This vegan chickpea meatloaf is easy to make and full of flavour for a healthy and delicious vegetarian main dish.

Two slices of vegan chickpea meatloaf on small plate with ketchup. Fork rests on plate.

Features

  • dietary needs: vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, refined sugar-free and can be nut-free
  • nutrition features: rich in fibre and plant-based protein
  • easy to make: you’ll need less than 15 minutes of hands-on time
  • perfect meatless main for holidays and special occasions
  • budget-friendly and great for family meals

Ingredient Notes

Overhead view of a vegetarian meatloaf cut into slices on a cutting board. Once slice lays flat to show inside of loaf.
  • oats – rolled, large flake or quick oats all work fine
  • nutswalnuts, pecans and almonds all work (nuts can be replaced with additional oats for a nut-free recipe – I actually prefer the nut-free version, to be honest!)
  • ground flax – be sure it’s fresh, either freshly ground or bought ground within a month or two and kept cold
  • chickpeas – you’ll need 3 cups of chickpeas, which is 2 14 oz cans or 1 28 oz can drained and well-rinsed, canned or cooked from scratch both work
  • tomato sauce or ketchup – both work fine here so use whatever you have on hand
  • veggies – I used onion, garlic, celery, carrot and added mushroom as an optional ingredient, the veggies are customizable to some extent, keep the onion and garlic but if you’re missing mushroom, carrot or celery, it’s no big deal
  • maple syrup – sweetens the glaze, can be subbed with agave

Complete list of ingredients and amounts is located in the recipe card below.


Step by Step Instructions

Step 1. Chop up all the veggies and add them to a large pot on the stovetop. Add 1 tbsp of water and start cooking over medium heat.

Cook the veggies over medium heat for 6-7 minutes until soft and fragrant. Stir in the salt, pepper, paprika, thyme, onion powder and cumin.

Quick Note: While the veggies are cooking, start preparing the chickpea mixture in step two.

Diced carrot, onion, garlic and celery cooking in a large stock pot. Wooden spoon rests in pot.
Diced carrot, onion, celery and garlic with dried herbs cooking in a large soup pot.

Step 2. Add the oats, nuts and flax to a food processor and blend into a grainy flour.

Oats and walnuts blended into flour in a food proccessor.

Step 3. Add the chickpeas, tomato sauce and soy sauce to the food processor and pulse a few times or blend briefly to combine.

Be careful not to approach hummus territory here. They shouldn’t be mushy, just broken down, so a few pulses should do the trick. Some of the mixture at the bottom will turn into a paste, that’s ok.

Quick Tip: If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a blender for the oats, nuts and flax and just mash the chickpeas in a bowl with a fork or potato masher.

Chickpeas blended into a chunky mixture in a food processor.

Step 4. Turn the heat off the veggies and dump the contents of the food processor into the pot. Stir well until the mixture is is uniformly combined and there are no clumps.

Uncooked chickpea loaf mixture in a large pot. Wooden spoon rests in pot.

Step 5. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper so it sticks out over the edges of the pan. This will allow you to lift the loaf out once done.

Firmly press the chickpea mixture into the prepared pan using your hands or the back of a wooden spoon. Really work it in there!

Quick Note: It might seem like mixture isn’t going to fit but just keep packing it down and it will. You will have just enough room to add the glaze on top.

Raw chickpea loaf in a loaf pan lined with parchment paper.

Step 6. Make the glaze by mixing together the tomato sauce, vinegar and maple syrup in a bowl. Spread the glaze over the loaf.

Loaf topped with a tomato glaze in a parchment paper lined loaf pan.

Step 7. Bake the loaf for 60 minutes then let cool for least 30 minutes before slicing. This will ensure the loaf holds together perfectly when you slice it.

Quick Tip: I’d recommend letting it sit in the pan for about 15 minutes, then lifting out of the pan and letting cool another 15 minutes before slicing. It will continue to firm up as it cools.

Overhead view of a vegetarian meatloaf cut into slices on a cutting board.

Notes and Tips

  • Gluten-Free Option: Be sure to use coconut aminos or gluten-free tamari instead of soy sauce and use gluten-free certified oats, if needed.
  • Nut-Free Option: Replace the nuts with an extra 1/2 cup of oats. I actually preferred the nut-free version. If you like your meatloaf on the firmer side (not dry but not at all mushy), I would recommend leaving the nuts out and using 1.5 cups of oats. The fat from the nuts adds moisture. It doesn’t come out mushy with the nuts but it definitely has a different texture. Both ways are good! The loaf in the pictures is made with walnuts..
  • No Food Processor: If you don’t have a food processor, you can mix the oats and flax in a blender and mash the chickpeas in a bowl with a fork or potato masher.
  • Glaze: For an alternative glaze, BBQ sauce works!
  • Loaf Pan Size: Use at least a standard size loaf pan (8.5 x 4 .5 x 2.5 inches) as the loaf is quite substantial and will fill the pan right to the brim. You should have enough room to spread the thin layer of glaze on top. If your pan is a bit larger, say up to 9 inches, that’s totally fine.
Two slices of vegetarian chickpea meatloaf on a plate with ketchup. Fork rests on plate.

