One of my favorite vegan entrees to make is meatloaf. It’s a great source of vegan protein, and is a relatively easy crowd pleaser for vegans and non-vegans alike. I just brought this meatloaf to a potluck at church a few weeks ago, and it was devoured.
How to Make Vegan Meatloaf:
Consistency is everything when it comes to meatloaf. In this case we’re using several key ingredients that, when combined, create a delightful mix of moist, rich, and just enough texture avoid boredom.
1. To start, you’ll want to preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, you’ll chop your onion into big chunks and place it in a food processor. (See photo 1 below.)
2. Grind onion in a food processor until it is minced into teensy tiny pieces. If you don’t have a food processor, you can grate your onion with a cheese grater for a similar effect. (See photo 2.)
3. Dice baby bella or cremini mushrooms into 1/4 inch pieces and place with minced onion and oil in a pan. (See photo 3.)
4. Saute for about 5-6 minutes, or until onion bits are translucent, and mushrooms have darkened and softened. (See photo 4.)
5. Drain 1 block of extra firm tofu, and place in a large mixing bowl. (See photo 5 below.)
6. Mash your tofu with a fork or potato masher, until it’s nice and crumbly. (See photo 6.)
7. To make your breadcrumbs and pecan meal, I like to combine torn up pieces of bread and pecans (2 slices of bread + 1 cup of pecans at a time), and blend them together at the same time. This way, the bread helps to keep the pecans from forming pecan butter, which can be a bit of a mess to clean out of your blender. (See photo 7.)
8. Once ground into a crumbly meal, add breadcrumb/pecan meal mixture to your mashed tofu. And, if you haven’t already added your sautéed onion and mushrooms, go ahead and place that into your tofu mixture as well. (See photo 8.)
9. Add remaining meatloaf ingredients to mixing bowl: parsley, soy sauce, maple syrup, tomato paste, vital wheat gluten, flax meal, sage, paprika, salt, and garlic powder. *Note: If you’re not a fan of soy sauce, you can use Bragg’s liquid aminos instead–just decrease the amount to 2 tablespoons, and omit the salt in this recipe. Bragg’s is a little saltier than soy sauce, so taste your mixture before adding any extra salt. (See photo 9 below.)
10. Stir, Baby, stir! Add a few tablespoons of water, if mixture seems a little on the crumbly side. (See photo 10.)
11. After spraying a 8.5 inch x 5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray, press your meatloaf mixture into the pan. If you don’t have a loaf pan, you can form your meatloaf into a loaf with your hands and bake on a lined cookie sheet or glass baking dish. (See photo 11.)
12. Bake for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. (See photo 12.)
13. While your meatloaf bakes, go ahead and make your maple tomato glaze. Place 1/3 cup tomato paste, 1/3 cup tomato sauce (the unseasoned kind that comes in a can), maple syrup, lemon juice, and salt in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Heat mixture while stirring with wire whisk until glaze begins to bubble and boil. Remove from heat and set aside. (See photo 13 below.)
14. Once meatloaf has baked for 45 minutes, remove it from the oven, and paint it with the tomato glaze. Return meatloaf to oven to bake an additional 10-15 minutes. (See photo 14.)
Top Tips for Making Vegan Meatloaf
- Grind your pecans into pecan meal with your torn bread. This really helps keep the pecans from burning out your blender or food processor, and keeps the pecans from turning into pecan butter (which would be a huge mess to clean out of of your blender).
- Taste-test your meatloaf for saltiness before adding salt to your pre-baked meatloaf mixture. Soy sauces can vary somewhat in saltiness, and Bragg’s liquid aminos is significantly more salty than soy sauce.
- Add just enough water to make meatloaf mixture soft, so that it holds together. Nobody wants a soggy meatloaf.
- Allow meatloaf to cool for at least 10-15 minutes before attempted to cut or serve.
What Goes with Vegan Meatloaf?
Looking to make a menu around this vegan meatloaf? Here’s some ideas for sides and desserts that would go well with your meatloaf.
- Vegan mashed potatoes
- Cranberry pecan kale salad
- Vegan potato salad
- Creamy vegan mac and cheese
- Vegan pumpkin bundt cake
- Vegan lemon cake
The Best Vegan Meatloaf
For the Meatloaf:
- 1 medium yellow onion (finely diced in food processor or grated)(about 3/4 cup when diced/grated)
- 4 ounces baby bella or cremini mushrooms (diced)
- 1 tablespoon oil (or 1/4 cup water, to make recipe oil-free)
- 14 ounces extra firm tofu (drained)
- 4 slices whole grain bread
- 2 cups raw pecans
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley fresh or dried
- 2 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce (or 2 tablespoons Bragg's liquid aminos)
- 1 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten (optional)
- 1 tablespoon flax meal
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (eliminate if using Bragg's above)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground sage
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2-4 tablespoons warm water (or enough to make meatloaf type consistency)
For the Maple Tomato Glaze:
- 1/3 cup tomato paste
- 1/3 cup tomato sauce (unseasoned sauce from a can)
- 3 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
For the Meatloaf:
- Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.
- Finely dice onion in food processor or grate.
- Dice mushrooms in 1/4 inch pieces
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil on medium heat, and saute onion and mushrooms for about 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent and mushroom is soft and lightly browned. Set aside.
- Drain water off of tofu, and place block of tofu in large mixing bowl. Mash tofu with a fork or masher until it is crumbly.
- Add onion and mushroom mixture to tofu mixture.
- Tear up 4 slices of bread into bite sized pieces. In a blender or food processor, place 1/2 of the bread with 1 cup of pecans, and grind until you have breadcrumbs and pecan meal. By mixing the bread with the pecans, you prevent the pecan oils from causing the mixture to stick to the blender blades, saving you time. Repeat process with the other half of the bread and the last 1 cup of pecans. Add all breadcrumbs and pecan meal to large mixing bowl with tofu.
- Add parsley, soy sauce, maple syrup, tomato paste, vital wheat gluten, flax meal, garlic powder, salt, sage, paprika, and warm water to your tofu mixture above. Mix thoroughly.
- Spray an 8.5 inch x 5 inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. (I use a coconut oil spray.)
- Press meatloaf mixture sprayed loaf pan, and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit x 45 minutes.
- Remove meatloaf, spread maple tomato glaze (instructions below) on top, and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Allow meatloaf to cool for 10-15 minutes before attempted to slice or remove from pan.
For the glaze:
- In a medium saucepan, combine tomato paste, tomato sauce, maple syrup, lemon juice, and salt.
- Mix thoroughly with a wire whisk, and heat until mixture starts to bubble. Set aside until after meatloaf has baked for 45 minutes. Then spread on meatloaf for final 10-15 minutes of baking.
Flavor is great but mine didn’t hold together well. I followed the recipe very carefully.
What can I do differently?
Hi Cessna! Sorry the meatloaf didn’t hold together well for you. Perhaps the tofu needs to be drained a little more before adding it to your pre-cooked meatloaf mix? Also, this meatloaf holds together best when it allowed to cool for a few minutes before attempting to cut. If you’re still having issues with it holding together, you might consider adding a 1-2 extra tablespooons of vital wheat gluten. Thank you for your feedback, and thanks for trying this recipe!