The Best Traditional Meatless Meatloaf: Vegan, Gluten-Free, and Oil-Free

The Best Traditional Meatless Meatloaf: Vegan, Gluten-Free, and Oil-Free

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With all the traditional seasonings of the original this vegan meatless meatloaf with chickpeas, peppers, and onions is big on flavor topped with a tomato maple glaze. Perfect as the main dish at your next dinner party, or easy enough to pull together for a weeknight meal.

When I was growing up meatloaf was one of those dishes my mom served at least a few times a month. My mom was known in her circle of friends and family to be the best home cook. When she was in the kitchen she was in her element. Her way of showing others that she cared was to prepare their favorite meals. My dad loved meatloaf, hence the reason we had it so often. It was also a rather simple dish she could pull together on a weeknight when she got home from teaching.

While my dad was thrilled to find we were having meatloaf for dinner, I wasn’t. I’m pretty sure I was meant to be a vegetarian from birth. My mom served meatloaf with ketchup, of course, and usually a side of potatoes, and some green beans.

I usually ate a few bites of meatloaf and loaded up on the potatoes and green beans. Recently, I found an old box of recipe cards my dad had given me when my mom passed away. I hadn’t looked at the recipes for years, most of them not being vegan, but I thought it would be fun to see if I could take one of her old recipes and put my spin on it.

I came across her meatloaf recipe and was taken back to my childhood. This recipe is my take on the traditional meatloaf my mom made, using the same spices, but turning it into a meatless version.

I make this recipe as the featured dish when I have friends or family over for dinner, but also on a weeknight. It’s easy to pull together, and looks and tastes fantastic!

meatless meatloaf

Ingredients you’ll need for the Best Traditional Meatless Meatloaf:

meatless meatloaf ingredients

The ground flax and water work as a binder as an egg replacement. It also adds some extra omega-3s and fiber in this dish!

If you’re not gluten-free feel free to use a different type of breadcrumbs. I like the Panko 100% whole wheat breadcrumbs.

Ingredients you’ll need for the glaze:

Tools and Equipment you’ll need to make this Traditional Meatless Meatloaf

You will need a food processor to make this traditional meatless meatloaf. It is how you’ll quickly be able to combine all the ingredient quickly and easily. I recommend using a 9 cup or larger food processor. Mind is a little smaller, so I had to work in batches because it wouldn’t all fit at one go.

You’ll also need parchment paper and a loaf pan. Lining your loaf pan with parchment paper is key to removing the loaf from the pan without it falling apart.

HOW TO MAKE TRADITIONAL MEATLESS MEATLOAF – STEP BY STEP

  • Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. 
  • Pulse chickpeas, green pepper, onion, garlic, parsley, tomato paste, and vegan Worcestershire sauce in a food processor until combined but not until it becomes mushy. You want some texture in it. You may need to work in batches to fit the size of your food processor.
  • Whisk together ground flax and ¼ cup of water in a small bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Combine chickpea mixture, flax mixture, breadcrumbs, almond milk, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a large bowl using your hands or a spatula. 
  • Pour mixture into lined loaf pan. Press mixture down firmly and evenly. 
  • Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
maple tomato glaze
  • While the loaf is baking prepare your glaze. Combine tomato paste, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, vegan Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce. Set aside.
  • Remove loaf from oven after 30 minutes. Spread glaze overtop. Bake an additional 25 minutes.
  • Cool in pan for 15 minutes. 
  • Remove from pan by gently lifting the sides of the parchment paper, slice, and serve. 

THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF TRADITIONAL MEATLESS MEATLOAF

The main substitution in this best ever traditional meatless meatloaf are the chickpeas. Chickpeas make an excellent substitution for animal protein. They are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. I stay away from packaged meat substitutes. I know a lot of vegans tend to rely on meat substitutes in the form of textured soy protein. The reason I don’t use those substitutions is because they are processed and full of added ingredients. I keep it simple, using whole food plant-based ingredients.

