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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, this veggie meatloaf is 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. Too bad my mom didn’t have vegetarian meatloaf recipe in her back pocket!
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 veggie meatloaf.
I make this recipe as the featured dish when I have friends or family over for dinner, but also on weeknights. It’s easy to pull together, and looks and tastes fantastic!
Why you’ll love this vegan and vegetarian meatloaf recipe…
- Vegan and Vegetarian friendly
- Sweet homemade tomato maple glaze
- Easy enough for a weeknight meal
- Beautiful enough to serve at a dinner party
- Hearty and comforting
Ingredients you’ll need for the Best Traditional Meatless Meatloaf:
- Organic chickpeas rinsed
- Green pepper chopped
- Yellow onion chopped
- Garlic minced
- Fresh parsley
- Tomato paste
- Vegan Worcestershire sauce
- Unflavored almond milk
- Ground flax
- Gluten free breadcrumbs
- Garlic powder
- Fresh parsley for garnish
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:
- Tomato paste
- Pure maple syrup
- Apple cider vinegarV
- Vegan Worcestershire sauce
- Soy sauce
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. Mine is a little smaller, so I had to work in batches because it wouldn’t all fit at one go.
HOW TO MAKE TRADITIONAL MEATLESS MEATLOAF – STEP BY STEP
Step 1: Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
Step 2: The first step is to pulse the 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.
Step 3: Whisk together ground flax and ¼ cup of water in a small bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Step 4: Combine chickpea mixture, flax mixture, breadcrumbs, almond milk, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a large bowl using your hands or a spatula.
Step 5: Pour mixture into lined loaf pan. Press mixture down firmly and evenly.
Step 6: Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
Step 7: While the loaf is baking prepare your glaze. Combine tomato paste, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, vegan Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce. Set aside.
Step 8: Remove loaf from oven after 30 minutes. Spread glaze overtop. Bake an additional 25 minutes.
Step 9: Cool in pan for 15 minutes.
Step 10: Remove from pan by gently lifting the sides of the parchment paper, slice, and serve.
The Health Benefits of 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.
In addition, 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 Veggie Meatloaf
I like to serve this meatless meatloaf with a side of steamed or oil-free roasted garlic broccoli.
Because know everyone in my house is a fan of broccoli so 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.
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!
Check out these other family favorite recipes!
- 37 Vegan Prep Meals: An Ultimate Guide to Vegan Meal Planning
- Easy Vegan Chili
- Easy “Cheesy” Vegan Pasta Bake
- Vegan Pesto Lentil Pasta with Arugula and Basil
If you’ve tried my Best Traditional Meatless Meatloaf, please rate it and let me know how it turned out. Then follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for more plant-based family recipes your whole family will enjoy!
Best Ever Traditional Meatless Meatloaf
- 2 cans organic chickpeas/garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
- 1 organic green pepper chopped
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 1 tsp garlic minced
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup unflavored almond milk or other unflavored dairy free milk
- 2 tbsp ground flax seeds
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup gluten free breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp pepper
Tomato Maple Glaze
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce omit if gluten-free
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
- Whisk together ground flax and ¼ cup of water in a small bowl. Let sit for 15 minutes.
- Drain and rinse chickpeas. 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.
- 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 (omit for gluten-free version or use coconut aminos as a substitute). 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.
- Make sure to drain and rinse canned chickpeas well before adding them to the food processor.
- Don’t pulse the chickpeas and vegetable mixture too long. You want some texture and chunks.
- 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.
- This tastes great the next day for leftovers.
- If you are gluten-free omit the soy sauce from the glaze.