veganomicon

1/2 small white onion, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
2 small carrots, finely chopped
1 15-ounce can chickpeas
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup water
Ketchup for glaze

Heat sauté pan to hot, add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Sauté onion until translucent, then add the carrots and celery. Cook for about 2 minutes; set aside and let cool.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Place in a large bowl, and smash with a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients including the cooked vegetables. Mix together and knead for a few minutes until strings of gluten have formed and everything sticks together in a big ball.

Divide the ball into 4 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a small loaf. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and lightly oil. Place the loaves on the tin foil and brush both sides with oil. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn over and glaze the top with ketchup. Bake another 10 minutes until firm. Cut into slices and serve with wasabi mashed potatoes or your favorite sides.

vegan mofo logo


  1. says

    You’re right, mini foods are always so adorable. :P I’m for SURE going to try these! I have yet to find a vegan “meat”loaf recipe that really wowed me.

  2. IR says

    If you are unable to tolerate the gluten, do you think that this will work the same? If not, what else could I use? Thanks.

  3. chow says

    Thanks everyone for your comments. :-)

    IR – I just starting working with vital wheat gluten myself. I don’t think there is a substitute for it. I believe it’s what holds the loaf together and gives it that texture. I don’t know what else you could use instead. Sorry. :-(

  4. says

    Great photo…it really makes this recipe look appealing (which isn’t easy to do with brown, loaf food!). Thanks for sharing the recipe. I’m making this tonight with mashed potatoes and fresh green beans!

  5. Tara says

    Loaf is in the oven right now! I’m so excited to dive in… I tasted a little bit mid-way cooking and I think it’s going to be a winner!

    I made it into a large loaf combining all 4 mini loaves into one – Baked it for 25 minutes, took out it, decided it didn’t need to be flipped, but a ketchup/hot sauce glaze on top and in for another 20 minutes.

    Serving this with a creamy dressing green salad!

    Thank you for the recipe!!! :)

  6. chow says

    mif – I haven’t actually tried it yet there’s never any leftovers. But the chickpea cutlets which this recipe is adapted from, I have frozen those so it seems like they can be frozen.

  7. says

    I am gluten-allergic. Can you think of anything that can be substituted for the vital wheat gluten? I have an alternative I use for bread crumbs but I’m not sure what to replace for the gluten. Any thoughts? I would love to try this recipe!

  8. chow says

    Sarah – That’s a tough one to substitute as I think the wheat gluten is what holds the meatloaf together and gives it its texture. I don’t know what would be similar. I’ve tried other loaf recipes without wheat gluten but it’s not the same. :-(

      • chow says

        Krisdles – I haven’t tried the flax egg thing, but a few people have mentioned it in the comments. Someone else also said they used pea protein as a gluten substitute.

  9. says

    Just made this tonight with mashed potatoes and gravy. I used a homemade bbq sauce for the tops instead of ketchup. They came out really good, thanks for sharing! I love your blog, btw!

  10. Cheryl Pirtle says

    Wow, that looks great! Re gluten…I had a friend who was gluten intolerant. He used vegan egg substitute for recipes that needed “glue”. Might be worth a try.

  11. chow says

    Laura – I haven’t tried it in one loaf pan before so I don’t know how long it would take. I made them into mini loaves to make sure the centers would firm up and not be mushy. I guess I would just bake it for the 30 minutes and then keep checking to see if the center is firm.

  12. says

    Also re: gluten, I used 2 Tbs of ground flaxseed soaked in 3 Tbs warm water for about 5 minutes. I tossed that into the mix and that binds the loaf really well. Works for veggie burgers too!

  13. DeDeNYC says

    WOW!!! These little loaves are just delightful! I was looking for something a little more “loafy” than the typical lentil loaf, and these did the trick. Made them for Christmas Eve dinner, along with baked corn and rice pilaf. Delish! They really remind me of “mom’s meat loaf,” in that the addition of vital wheat gluten gives it that “loafy” consistency that mom brought about by mixing eggs, ground beef, and bread crumbs–but without the cruelty!!! I will definitely be making these again. Happy holidays everyone! : )

  14. Joan says

    Ground flax seed soaked in warm water becomes glutinous and is often used as a vegan substitute for eggs in baking. They might work well as a replacement for the vital wheat gluten.

  15. Gervase says

    This is my third time with this recipe. Fantastic if you are looking for substantial food in winter. I’ve been using the wheat gluten, but it’s a little pricey if you are on a budget. If I run out I might just try it without and see if it results in a began sloppy joe!

  16. says

    Hi, I live in Mexico City and it is really hard to find wheat gluten, I want to make this recipe because it sounds delicious but there is just no wheat gluten anywere around here… what can I substitute with? Please advice, Thank you! :)

  17. chow says

    Guilla – I haven’t tried it without the wheat gluten, but a few people in the comments mention using a vegan egg substitute like ground flaxseed with water to act as the binder. Maybe you can try that?

  18. linda says

    This looks great…can’t wait to try. I will probably use oats or brown rice in place of vital gluten…as a binder.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *