Vegan Lentil Loaf
Vegan Lentil Loaf is a healthy and delicious vegan version of meatloaf that’s made with a combination of, green lentils, portobello mushrooms, quinoa and vegetables. It’s topped with a sweet and tangy balsamic ketchup sauce and is perfect for a vegetarian/vegan-friendly holiday main!
A crowd-pleasing Vegan Meatloaf Recipe
I’ve been working on making some delicious dishes for Thanksgiving, like Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese and pumpkin pie bars, but I wanted to share a recipe that would work well as a vegan main.
This Vegan Lentil Loaf recipe is made with a base of lentils, portobello mushrooms, and veggies. It’s topped off with a sweet and tangy glaze. This vegan meatloaf is easy to make and will be a crowdpleaser!
The portobello mushrooms give the lentil loaf a really hearty and meaty texture, and the lentils make it filling and satisfying. You could also add in 1/2 cup chopped walnuts if you want it to be even more filling and hearty, but I found it wasn’t necessary for this recipe.
One thing I love about this lentil loaf is that it holds its shape really well. (Some veggie loaves tend to be crumbly and fall apart easily.)
Why you’ll love this Lentil Meatloaf
- The combination of portobello mushrooms, lentils and quinoa make this loaf super-rich and hearty.
- This recipe is fantastic to serve up for Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas dinner as a main dish or even as a side dish.
- This recipe is naturally vegan and gluten-free.
- The glaze on this lentil loaf is so delicious made with three simple ingredients: ketchup, balsamic vinegar and maple syrup.
What goes into a Lentil Loaf (completely vegan ingredients)?
- Lentils: The best type of lentils to use for a lentil loaf are green or brown lentils. You want lentils have still have a slight bite to them and that will hold their shape and texture once cooked. Make sure not to substitute with red lentils. They are too soft and won’t hold up well in the loaf.
- Portobello mushrooms: you can substitute other mushrooms, but portobello work best for a meaty texture.
- Veggies: Onions, garlic, carrot, celery, red pepper.
- Herbs: I like to use dried oregano, thyme, and parsley, but any combination of your favourite dried herbs will work
- Red wine: to deglaze the pan and help build rich flavour
- Tomato paste: gives a nice balance of acidity to the recipe
- Ketchup: Adds a hint of sweetness and vinegar
- Tamari or soy sauce: Use tamari for gluten-free, or soy sauce if you prefer
- Vegan Worcestershire sauce: The secret ingredient. This adds that savoury flavour to the recipe that really ties it all together
- Quinoa: you can substitute brown rice or any cooked grain you love
- Oats: to help bind everything together, you could also use breadcrumbs
- Flax eggs: To bind everything together. If making this dish vegetarian, you could also use a regular egg.
Vegan Meatloaf Substitutions
If you don’t have all the ingredients on hand for the Vegan Meatloaf, don’t worry! Here are a few ingredients that can be substituted:
- Quinoa: substitute with brown or white rice
- Oats: substitute with breadcrumbs
- Ground flax seeds: substitute with ground chia seeds
- Red wine: substitute with vegetable stock
How to make a Lentil Loaf
Chop up the veggies then sautee them in a pan with a bit of oil. You want to let the veggies cook down for 10-15 minutes. It’s important not to rush this step, this is where all the flavour will build! Once the veggies are cooked deglaze the pan with some red wine then add the tomato paste, and seasoning.
Cook the lentils in vegetable broth, then add them to a food processor with the veggies, quinoa and oats. Pulse it up just a bit so there are still some chunks remaining.
Line an 8×4 inch loaf pan with parchment paper then pour the loaf mixture into the pan, pressing down evenly.
Mix the sauce ingredients together (see more details below) then spread the sauce to completely cover the top of the loaf.
Bake in the oven at 350 degrees F for 45-50 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes on the counter before removing from the pan.
How to make a Vegan Meatloaf Glaze
Vegan meatloaf glaze is easy to make and is SO important to make the vegan meatloaf taste amazing! The glaze is sweet, salty and tangy and ties the whole dish together.
To make the glaze, simply mix the ketchup, balsamic vinegar and maple syrup together in a small bowl. Use a spoon or silicon brush to spread the glaze evenly on top of the lentil loaf.
How to make ahead, store, freeze and reheat Vegan Meatloaf
- Fridge: Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week. Reheat in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave until warm.
- Freezer: Freeze this lentil loaf in a container, freezer bags or food saver bags. Defrost on the counter and reheat in the oven at 350 degrees F until warmed through.
Tips for making a Vegan Lentil Loaf
- Take your time to brown the veggies in the pan. You want to do this for at least 10 minutes, but ideally 15. The veggies will cook down and brown nicely and will build up flavour for the loaf.
- Don’t over pulse the mixture in the food processor. You don’t want it to be completely pureed. There should be whole pieces of the lentils left for texture. If you puree the mixture too much, you’ll end up with a more mushy lentil loaf.