HOW TO SERVE MEATLESS MEATLOAF

I like to serve this meatless meatloaf with a side of steamed or oil-free roasted garlic broccoli. Everyone in my house is a fan of broccoli so I know it’s an easy win. Choose a steamed or roasted veggie of your choice; carrots, green beans, brussel sprouts, or cauliflower all make excellent accompaniments.

VARIATIONS

You can play around with the spices in this dish, adding more or less depending on what you like. If you like a bit of a smoky flavor add a tablespoon of paprika. If you like a bit more spice add 1 tsp of cayenne.

For a fall/Thanksgiving flavor profile add 1/2 tsp sage, 1/2 tsp thyme, and 1/4 tsp nutmeg. This makes for an excellent dish to serve around the holidays!

meatless meatloaf
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Best Ever Traditional Meatless Meatloaf

With all the traditional seasonings of the original this vegan meatless meatloaf with chickpeas, peppers, and onions is big on flavor topped with a tomato maple glaze. Perfect as the main dish at your next dinner party, or easy enough to pull together for a weeknight meal.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time55 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: meatless meatloaf
Servings: 8
Calories: 130kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 cans organic chickpeas/garbanzo beans
  • 1 organic green pepper chopped
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup unflavored almond milk or other unflavored dairy free milk
  • 2 tbsp flax seeds ground
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup gluten free breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste for the glaze
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup for the glaze
  • 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce for the glaze
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce for the glaze

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. 
  • Pulse chickpeas, green pepper, onion, garlic, parsley, tomato paste, and vegan worcestershire sauce in a food processor until combined but not until it becomes mush. You want some texture in it. You may need to work in batches to fit the size of your food processor.
  • Whisk together ground flax and ¼ cup of water in a small bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Combine chickpea mixture, flax mixture, breadcrumbs, almond milk, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a large bowl using your hands or a spatula. 
  • Pour mixture into lined loaf pan. Press mixture down firmly and evenly.
  • Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
  • While loaf is baking prepare your glaze. Combine tomato paste, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, vegan Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce. Set aside.
  • Remove loaf from oven after 30 minutes. Spread glaze overtop. Bake an additional 25 minutes.
  • Cool in pan for at least 15 minutes.
  • Remove from pan by gently lifting the sides of the parchment paper, slice, and serve. 

Notes

  1. You don’t pulse the chickpeas and vegetable mixture too long. You want some texture and chunks. If the ingredients are quite combines but pulsing more will make it mushy, take it out of the food processor and gently fold in the rest of the ingredients. 
  2. Allow the loaf to sit for a minimum of 15 minutes before pulling it out of the pan. If you have more time allow to sit a little longer. It will firm up as it cools.
  3. This tastes great the next day for leftovers.

CHECK OUT THESE OTHER FAMILY DINNER FAVORITES!

If you’ve tried my Best Traditional Meatless Meatloaf, please rate it and let me know how it turned out. You can also follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest for more plant-based family recipes your whole family will enjoy!

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Hmmm, my family is definitely not Vegan, but this looks interesting. You have some recipes that I might try. I found your site and since I was browsing I just wanted to take a moment to comment to let you know you had a visitor. Thank you and take care.

    1. Thanks for stopping by my site and looking through my recipes. My family is not vegan either, but I am. I make recipes that are vegan plant-based but still delicious and approachable for my kids and my husband. I hope you give some of them a try!

  2. What a tasty recipe and a great meat-free alternative to the classic meatloaf. That glaze is my favorite part 🙂


  3. Can you believe that I have never tried meatloaf before. It looks so comforting.


  4. I know what I am having for dinner tonight! This looks like a restaurant worthy dish, indeed!


  5. Wow, this recipe looks wonderful! I’m saving to make alongside a traditional loaf when we have vegan family members for dinner. Thanks for sharing.

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