Hearty and satisfying vegan lentil mini "meatloaf" made with healthy, whole food plant-based ingredients. Then topped with a delicious sweet and savory tomato-maple-balsamic glaze! Great for holidays or a comforting cold-weather meal. (Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, nut-free option.)
This healthy vegan meatloaf recipe is made with whole food ingredients, plus so much flavor and protein.
And it's topped with a delicious, sweet and savory tomato-maple-balsamic glaze!
It's a satisfying main dish, and a great addition to your vegan Thanksgiving, Christmas, or holiday table.
Pair it with side dishes such as mashed potatoes and green beans (or other vegetables like Brussels sprouts or sweet potato) for the ultimate comfort meal.
Ingredients for Vegan Meatloaf
For this recipe you will combine then bake:
- Ground flax meal: You will use this to make a flax egg to help bind the mixture.
- Carrot + celery
- Mushrooms + walnuts + lentils: This makes up the hearty protein and fiber-filled base. Most often I use cremini mushrooms or white button mushrooms, but simply choose your own favorite. We will also use pre-cooked, canned lentils for convenience. But you can absolutely cook yours from scratch ahead of time if desired! You will need about 1.5 cups cooked lentils for this recipe.
- Oat flour: This also helps to bind the loaves together.
- Tamari: Or substitute soy sauce, but I use tamari for gluten-free. Coconut aminos could also work.
- Tomato paste
- Seasonings blend: Onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, dried basil, smoked paprika, and salt/pepper to taste. This blend adds so much warmth and flavor to the loaves.
How to Make
I created this recipe with ease of assembly in mind.
The ingredient list is longer than most of my recipes, but many are simply herbs and seasonings that make the lentil loaf taste warm and comforting.
There is no need to sauté ingredients before baking. Simply:
- Grab your food processor.
- Mix the ingredients in a large bowl.
- Form the lentil loaf mixture in a loaf pan.
- Then place them in the oven to bake.
Preparation and Tips
For nut-free: Substitute the walnuts with a 15 oz. can of garbanzo beans (rinsed and drained well). I prefer walnuts for the added texture/crunch but garbanzos work too. Although this will result in a softer loaf.
Oat flour: We use oat flour to help combine and hold together the mixture. However if you don't have oat flour, simply place rolled oats in a food processor and process until a fine flour forms.
Loaf pan: I use an 8-cavity mini loaf pan as I get best results with this size and shape. But you could also bake them in a muffin pan, or in a standard loaf pan (increasing the baking time to about 50-60 minutes).
We find the leftovers last for about 3-4 days in a tightly sealed container in the fridge.
Freezing note: I have not tested these in the freezer yet, but I'm guessing they would freeze well!
Note about the tomato glaze: If you are not a fan of maple-balsamic, or prefer the more standard approach, see the notes below the recipe for making a classic ketchup glaze instead.
Either glaze is tasty on top of the loaf, and then you can also garnish with a couple teaspoons fresh parsley or other herbs if desired.
Vegan Mini Meatloaf with Maple-Balsamic Glaze
- 2 Tbsp. ground flax meal
- 1 large carrot (or 2 small)
- 2-3 stalks celery
- 8 oz. mushrooms (I use cremini or white button)
- 1 1/2 cups walnuts* (I use raw, unsalted)
- 15 oz. can lentils
- 3/4 cup oat flour**
- 3 Tbsp. tamari (or soy sauce)
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp. onion powder
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp. salt (more/less to taste)
For the maple-balsamic glaze:
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. tamari (or soy sauce)
- Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C).
- Make flax egg: In a small bowl, combine 2 Tbsp. ground flax with 6 Tbsp. water. Stir and set aside to thicken.
- Roughly chop carrot and celery into large chunks (to fit in your food processor). Add them to the food processor and pulse several times until they're finely minced. Add to a large mixing bowl.
- Next, add mushrooms (wiped clean) and walnuts to food processor. Pulse several times. (It's okay to leave the walnuts in small pieces rather than a fine meal - I enjoy the slight crunch they add to the loaf.) Add to bowl with carrots/celery.
- Rinse and drain lentils well. Add to processor and pulse a couple times. (You don't want the lentils to be overly mushy.) Add to bowl.
- Add all remaining loaf ingredients to the large bowl. (Thickened flax egg, oat flour, tamari, tomato paste, herbs/spices, and salt.) Stir to thoroughly combine.
- Add loaf mixture throughout the 8 hollows in a non-stick mini loaf pan. Be sure to press mixture down to fill each cavity and form even loaves.
- Place in oven and bake for 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the glaze: In a small bowl mix together all glaze ingredients until combined.
- After 25 minutes, remove pan from oven. Carefully spread glaze evenly over each loaf. Return to oven and bake an additional 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let loaves rest 25-30 minutes in the pan. (This step is essential. The loaves will be very soft right after baking. So it's necessary to let them rest and firm up.) After they've rested, carefully remove and serve.
Nutrition Per Serving (Estimate)
Sodium: This is omitted as I cannot provide an accurate number. I encourage you to calculate your own to provide a much more precise reading based on the exact ingredients, brands, and amounts you're using.
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