Impress your whole family with this easy Vegan Lentil Meatloaf recipe – it’s perfect for the upcoming holiday celebrations and simply the best meat-less roast you can make! The taste and texture of this lentil loaf will transport your taste buds to a whole new world and the sweetness of the cranberry chutney glaze is what brings all the flavors perfectly together. Serve it for Christmas dinner or enjoy it any time!
Everyone loves meatloaf, right? There’s just something about this delicious comfort food that will instantly transport people right back to their grandma’s kitchen. Even though this vegan meatloaf might be a little different than the old-fashioned recipe, there’s no denying that the combination of lentils, walnuts, and sunflower seeds is the beginning of a new tasty tradition without meat.
The Best Vegan Meatloaf
We love this recipe and it’s a family favorite that we serve every year as part of our Christmas menu. However, since it’s so delicious, and comes together quickly, you can absolutely make this lentil meatloaf for any other day, too!
It’s easy to make ahead and freeze in portions. That way you can always reheat a protein-rich vegan meat side dish in minutes, that’s much better than store-bought meat alternatives or burgers!
This vegan meatloaf is homemade, healthy, flavorful, and made with only plant-based whole-some ingredients, meaning it contains no preserves, no additives, and no other unusual ingredients that we do not need in our food!
Lentil Health Benefits
Even though this vegan meatloaf uses lentils and beans as a base, it is just as tasty as a non-vegan version! While there are different types of legumes that can be used and added to recipes, keep in mind that there are some universal health benefits that lentils and beans have as well. They’re:
- High in fiber – Lentils and beans are good for digestion, keep you full for a long time and help stabilize blood sugar levels.
- Rich in protein – Lentils are made up of over 20-25% protein which makes them a great source of plant-based protein, especially for vegans and vegetarians.
- Low in fat – Since the small pulses are low in fat, they are ideal for a healthy balanced diet.
- Rich in nutrients – They contain many minerals, trace elements, and vitamins like potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and more.
How long do lentils take to cook?
The cooking time of lentils varies depending on the type of lentils. For example, red and yellow lentils cook faster than brown lentils. While some types need to be soaked before cooking, others do not. Therefore, it is important to read the package instructions of your lentils to ensure you cook them properly. They should be cooked until just tender, but not too soft. Otherwise, you just might end up with a mushy meatloaf and that would be totally annoying.
You can precook the lentils the day before and then store them in the refrigerator until ready to use. Or you can just cook them while you prepare the other ingredients for your vegan lentil loaf – that’s up to you!
Ingredients for vegan meatloaf
There are a lot of healthy ingredients and flavorful spices used in this recipe and you can view them all via the printable recipe card below.
To make this simple vegan meatloaf, the main ingredients that I used were legumes in place of meat and bread. I’ve also used flax eggs instead of regular eggs as well as oats for better binding. If you decide that you want to make a tasty gluten-free meatloaf, just use gluten-free oats in your recipe.
Don’t forget to add healthy vegetables. Carrots always add a bit of a sweet taste and are a fun coloring, too. Adding in mushrooms tend to help give it a meatier texture as well and they blend up perfectly.
When it comes to seasoning, I like dried rosemary and dried thyme but fresh parsley does add a ton of great flavor. You can use any type of herb that you like!
How to make the best vegan meatloaf
With a prep time of just 15 minutes (+ cooking time of the lentils) and a baking time under one hour, this is an awesome holiday recipe that is the perfect way to gather everyone around the table.
Step 1: Cook lentils and sauté onions
Start by cooking the lentils in 260 ml water according to the package instructions until tender. In the meantime, chop the mushrooms and prepare the other veggies. Also, sauté the onions and garlic until golden-browned. Then preheat your oven to 392°F (200°C).
Step 2: Make the vegan meatloaf mixture
Now put the oats and flax seeds into a food processor and ground them into a fine flour. Then add the kidney beans, cooked lentils, walnuts, sunflower seeds, sautéed onion mixture, and 3 tablespoons of water and process into a coarse mixture. After that, transfer the lentil mixture into a large bowl. If it still looks a little too chunky, use a potato masher to break down any remaining large chunks.
Then add finely grated carrots, chopped mushrooms, thyme, rosemary, parsley, tomato paste, mustard, soy sauce, paprika powder as well as salt and pepper to taste and mix everything to combine. (If the mixture looks too dry, add some water or if it looks too moist, add more oat flour).
Step 3: Add into a loaf pan and bake.
Now lightly grease a 25-cm loaf pan (this will help the parchment paper sticking better to the pan) and then line it with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on both sides. Add the lentil mixture into the pan and spread it out evenly. Then place it in your preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes.
Step 4: Top with cranberry glaze
While your vegan meatloaf is in the oven, make the glaze by stirring together preserved cranberries and tomato ketchup. After 30 minutes of baking time, remove the lentil roast from the oven. Brush the top with the cranberry glaze, then put it back into the oven and bake for another 20 minutes.
