This vegan chickpea meatloaf is easy to make and full of flavour for a healthy and delicious vegetarian main dish.
- 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
A complete list of ingredients with amounts and full instructions is located in the printable recipe card below. This section covers ingredient and substitution considerations.
- oats – rolled, large flake or quick oats all work fine
- nuts – walnuts, 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
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.
Step 2. Add the oats, nuts and flax to a food processor and blend into a grainy flour.
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.
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.
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.
Step 6. Make the glaze by mixing together the tomato sauce, vinegar and maple syrup in a bowl. Spread the glaze over the loaf.
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.
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.
- 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.
- Healthy Vegan Mashed Potatoes
- Sautéed Green Beans with Garlic and Onions
- Healthy Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole
- Vegan Mushroom Gravy
- Vegan Nut Roast
Did you try this recipe?
I’d love to hear about it! Click here to leave a review and be sure to tag me @runningonrealfood if you post it on social media.
- 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.
- 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)
- Take your time finely chopping all the veggies, you don’t want any huge chunks in the finished loaf.
- 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, thyme 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.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Mix the glaze ingredients together in a bowl then spread over the loaf.
- Once the oven has reached 350 F, bake the loaf uncovered for 60 minutes.
- 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.
- Serve with a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley and a drizzle of ketchup, if desired.
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.
- 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
I made this last week and I have to say that it is the best vegan meatloaf I’ve ever had! I used extra oats as I didn’t have nuts in the pantry. I’m planning to make it again and will stick with extra oats as we all loved it so much.
That’s awesome! I’m so glad you loved it.
This was so delicious! I’m trying to become a vegetarian and wanting my typical recipes. This was my first try at a meatless meatloaf and it was absolutely wonderful. Your recipe was so easy to follow too!! Thank You!
Thanks Tara! I’m so glad you loved it.
Can I use hemp instead of flax?
No, sorry. The flax acts as a binder here and hemp wouldn’t have the same effect.
What if I don’t have a blender, either? 🙁
If you don’t have a food processor or blender, mash the chickpeas well in a bowl with a fork or potato masher and just mix everything else in. Make sure the veggies are finely chopped and if you can use quick oats, that would be best. Thanks!
This turned out great! Very tasty and texture was like meatloaf. I made a few changes, for example, no mushrooms as my husband is not a fan. I just added more carrots. I also didn’t have a loaf pan, it worked fine in a casserole dish. It did take some time to make though, so I made mixture one day, refrigerated, baked next day. I will definitely check out more of your recipes. Thanks!
I made this and it turned out super dry, it fell apart. We left it for a day in the fridge after baking it. Not sure what I did wrong.
Sorry to hear that. Did you make any changes to the recipe?
Have you ever tried to cook it in an air fryer?
I haven’t but I don’t see why you couldn’t. I don’t think much would change. Let me know if you try it!
Wow! this looks amazing. I am getting into making more specialty dishes like this so I can’t wait to give it a try.
Looking forward to making this for my family! I was going to make as mini-muffins or even roll into balls; has anyone tried this? My kids, for whatever reason, do not like slices of meatloaf.
Would the cooking instructions changes for mini-muffins or balls? Thank you!
I haven’t tried it as mini-muffins or balls, so I’m not sure. The cooking would be a bit less, I’d expect. Let me know if you try it.
The recipe sounds fantastic. I was wondering if it would still work if I free formed the loaf. I don’t have a meatloaf pan. Thanks I’m advance!
I think you may be able to freeform it but I haven’t tried it myself. Let me know if you do!
Absolutely delicious! Didn’t use the mushrooms because of mold allergies. Will be making this every week! Thank-you for the recipe!
You’re so welcome! Glad you enjoyed it!
I haven’t even taken this out of the oven yet, but I could tell it was a winner when I found myself sneaking spoonfuls as I was pressing it into the loaf pan. I can’t wait to eat this! Your recipes are always bang-on Deryn. Thank you!
Thank you so much, Lynne! I hope you enjoy the final product!
I’m planning on prepping the loaf a day in advance and storing it in the fridge uncooked. Should I store it with the glaze on, or put the glaze on right before I bake it?
Looking forward to your response.
I’d put it on right before baking if you’re leaving it uncooked overnight. Otherwise, you can bake the loaf and store in the fridge then just pop it in the oven for 15-20 minutes to reheat. Hope that helps.
I’ve been looking for a decent meat free meatloaf recipe for ages. Most I have tried were too dry or crumbled after cooking, but your recipe was spot on! I made a gravy just in case it was dry but didn’t need it. Living in the UK I’ve never had meatloaf and always wanted to try it. This looked good and the taste was absolutely divine. Thank you so much for sharing, I will be making this again 🙂
I had the same experience with other recipes, which is why I created this one! I’m so glad you enjoyed it.
This is delicious! I am trying to make more Vegan or vegetable based meals in my day.
I gave some of this to my daughter and even though there are 2 ingredients that she doesn’t like I didn’t tell her about them and she thought it was delicious also!
Thank you so much I highly recommend this recipe!
That’s great! Thanks for trying it!
Great recipe! Made this for the first time, we had all the ingredients on hand, so I was sold right there. I chopped all the veggies in the food processor before sautéing – saved myself a lot of leg work and made this easy recipe even easier. Paired it with Deryn’s lemon rosemary potatoes and maple Dijon Brussels sprouts. Sliced the leftovers up and froze it for lunches in a pinch!
Hi! I just made this it and it was delicious! Somehow I forgot the onion (even though it was sitting right in front of me as I was chopping all the other veggies), but it was still great! I omitted the nuts and added an extra 1/2 cup of oats as mentioned in the notes. I will definitely be making this again and again! Thank you for another great recipe!!
You are so welcome! Thanks so much for trying it and leaving a review.
What a perfect recipe! I had a few doubts (to be honest) but I’m trying this whole WFPB way of cooking and this recipe is a keeper! Texture is right on and really the only flavor missing was that of meat. I was not home when it was finished and my brother and son ate it. My son didn’t know it wasn’t meat loaf (until he tasted it) but still didn’t say anything bad about it. Little by little. Next?? Carrot hot dogs!!
Haha, I love that! So happy everyone enjoyed it.
I have 2 questions. What can I use instead of flax? I am not vegan and I don’t prefer flax because of it’s tendency to go rancid.
Also wondering if this recipe might make a grill-worthy burger?
I suppose you could use an egg but I’ve never tried it. I’m not sure if they’d work as burgers. I’d try my chickpea burger recipe if you prefer a burger. Thanks!
This was fab, easy to put together and so tasty! This will definitely be added to my recipe collection, thank you!