This flavor-packed vegan meatloaf is made up of a delicious base of black beans for a hearty, wholesome Holiday main, roast alternative, or side dish. Plus, this recipe is gluten-free, meat-free, egg-free, and packed with healthy plant-based protein!
Comforting, Protein-Rich Vegan Meatloaf
Whether you’re looking for a meat-free Thanksgiving or Christmas main, or just wanting something hearty and comforting for a mid-week meal, this vegan meatloaf served with a rich mushroom gravy is an option I return to time and time again. Serve it alongside your favorite sides like mashed potatoes or Easy Vegan Green Bean Casserole and this is a classic crowd pleaser!
As soon as the winter months appear, I love to tuck into comfort food classics like Shepherd’s Pie, Vegan Pot Pie, and this vegan Thanksgiving loaf. In fact, having honed this recipe over the years, with plenty of tweaks and experimentation, this is one of my all-time favorites.
Not only does this vegan meatloaf have a wonderful flavor and texture, but – with the inclusion of legumes, veggies, nuts, and oats- this recipe is packed with protein, fiber, and healthy fats – perfect for a filling and nutritious main. More so, this meatless, eggless meatloaf is also gluten-free and can be made nut-free! So, it’s great for those with various allergies.
It is also fairly versatile and can be served in various ways. I love to eat the loaf with either vegan gravy, or a more traditional maple tomato glaze (method in recipe notes). You can then plate it up warm alongside all the usual holiday sides or eat cold within sandwiches/wraps.
How To Make The Black Bean Meatloaf
For the full ingredients list, measurements, complete recipe method, and nutritional information, read the recipe card below.
Step 1: Chop the potatoes and boil them in salted water until tender. Then remove them from the water and mash them with a potato masher.
Once ready, preheat the oven to 375F/190C.
Step Two: Meanwhile, as the potatoes cook, lightly fry the chopped onion in an oiled pan for a minute before adding the garlic, celery, all spices, soy sauce, and balsamic vinegar and frying for a further 3-5 minutes, adding the beans and heating for a minute, then removing from the heat.
Step Three: Combine the veggie mixture with the mashed potato, tomato paste, oats, and chopped walnuts and mash.
Note- At this point, it’s good to taste the prepared meatless meatloaf mixture and adjust the seasonings if necessary.
Step Four: Transfer the black bean meatloaf mixture to an 8 or 9-inch loaf pan and press firmly to smooth out.
Note- Make sure to line the loaf pan with parchment paper, including an overhang. This will make it easier to remove the loaf while it’s still warm and not super firm.
Step Five: Bake the vegan loaf for 40-50 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes before removing it from the pan to avoid it breaking apart at all.
Top Tip: This vegan loaf needs time to firm up. When you first remove it from the pan, it will still be soft to the touch. Simply pop this in the fridge for at least three hours (or even overnight) before serving for the firmest results. Read the recipe notes for more ways to ensure a firmer loaf.
For The Mushroom Gravy
Step 1: Sauté the onion in an oiled pan for a few minutes before adding the garlic, mushrooms, spices, vinegar, and soy sauce. Fry for a further 3-4 minutes.
Step Two: Add the veggie broth and simmer for 7-10 minutes for adding the cornstarch slurry (the starch mixed with a little plant-based milk into a smooth, lump-free mixture). And simmer for a further minute or so while it thickens.
Note – The longer you simmer the sauce, the thicker and more reduced it will become.
Step Three: (Optional) For a smooth gravy mixture, blend the sauce and enjoy poured over your vegan loaf and sides!
How to Store
Store the leftover vegan meatloaf and mushroom gravy (separately) in the fridge for up to 4 days.
You can also freeze the loaf for up to three months. I like to allow it to cool completely, slice it, and then freeze the slices with parchment paper between, so they don’t stick as they freeze.
Re-heat the slices in the oven, microwave, or pan fry with a little oil, until warmed through.
How to Serve
You can serve this vegan/ vegetarian meatloaf with mushroom sauce, maple tomato glaze, vegan gravy, or sauce of your choosing.
Serve warm with your favorite holiday/comfort food sides like:
- Scalloped Potatoes
- Green Bean Casserole
- Sweet Potato Casserole
- Creamed Peas & Carrots
- German Potato Dumplings
- Vegan Cornbread
Useful Recipe Notes & Variations
- Oats: You can substitute the oats with buckwheat flour, panko breadcrumbs, or regular breadcrumbs (gluten-free if needed).
- Beans: You can use lentils instead of the beans (or a combination of the two), though I find that the beans firm up better and hold the loaf together better. I often use a combination of black beans and kidney beans. Chickpeas would also work fine.
- Walnuts: Or you can use the seeds/nuts of your choice (Pumpkin seed, flaxseed, cashew, almond, hazelnut).