- Line your loaf pan with parchment paper. This will prevent the loaf from sticking and make it easier to remove the loaf from the pan once it’s cooked.
What to serve with Lentil Loaf
Lentil loaf is great enjoyed on it’s own or with a variety of different sides. Here are some of my favourite things to serve with lentil loaf:
- Steamed Green beans
- Roasted Broccoli
- Roasted Squash
More lentil recipes to try
If you tried this Vegan Lentil Loaf or any other recipe on the blog let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment/rating below! Be sure to follow along on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook for even more deliciousness!
Vegan Lentil Loaf Recipe
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 65 minutes
- Yield: 10 servings 1x
- Category: Main
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
A meat-less loaf recipe made with lentils, portobello mushrooms and quinoa!
- 3 cups cooked green lentils (about 1 cup dried, or can use canned)
- 2 tbsp ground flax seeds+6 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 portabello mushrooms, chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tbsp tamari
- 1/2 tbsp vegan worshershire sauce
- 1/2 cup quinoa, (already cooked)
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- Mix the ground flax seeds with the water and let sit for 5 minues to gel.
- Heat the olive oil in a pan on medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, carrot, celery, red pepper and mushrooms and let brown in the pan for 10-15 minutes, stiring constantly so the veggies don’t burn. Sesason with salt, pepper, paprika and dried herbs.
- Reduce the heat to medium then deglaze the pan with red wine. Add the ketchup, tomato paste tamari, and vegan worshershire sauce and mix everything together.
- Add the veggie mixture to a food processor with the lentils, quinoa oats, and flax eggs. Pulse just a bit until combined, but not too much so there is still texture.
- Line an 8×4 inch loaf pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Pour the lentil mixture into the pan spreading evenly.
- To make the glaze mix the ketchup, balsamic vinegar and maple syrup together, then spread evenly onto the loaf.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes.
- Let cool for 30 minutes before removing from the pan.
Don’t rush cooking the vegetables in the pan. You want them to brown. If they start to brown too much, reduce your heat a bit.
I recommend cooking the lentils in broth rather than water. This will help infuse the lentils with more flavour.
Don’t overpulse the mixture in the food processor. You want to leave some texture.
Don’t try and remove the loaf from the pan while it’s still hot.
- Serving Size: 1/10th recipe
- Calories: 177
- Sugar: 5.5g
- Sodium: 328mg
- Fat: 4g
- Carbohydrates: 27g
- Fiber: 8g
- Protein: 8g
Keywords: vegan meatloaf recipe, meatloaf with lentils
Flavor is totally on point! So delicious! My food processor broke so I used a blender and over blended. This resulted in a loaf that didn’t set properly. We ended up just eating it like sloppy joes over on a bun and it was AWESOME!!!
So happy you loved the recipe Kacee! 🙂
I followed the directions exactly and tastes great but it is very wet. Not exactly loaf like. Quite mushy. Barely hold its shape when I cut it. Did I do something wrong ?
Hi Alyson, it’s likely you did something wrong along the way but it’s hard for me to say what happened without seeing what you did! This loaf should definitely hold it’s shape and has been tested and make several times so the ingredients and measurements are correct. Perhaps you had too much liquid in your lentils?
Do you think substituting brown lentils would turn out OK? Thanks!
Hi Danielle, yes you can use green or brown lentils!
Do you think you could use something other than lentils?
It would be best to stick with lentils for this recipe!
This is scrumptious. I’m so pleased with the way it turned out. My husband ate a big spoonful of it before it was even cooked! I wasn’t sure whether to cook it covered or uncovered. I opted for uncovered thinking it didn’t need to retain moisture. That seems to be correct from the look of it. I didn’t have any vegan Worcestershire sauce so I used 2 parts soy sauce with 1 part apple cider vinegar with 1/4 t Umami seasoning and a pinch of red pepper. I also didn’t have any tomato paste so I used an equal quantity of ketchup. It didn’t seem to affect the texture. This is going to be a regular in my house.
So happy you and your husband both enjoyed the recipe Denise! That is correct too, it doesn’t need to be covered.
This is absolutely the best lentil loaf I’ve ever made. I’m so glad I made a double batch and froze it. I added a little meatloaf seasoning to it too.
So happy you enjoyed it! 🙂
Can the loaf be prepared and frozen to cook later? or cooked and then frozen?
Hi Nancy, yes absolutely! You can freeze it and cover it well with plastic wrap, then defrost and cook accordingly. You can also freeze the lentil loaf after cooking and just reheat in the oven.
My food processor is still boxed up from moving recently. Would this recipe work without it?
Hi Kimberly! You can chop everything up very finely by hand, it just may take a little longer. Another alternative would be to use an emersion blender or gently (very gently) pulse in a blender.
