September 25, 2020
I started making vegan lentil loaf as my Thanksgiving main dish two years ago, using this recipe. Over time I've rotated ingredients and measurements to turn it into what I think is the perfect vegan meatloaf recipe!
This vegetable meatloaf is the most requested holiday dish I've ever made. Vegans and meat-eaters alike devour it and come back for seconds and thirds. For me, this vegan version is even more delicious than traditional meatloaf recipes. I'm sure your family will love it as well! It's the perfect comfort food for special occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it's also great any time of year. Try it with my sour cream mashed potatoes and green bean casserole.
This vegan meatloaf is made with lentils, oats, carrots, celery, and onions. Lentils are the perfect starting point for a vegan meatloaf because they have a meaty texture similar to ground beef, and they have just as much protein.
Can I adjust the seasonings or add other seasonings to the loaf? Once everything is mixed into the loaf, you can add more seasonings or flavors to your preferred taste. Just be cautious about adding too much liquid, as that could keep the loaf from holding together.
Why is there pineapple in this recipe? One of the keys to this recipe is pineapple. It might seem odd to be putting pineapple into a lentil loaf, but it's the secret to its tender texture. And it adds just a bit of flavor to the vegetable loaf without a fruity taste. The taste is very subtle and most people would probably never know there's pineapple in this loaf.
Should I use fresh or canned pineapple? I use fresh pineapple, but if you can only get canned pineapple at the grocery store (or find it easier to work with), others have had good results with that as well!
I don't like raisins, can I leave them out? Yes! Raisins are definitely a personal preference that people feel strongly about (for better or worse), so if you don't like them you can leave them out without affecting the overall consistency of the loaf.
Prep Time40 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes
Total Time90 minutes
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
Using a fine sieve, rinse your lentils to remove any debris. Cook the lentils, adding about 5 minutes to package instructions for tender lentils that can be mashed easily, then drain the lentils. Transfer the lentils to a large mixing bowl and mash them, leaving some whole lentils in tact.
While lentils are cooking, line a 9x5 loaf pan with parchment paper. Cut two pieces of parchment paper, one to the width of the pan, and one to the length of the pan, so you have one piece facing each direction, and parchment “handles” hanging over all four sides.
Make your flax egg by combining ground flax with 1/2 cup water and mixing well. Set aside to thicken.
Pre-heat a large skillet or saute pan over medium heat and add a bit of olive oil to the pan. Cook the onion and garlic for about 5-7 minutes (longer for softer veggies, less time for crunchier veggies). Stir regularly with a wooden spoon, and add water if the vegetables begin to dry out.
Add your celery, carrots, and raisins to the pan and continue cooking for another 3 minutes or so. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
After your pineapple is chopped in tiny pieces, mash it with your fingers. You want to ensure that you only have soft pieces of pineapple (no core pieces). You can also separate out the juice to use in the glaze.
Combine 1 1/2 tbsp. ketchup, 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce, 1/2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, thyme, oregano, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper into a paste. Add the paste to the flax egg and mix well.
To your large mixing bowl with the lentils, add vegetables, pineapple (only pieces, no juice), rolled oats, oat flour, and your flax egg-seasoning paste mix. Mix ingredients well to ensure that they are evenly distributed. At this stage, you can taste the loaf mixture and add any additional salt or seasonings that you’d like. Then, press the mix into the lined loaf pan.
In a small bowl, mix the remaining ingredients (ketchup, maple syrup, pineapple juice, balsamic vinegar, and soy sauce). Use a spoon or basting brush to cover the top of the loaf with the glaze.
Bake the loaf at 350°F (180°C) for 50 to 55 minutes.
Allow the loaf to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes. Then, using the parchment handles, remove it from the pan and allow it to cool on a wire rack for another 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
Be sure to chop all your ingredients very finely. The larger the pieces, the harder it will be to get your loaf to hold together.
This recipe fills a 9x5 loaf pan. If you have a smaller pan, you can adjust the recipe accordingly. An 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 pan will hold about 3/4 of the recipe, while an 8x4 pan will hold about 1/2 of the recipe.
Make ahead: Prepare the loaf and glaze (leave the glaze off for now) and refrigerate until ready to bake. Remove from the refrigerator at least an hour before baking, add the glaze, then bake. You may need to add 5-10 minutes to cook time.
Leftovers: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to a week. For longer storage, cut into slices, wrap each slice, then store in freezer bags in the freezer.
Reheating: From the refrigerator, reheat a slice in the oven at 350°F (180°C) for 12-15 minutes. If reheating a frozen slice, allow it to thaw before reheating.
Note: This data should be used only as an estimate. Please see the nutrition section of my terms and conditions for more information on how this data is calculated.
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