This vegan lentil meatloaf is comfort food at it's finest. It's gluten free and nut free, so everyone can enjoy it. Not only does it make a lovely midweek meal, it's also a wonderful entree for vegan and vegetarian Christmas or Thanksgiving menus.
If you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, chances are you've tried to make a lentil meatloaf. You've most likely had a version of this classic meat-free staple around the holidays. Nut loafs and lentil loafs are frequently the centerpiece of a vegan or vegetarian Christmas or Thanksgiving feast (and with good reason!)
I wanted to make a recipe that allows everyone, including allergy sufferers, to partake in an amazing holiday dinner. So, my lentil meatloaf recipe is free of nuts and other common allergens. Plus, it's gluten free! And, the good news is, that you can enjoy this ultimate comfort food anytime of the year!
The secret to the perfect vegan lentil meatloaf is the perfect mix of dry and wet ingredients. I'll show you how to cook the lentils properly, so that your lentil meatloaf comes out with the perfect texture (not soggy!). Let's get started!
Ingredients for the Perfect Lentil Loaf:
- Flaxseed: Flaxseeds mixed with water make the perfect vegan egg replacer.
- Dried Puy Lentils: Puy lentils cook faster than other lentil, yet they still retain a firm bite, which makes them the perfect lentil for this meatloaf.
- Vegetable Stock: You can use a DIY vegetable stock, or a pre-packaged one.
- Olive Oil: This whole recipe only contains one tablespoon of olive oil! We're using just a small amount to saute the base ingredients.
- Onions, Carrots and Celery: I'm listing these three ingredients together as they're holy trinity of the flavor base of lentil loaf! In fact, this combination of ingredients has been used as a culinary flavor base for centuries. It's referred to by the French as mirepoix and by the Italians as soffritto.
- Garlic: Garlic has a great depth of flavor and it tends to stretch all the flavors around it.
- Sunflower Seeds: Sunflower seeds replace the nuts that you traditionally find in most vegetarian lentil loaf recipes. They add texture and flavor too!
- Rolled Oats: Lentils plus oats = the perfect protein.
- Rosemary: Earthy rosemary is the perfect herb for lentil loafs.
- Cayenne Pepper: Don't worry, your lentil meatloaf won't be spicy. Cayenne adds a nice peppery note.
- Mace: Rich and warm mace is like the toned down version of nutmeg.
- Salt: Salt naturally enhances all the flavors.
- Ketchup: We'll be using this to make a yummy sweet glaze for your vegan meatloaf.
- Balsamic Vinegar: Balsamic Vinegar balances out the sweetness of the glaze.
- Brown Sugar (or Maple Syrup): The best meatloaf sauces are a nice balance between sweet and tangy.
- Onion Powder: Onion powder has such an unmissable funky flavor. I love it in this sauce!
How To Make Vegan Lentil Loaf:
- Firstly, combine your milled flaxseed with 6 tablespoons of water and set aside to thicken. We'll be using this later as a vegan egg replacer. Preheat your oven to 200 C (400 F).
- Wash your lentils in a sieve, and put them in a medium size saucepan with 1 liter (4 cups) of vegetable stock.
- Bring the lentils and stock to a hard boil, and then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Simmer them over low heat for about 20 minutes, or until all of the water is gone. It's important that the water has evaporated. If there's excess, drain it off, but aim to have most of the water removed in the boiling process. Cooking your lentils properly will ensure that your vegan lentil loaf comes out with the perfect texture, not soggy or mushy.
- Now, while the lentils are simmering away, begin chopping the onion, carrots and celery. You need to dice the veg finely, or your lentil loaf won't hold together properly. You can use a food processor or simply chop it with a sharp knife.
- Heat your olive oil in a saute pan and add the onions, carrots and celery along with the garlic, rosemary, cayenne, mace and salt. Saute everything over low heat until the veg are nice and soft, about 5-8 minutes.
- Put your sunflower seeds into a heavy bottomed pan, and toast them over low heat. Move them around occasionally to ensure they don't burn. Remove them from the heat when they release their aroma and are a nice toasty brown. You can skip this step if you're short on time, but it does add a nice earthy flavor to your vegan lentil meatloaf.
- Transfer your toasted sunflower seeds and rolled oats to a food processor. Pulse until you achieve a somewhat course meal. You want the mixture to be quite fine, but not so fine that it's sand-like.
- When your lentils are done cooking, tip half of them into the pan with the sauteed vegetables. Keep the other half in the pan you cooked them in.
- Next, Mash the mixture with a masher or a wooden spoon until the lentils are broken down and everything is well combined. Now, gently stir in the reserved whole lentils. Taste and adjust your seasoning to your preference.
- Put everything into a loaf pan. This is the loaf pan I used. It's 22 cm x 11cm x 6cm. However, if you have a shallower, but wider loaf pan that's fine. You'll just need to reduce the cooking time by 8-10 minutes.
- Pack the mixture into the pan firmly with the back of a spoon. It should be well compacted.
- Mix the ketchup, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and onion powder together. Spread it over the top of the loaf.
- Bake your lentil loaf in the oven for 40-50 minutes. Allow it to cool slightly before removing it from the pan.
Lentil Loaf Recipe Questions:
Sure, no problem. If you omit the maple syrup, reduce the balsamic vinegar by half.
You can, but I haven't tested other veg. If you replace the veg with an alternative, be sure that you chop it finely.
Leftovers make a great sandwich filling. Meatloaf sandwich, anyone? Or, alternatively, break up the slices and use them as a tasty filling for roasted peppers or butternut squash.
Lentil meatloaf It will stay fresh for 5-6 days in an airtight container.
Absolutely! I'd recommend freezing it in individual slices. It will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Download My Free Vegan Grocery List
Ready to getting your next shopping trip organized? I've put together a printable vegan shopping list that will help beginner vegans navigate the grocery store aisles.
If You Liked This Recipe, You Might Also Like:
Did You Make This Recipe?
Easy Vegan Meatloaf With Lentils
- 4 tablespoon flaxseed mixed with 6 tablespoon water
- 200 grams 1 cup dried dried Puy lentils
- 1 liter vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion finely diced
- 1 carrot finely diced
- 1 stick celery finely diced finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
- 1 cup sunflower seeds
- ½ cup rolled oats *check for gluten free
- 2 tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground mace
- ½ teaspoon salt
For The Glaze
- 136 grams (½ cup) ketchup
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar or maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- Put the flaxseed into a glass with the water and set aside to thicken. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (400F). Line a loaf tin with greased parchment paper, and set aside.
- Wash the lentils well and transfer them to a medium-sized saucepan with the the vegetable stock. Bring to a hard boil, reduce the heat and simmer over low heat until the water has been absorbed and the lentils are cooked, about 25-30 minutes. Drain off any excess water (there should not be much.)
- Heat the olive oil in a saute pan and add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, rosemary, cayenne, mace and salt. Saute until soft (5-8 minutes.)
- Toast the sunflower seeds in a heavy bottomed pan, moving them around for a few minutes until they release their aroma. Make sure they don't burn. Transfer the seeds to a food processor along with the rolled oats and pulse until they are the consistency of a course meal.
- Add half the lentils, rolled oats, and sunflower seeds to the pan with the vegetables, and mash the mixture with a masher or a wooden spoon.
- Add the reserved whole lentils to the mixture and stir gently. Adjust the seasoning.
- Pack the lentil mixture into the prepared loaf tin with the back of a wooden spoon.
- Mix together the ketchup, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and onion powder. Spread it over the lentil loaf and bake for 40-50 minutes.