My “meat and potatoes-loving” partner thinks this loaf is delicious. We are both meat-eaters, but try to eat meatless meals several times a week. The only thing I change is to leave out the tamari/soy sauce, as my partner is allergic to soy. I also make my own soy free replacement for worcestershire sauce. We get three meals for the two of us, from one loaf. It is a healthy, inexpensive hearty meal. Thanks for sharing.
Hi Charmaine, so happy to hear you and your partner both love the recipe! 🙂
Wow. This is delish. Our family has been vegetarian for a year now and everyone loves this – kids included!
Glad you and your family all enjoyed this recipe Sam! 🙂
Delicious! I made it once for my family and I and they loved it so much, I made it the following week to bring to Thanksgiving. I actually sliced up half the loaf and frozen the slices, then put them in a freezer bag and they defrosted pretty well! Tastes so much like meatloaf, a really great recipe.
Wondering if I can use canned lentils instead of cooking dry ones? Would that work?
Hi Marta, yes you can!
Can you use canned green lentils for this recipe?
Yes you can!:) Just use 3 cups of canned lentils and make sure to drain them
Do you think you could make this ahead of time? Would you recommend making the mix and refrigerating? Cooking it and refrigerating? Or do you think I can even freeze it? I’d love to make it for myself to bring to my non-vegan Thanksgiving.
Hi Katherine, Absolutely! You can make the entire thing and keep it in the fridge a day or two before serving it (The flavour actually gets even better after a day!)
So happy you loved the recipe 🙂
Love your recipes, and love lentils, this is very good and tasty, I used 1/2 and froze 1/2 (only one in my house), keep up the good work.
Are we supposed to use just two regular size portabello mushrooms or portabello mushroom caps? The chopped picture looks like alot more than just two regular sized! Before I make it, I just want to make sure. It looks delicious.
Hi Suzy! I’m not sure which photo you’re referring too-there is no photo of just chopped up mushrooms, but it’s just 2 portabello caups. Regular sized! 🙂
What can I use instead of the worcestershire sauce? Can i substitute it with something, or add a blend of spices that mimic the flavour?
Hi Marta! You can just leave it out or just add a bit of soy sauce+apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar) instead!
Thank you:) and 1 more question if that’s okay:)
I feel sick after eating mushrooms, can I substitute the portobello mushrooms with eggplant or zucchini instead?:)
I can not say enough good things about this recipe!! It was SO good! I will make it again and again. And the left overs? The flavour gets better and better. Highly recommend! 👌👌👌
Thanks for the review Courtney! So happy you like it! And totally agree about the leftovers!
Can I use other coloured lentils? I have brown in hand.
Yummy! I just made it for the second time. It makes excellent sandwiches.
I used eggs instead of the flax egg, I’m a vegetarian but not vegan. And I love eggs.
Also I did not have ketchup so I just left it out.
Happy you enjoyed Mary!
I have a few questions:
1. If I don’t have ground flax seeds, is there anything else that I can use?
2. When you’re calling for 1/2 cup quinoa, cooked, do you mean 1/2 cup of raw quinoa then cooked, or 1/2 cup already cooked quinoa?
Hi Nelly, the 1/2 cup quinoa cooked means 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa. Instead of flax seeds you could try some chia seeds, though I’d recommend purchasing ground flax seeds from your grocery store for best results.
Don’t usually eat portobello or flax (estrogen issues), suggestions?
Hi Vic, you can just leave out the portobello and use ground chia in place of flax!
Could i use eggplant or zucchini instead of the mushroom?:)
Eggplant would work well!
Is it 1/2 c cooked quinoa (measured after cooking), or 1/2 c. uncooked quinoa (which is then cooked and would yield 1 c. or more of cooked quinoa)? Thanks!
Hi Patty, the quinoa is cooked. I refer to the type of quinoa to use in the “ingredients” list of the recipe card so you can reference there 🙂
Just put this in the oven! But one question: what’s supposed to happen with the deglazing mixture? I mixed it in with the loaf contents after the pulsing. Is it supposed to go in there or part of the glaze? The recipe doesn’t actually specify.
Hi Leslie, I’m sorry but I’m not sure what you are referring to by the deglazing mixture?
In step 4, it says to deglaze the pan with red wine then add ketchup, tomato paste, etc. Once all of that is mixed together is it supposed to go in with the rest of the loaf? That’s what I did but not sure if that’s what I was supposed to do. We enjoyed it last night regardless, even my meat-loving husband!
Hi Leslie, yes! you add it to the food processor as mentioned in step 5 (Add the veggie mixture to a food processor with the lentils, quinoa oats, and flax eggs. Pulse just a bit until combined, but not too much so there is still texture.) Hope this helps and glad you enjoyed it! 🙂
One of my favourite recipe! So tasteful!
Thanks Valerie! 🙂
This loaf looks SO hearty and perfect for fall! 🙂
Thanks so much Sarah!