- Potato: You can try with sweet potato or even swap the mashed potato for cooked rice.
- Optional Add-ins: You could add a splash of liquid smoke for additional depth of flavor.
Other Helpful Tips
- You can shape the meatloaf mixture into patties or meatballs and bake individually instead of as a loaf.
- You can use a food processor to combine the ingredients but make sure just to pulse a few times, so it’s still chunky. Watch your food processor while processing, so you don’t accidentally overland the mixture, or it will be mushy.
- For a firmer loaf: You can add 1 tbsp psyllium husk or use more oats. Alternatively, you can dry the beans out a little by placing them in the oven and baking for a few minutes before mixing up the meatloaf or reduce the amount of potato in the recipe.
- To serve with the maple tomato glaze: Combine 1/4 cup (56 g) tomato paste, 1 1/2 tbsp water to thin out, 1 tbsp each of soy sauce and balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tbsp each of hot sauce and maple syrup. Onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste. You can add it after baking or for the last 15 minutes of the baking time; then, it will be firmer.
If you’re looking for other people-pleasers like this vegan meatloaf, you may enjoy one of the below recipes.
And, for dessert
If you try this yummy vegan meatloaf recipe, I’d love a comment and recipe ★★★★★ rating below. Also, don’t forget to tag me in re-creations on Instagram or Facebook with @elavegan/ #elavegan – I love seeing your recreations.
- 2 large (400 g) potatoes peeled, or sweet potato
- 1 tbsp oil
- 2/3 cup (100 g) onion chopped
- 2 medium-sized (100 g) celery stalks chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 tbsp onion powder
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/3 tsp red pepper flakes
- Black pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp soy sauce tamari, or coconut aminos
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 (15 oz) cans black beans or kidney beans, about 500 g when drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup (60 g) walnuts chopped or sunflower seeds for a nut-free version
- 1 cup (90 g) oats preferably instant oats (see notes)
- 2 tbsp (60 g) tomato paste
- Chop the potatoes, transfer them to a pot with salted water and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes or until tender, then drain. Transfer back to the pot and mash with a potato masher (don't use a food processor or blender).
- Time to preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp oil in a skillet or pan over medium heat and add chopped onion. Fry for about 3 minutes, then add garlic, celery, all spices, soy sauce, and balsamic vinegar and fry for a further 3-5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add beans and turn off the heat after one minute.
- Transfer the bean/veggie mixture to the pot with the mashed potatoes and add tomato paste, oats, and chopped walnuts. Then, Use the potato masher or your hands to mix everything together.
- Line an 8-inch or 9-inch loaf pan with parchment paper (including an overhang) and put the meatloaf mixture into the pan. Press it down firmly.
- Bake the vegan loaf for 40-50 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes before removing it from the pan to avoid it breaking apart at all.This meatless meatloaf needs time to firm up. When you first remove it from the pan, it will still be soft to the touch. Simply pop this in the fridge for at least three hours (or even overnight) before serving for the firmest results. Read the recipe notes for more ways to ensure a firmer loaf.
- Serve with the mushroom sauce, maple tomato glaze, or gravy. I have included the recipe for the mushroom sauce and glaze below in the recipe notes.
- Oats (regular or gluten-free): You can substitute the oats with buckwheat flour, panko breadcrumbs, or regular breadcrumbs (gluten-free if needed).
- I suggest tasting the prepared meatloaf mixture and adjust the seasonings, if necessary, before baking.
- Make sure to line the loaf pan with parchment paper, including an overhang. This will make it easier to remove the loaf while it’s still warm and not super firm.
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (360 ml)
- 1/4 cup plant-based milk (60 ml)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce or coconut aminos
- Spice mix: 1 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1/3 tsp smoked paprika, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, sea salt, and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp cornstarch (to thicken)
- Fresh parsley to garnish
- Heat oil in a skillet, add onion and fry over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add garlic, mushrooms, spices, balsamic vinegar, and soy sauce and fry for a further 3-4 minutes.
- Add broth and let simmer over medium heat for about 7-10 minutes (the longer you simmer the sauce, the more flavorful and thicker it will be).
- In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with plant-based milk and add it to the skillet. The sauce will get thicker. Keep simmering for a further 1-2 minutes.
- If you want a smooth gravy, mix the sauce in a blender. Enjoy! Store leftovers in a container in the fridge (can be kept in the fridge for about 3-4 days).
To serve with the maple tomato glaze: Combine 1/4 cup (56 g) tomato paste, 1 1/2 tbsp water to thin out, 1 tbsp each of soy sauce and balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tbsp each of hot sauce and maple syrup. Onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste. You can add it after baking or for the last 15 minutes of the baking time; then, it will be firmer.
Nutrition information is an estimate and has been calculated automatically
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