Storing

  • Raw: Loaf can be prepared up to 1 day in advance and stored in the fridge before baking.
  • Fridge: Cooked loaf stores well in the fridge for up to 6 days.
  • Freezer: Cooked loaf can be frozen whole or in slices in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge.
  • Reheating: Reheat in the oven or microwave until heated to your preference.

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Two slices of vegetarian chickpea meatloaf on a plate with ketchup. Fork rests on plate.

Chickpea Loaf

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 60 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 10 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

This hearty vegetarian meatloaf is made with chickpeas, oats and vegetables for a satisfying, savoury meal that’s perfect for the holidays and family meals.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 cups rolled oats (100 g)
  • 1/2 cup almonds, walnuts or pecans (75 g, see notes for nut-free option)
  • 2 tbsp ground flax (14 g)
  • 2 x 14 oz or 1 x 28 oz can chickpeas, drained and well-rinsed (3 cups, 570 g)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce or gluten-free tamari (30 mL)
  • 2 tbsp tomato sauce or ketchup (30 g)
  • 1 small to medium-sized white onion, diced (approx. 2 cups, 300 g)
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped (approx. 1/2 cup, 75 g)
  • 2 small or 1 large carrot, diced (approx. 1 cup, 150 g)
  • 1 cup finely chopped white or cremini mushroom, optional (90 g, about 6 small mushrooms)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika or smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground thyme
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, optional

For the Glaze

  • 1/3 cup plain tomato sauce or ketchup (75 g)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup (40 g, if using ketchup reduce to 1 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp balsamic or apple cider vinegar (15 mL)

Instructions

  1. Take your time finely chopping all the veggies, you don’t want any huge chunks in the finished loaf.
  2. Add the onions, carrot, garlic, celery and mushroom to a large pot on the stovetop with 1 tbsp of water. Cook over medium heat for 6-7 minutes then stir in the salt, pepper, paprika, cumin and onion powder (and cayenne if using) and cook for a couple more minutes. While the veggies are cooking, continue with the rest of the recipe.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  4. Add the oats, nuts and flax to a food processor and blend into a grainy flour. Add the chickpeas, soy sauce and tomato sauce and pulse or blend briefly to combine. You may need to pulse a few times, then open the food processor and mix it up, then pulse a couple more times. Be careful not to totally pulverize the chickpeas. They should be broken down but not mushy. A few pulses or seconds of blending should do the trick. Some of the mixture will turn into paste at the bottom of the food processor, that’s ok. 
  5. When the veggies are done, turn off the heat and dump the contents from the food processor into the pot. Stir well to thoroughly combine into a uniform mixture.
  6. Line a loaf pan (see notes on size) with parchment paper so it sticks out over the long edges of the pan. This will allow you to lift the loaf out once done. Firmly press the chickpea mixture into the pan using your hands or the back of a wooden spoon. It will seem like the mixture might not fit in the pan but just keep packing it down and it will fit.
  7. Mix the glaze ingredients together in a bowl then spread over the loaf.
  8. Once the oven has reached 350 F, bake the loaf uncovered for 60 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and let sit in the pan for 15 minutes. Run a knife along any edges that weren’t lined with parchment then lift the loaf out of the pan and place on a cooling rack for another 15 minutes before slicing into 10 portions. You can shorten the 30 minutes of cooling if needed but the longer it sits, the firmer it gets. If you slice it too soon, it may be a little crumbly.
  10. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley and a drizzle of ketchup, if desired.

Notes

Loaf Pan Size: Use at least a standard size loaf pan of 8.5 x 4 .5 x 2.5 inches as the loaf is quite substantial and will fill the pan right to the brim. You should have enough room to spread the thin layer of glaze on top. If your pan is a bit larger, say up to 9 inches, that’s totally fine.

Storing: Loaf can be prepared up to 1 day in advance and stored uncooked in the fridge before baking. Once cooked, let cool then store in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 5 days or freezer for up to 3 months. Can be stored whole or in slices. If frozen, thaw overnight in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave or oven until heated to your preference.

Gluten-Free Option: Be sure to use tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce and gluten-free certified oats, if needed.

Nut-Free Option: Replace the nuts with an extra 1/2 cup of oats. I actually preferred the nut-free version. If you like your meatloaf on the firmer side (not dry but not at all mushy), I would recommend leaving the nuts out and using 1.5 cups of oats instead. The fat from the nuts adds moisture to the loaf, it doesn’t come out mushy with the nuts but it definitely has a different texture. Both ways are good! The loaf in the pictures is made with walnuts.

Mushrooms: Mushrooms are completely optional. If you like them, they add extra depth of flavour to the loaf. If you don’t like them or don’t have any on hand, they’re ok to leave out.

Serving: Serve with mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, stuffing and roasted brussels.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 202
  • Sugar: 6 g
  • Sodium: 336 mg
  • Fat: 6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 28 g
  • Fiber: 7 g
  • Protein: 8 g

Keywords: chickpea meatloaf, chickpea loaf