Step 5: Allow to cool and enjoy!
Once your lentil loaf is done baking, remove it from the oven and let it cool for at least 15 minutes so that the mixture can set and will hold together better. Finally, lift out the lentil roast, using the parchment overhang, and decorate with fresh rosemary as desired. Slice and enjoy it!
Vegan Meatloaf – Recipe Variations
While this lentil meatloaf recipe is pretty simple, there are variations to the recipe that you could try.
- Add in more beans or lentils – whichever you prefer. Instead of kidney beans, you could also use pinto or black beans or even chickpeas.
- Use other vegetables – How about leek, celery, or bell pepper? Since this meatless lentil loaf is all about flavor, see what other vegetables you want to add in. You can customize this to fit your taste buds easily. Just be sure to chop them finely and avoid adding too many veggies or the loaf won’t be able to hold its shape. You can also sauté the vegetables beforehand, but make sure they are not too watery to prevent your lentil loaf from getting soggy.
- Try a different variety of mushrooms – There are so many great choices for mushrooms that you should work your way through them all and see which ones add in the most flavor.
How to store and freeze?
Storing leftovers is a breeze. They will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days and can easily be reheated in the microwave. Putting a slice of your lentil loaf between two slices of bread and enjoying it as a sandwich is a great idea as well! It tastes delicious warm and cold.
If you’re worried that you have too much leftover to consume in a couple of days, simply freeze it in individual portions! Then you can always take a slice out and thaw it overnight in the fridge or in the microwave.
This vegan meatloaf holiday recipe is the best because it’s:
- So delicious!
- Fast and simple to make
- Topped with sweet chutney
- Perfect to make ahead
- Perfect for freezing
- Healthier than traditional meatloaf recipes
- Can be made gluten-free
- 100% vegan (egg-less, meat-less)
- Definitely better than meat!
Other holiday recipes you might like
Looking for more fun recipes that are perfect for the holiday season? Be sure to check these out!
If you try this best Vegan Lentil Meatloaf, please leave me a comment below sharing how you liked this easy recipe! And if you take a picture of your dish and share it on Instagram, please make sure to tag me @biancazapatka and use the hashtag #biancazapatka, so I won’t miss your post! Happy cooking!
The Best Vegan MeatloafAuthor:
- ⅔ cup dried lentils green or brown
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil for frying
- 1 onion finely diced
- 4 garlic cloves finely minced
- ¾ cup rolled oats
- 2 tbsp flax seeds
- 1x14 oz can kidney beans rinsed & drained
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 cup sunflower seeds
- 2 carrots finely grated (7 oz)
- 7 oz mushrooms finely chopped
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 1 tbsp dried rosemary
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp yellow mustard
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp red paprika powder optional
- salt and black pepper to taste
Cranberry Chutney (glaze)
- 2 tbsp preserved cranberries or other sweet and sour jam of your choice
- 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
*Note: For the best results, I recommend measuring the ingredients in grams. Simply click on the word "metric" right above the ingredient list. Also, make sure to check out the step-by-step pictures above!
- Cook the lentils in 260 ml water according to the package instructions until the liquid has been absorbed.
- In the meantime, heat the oil in a pan. Add the onions and sauté for 3-4 minutes until translucent. Then add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Finally, remove from the pan and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 392°F (200°C).
- Put the oats and flax seeds into a food processor and ground into a fine meal.
- Add the kidney beans, cooked lentils, walnuts, sunflower seeds, sautéed onion mixture, and 3 tablespoons of water and process into a coarse mixture, leaving a little texture.
- Transfer the mixture into a large bowl. Add finely grated carrots, chopped mushrooms, thyme, rosemary, parsley, tomato paste, mustard, soy sauce, paprika powder as well as salt and pepper to taste and mix everything to combine. (If the mixture looks too dry, add a little water or if it looks too moist, add more oat flour).
- Lightly grease a 10x5x3-inch (25cm) loaf pan (this will help the parchment paper sticking better to the pan) and then line it with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on both sides. Add the lentil mixture into the pan and spread it out evenly.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Then make the glaze by stirring together preserved cranberries and tomato ketchup. Brush the lentil loaf with the glaze and bake for another 20 minutes.
- Finally, remove from the oven and let it cool for at least 15 minutes so that the mixture can set and will hold together better. Then carefully lift out the lentil meatloaf, using the parchment paper overhang and decorate with fresh rosemary as desired.
- Slice and enjoy it!
- Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days and can easily be reheated in the microwave. Putting it between two slices of bread and enjoying it as a sandwich is a great idea as well!
- The preparation time doesn't include the cooking time for lentils.
- Please read my blog post for helpful tips, recipe variations, and further information about this recipe.
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