I kid you not when I say that this is the best meatless meatloaf! It’s the perfect hearty plant-based main dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, or really any cold-weather holiday. Plus, it pairs super well with mushroom gravy.
This meatless meatloaf is hearty, deliciously comforting, and is always a big crowd-pleaser with meat eaters and veggie eaters alike.
You can call this loaf whatever makes your tummy growl: “meatloaf”, lentil loaf, nut roast, lentil, mushroom & walnut loaf… and if none of these names do it for you, come up with your own. I’d love to hear them!
The important thing is that you get in your kitchen and make this. Your tummy and tastebuds will thank you!
The Best Meatless Meatloaf
For the Loaf:
- 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 large carrot
- 8 oz white button or cremini mushrooms, cleaned
- 1 1/2 cups walnuts
- 2 cups cooked brown lentils (from a can or freshly cooked)
- 2 TBSP ground flaxseeds
- 4 TBSP ketchup
- 1 tsp marmite mixed with 1 TBSP water
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 TBSP soy sauce or Tamari
- 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 3/4 c bread crumbs (I used this gluten-free panko variety)
- Generous pinch of black pepper
- Salt to taste
For the Sauce:
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1 1/2 TBSP tomato paste
- 3/4 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp soy sauce or Tamari
- First, preheat your oven to 350°F/180°C.
- Begin by dicing your onion and mincing your garlic. Scrub the carrot, then cut it into small cubes. Cube your mushrooms by first slicing them one way, then chopping them cross-wise to make rough half-inch rectangles. These don’t need to be perfect.
- Heat the olive oil in a pan on medium heat. When it’s hot add the onion and garlic and let cook for 5 minutes. Once the onions are translucent and sticking to the bottom slightly, add the carrots and cook for a further 3 minutes before adding the mushrooms with a pinch of salt. Mix well and cover the pan. Let the veggies cook for a further 5 minutes until the mushrooms have released their liquid and are cooked through. Take the pan off the heat and set it aside.
- Next, add the walnuts to a food processor and pulse several times until the nuts are broken down and crumbly but not powder. Add in the lentils along with the onion, carrot, mushroom mixture and pulse a few more times until the mixture comes together, but small pieces of carrot are still visible. The mixture should look kind of like ground beef at this point.
- Dump the mixture into a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients, except the bread crumbs and salt. Mix well. Then add the bread crumbs and gently mix in. Taste the mixture and adjust seasonings as needed.
- Grease a standard loaf pan then line the bottom and the longer walls with a large enough sheet of baking paper that the ends hang several inches over the sides. This will allow for easy extraction once the loaf is finished.
- Dump the lentil walnut mixture into the loaf pan and firmly spread it evenly with a spatula so that it is packed into the pan and has a smooth top. Then take the sides of the baking paper and fold them over the top of the loaf, smoothing them so they cover most of the surface.
- Bake the loaf in the oven for 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make your sauce. Add all the ingredients to a small bowl and mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
- Once the loaf has cooked for 40 minutes, remove it from the oven, peel back the baking paper from the top and let it drape over the outsides of the pan. Spread the sauce evenly over the top of the loaf and then place it back in the oven for a further 10-15 minutes, until the top looks darker and slightly firm.
- Take the loaf out of the oven and let it cool for 15 minutes before serving.
This Meatless Meatloaf is delicious served with lots of luscious mushroom gravy on top and goes great with roasted carrots and a creamy kale gratin.
If you make this recipe, I would love to see how it turns out for you! Don’t forget to tag @plantssogood on Instagram or Facebook so I can see all your delicious meatloaves!