Serves 6 to 8-ish
This is for our elite members ONLY. Member that can handle lentils, TVP (textured vegetable protein) and seitan. And if it makes you think of Members Only jackets, that means you are over 40. So let’s talk the 80s. It was a time where the only thing we were allowed to eat was meatloaf. And it was specifically this kind of meatloaf: hearty and meaty, not dry but not tooooo juicy, a smoky, sweet glaze (ok sometimes it was just ketchup), and delicately seasoned, straight off the 80s spice rack – paprika, thyme, onion and garlic. We literally had no other spices. And although this very meal was the punchline in lots of Sunday comics, who doesn’t crave the hell out of this meatloaf? It’s amazing in a sandwich the next day. It’s the perfect accompaniment for peas and mashed potatoes. And it’s still as comforting as ever, which is just what we need right here and now in 2020.
~ The lentils should be overcooked and bordering on mushy! Canned lentils that are drained will work just perfectly.
~ This recipe is easy, but does require some attention so that it cooks correctly. There’s about an hour and 20 minutes of baking time total. So just read the directions carefully when it comes to flipping. Basically, you’re gonna bake for a bit, flip it once, then flip it again. Then, you’re gonna unwrap it and bake for a bit. THEN you’re gonna transfer it to parchment, glaze it and bake it again. It’s easy but your eyes might GLAZE over while reading the directions.
~ I really suggest storebought breadcrumbs here because moisture content is going to be key. You can try homemade but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
~ I used Bob’s textured vegetable protein and wheat gluten. If you have a wheat and/or soy allergy, this isn’t the recipe for you! I love making wheat and soy-free recipes but this just isn’t one of them. If, however, you are part of a cult that believes that soy is part of the deep state, please find yourself another chef to harass.
3/4 cup textured vegetable protein
2 bay leaves
1 cup overcooked brown or green lentils (see note)
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon smoked paprika (not spicy)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup vital wheat gluten
3/4 cup grated or very finely chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup storebought breadcrumbs
For the glaze:
1/3 cup tomato paste
3 tablespoons water
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon smooth dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
In a small pot, bring 3 cups of water to boil with 2 bay leaves. Turn off the heat, mix in the TVP and let it sit for about 10 minutes until soft and spongy. Pour into a fine mesh strainer and let cool. Remove bay leaves.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a mixing bowl mash the lentils into a puree then add the vegetable broth. You can also, if you prefer, simply puree lentils with vegetable broth in a blender then add to the bowl. Mix in the tomato paste, tamari, and olive oil and beat until the tomato paste is incorporated. Add the smoked paprika, rub the dried thyme between your fingers and add along with the onion powder, garlic powder, pepper and salt.
When the TVP is cool enough, press it against the strainer to release as much moisture as possible. Add it to the mixing bowl and mix well, mushing it up to make sure it soaks up the liquid.
Lightly mix in the chopped onion and breadcrumbs. Add vital wheat gluten and use your hands to knead for about 2 minutes, then form into a ball. You might want to wear kitchen gloves for that to keep your hands fresh and clean.
Spray an 18-inch sheet of tin foil with cooking oil. Place the ball of meatloaf in the center of the tinfoil, and form it into an 8×3 inch loaf that is rectangular and as flat as you can make it on all sides. Wrap the tin foil around the loaf and transfer to a baking sheet.
Ok, now comes an important part about flipping so pay attention. Bake for 30 minutes then flip upside down and bake for another 20 minutes. Then flip again to the original position. This time, unwrap the tin foil. Bake for 10 more minutes just to get it a little crusty.
While all this baking is happening, make the glaze. Simply vigorously mix all ingredients for the glaze together in a mug, using a fork to do the mixing. Set aside.
After the loaf bakes with the tin foil open, you are going to transfer it to parchment. So place the baking sheet somewhere safe where it won’t burn you or anything (on the stovetop works for me) and layout a kitchen towel as close as possible.
Use oven mitts or towels to lift the loaf in the tin foil onto the towel. Now line the baking sheet with parchment and spray it with cooking oil. Use a wide spatula to get the loaf back onto the parchment lined sheet. Pour the glaze all over and use the back of a spoon to make sure you get it good and coated.
Place back in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly before slicing serving!
Will this freeze well?
Made this today and it turned out amazing. It has the same texture and taste as the real thing without using meat. So happy to have found this recipe.
this meatloaf was amazing. I had it with a pilaf and roasted asparagus.
Made a similar recipe, but didn’t have a blender, so tried to mash it with the tiny meat tenderizer. Holy cats! What a mess, my vegan burgers crumpled while cooking and it wound up on a plate looking like a spent volcano. Husband & son said it tasted pretty good.could have made sloppy joes if I thought it through.
Thanks for inviting me into your members only meatloaf club. Made it last night with Vegan Dad’s creamed kale and it was gooooooood!
Isa, thank you for this recipe. My husband and I have been vegans for over 22 years, and this is the best meatloaf recipe we’ve had. For those who haven’t banned gluten and soy from their diets, this is perfect! The glaze was also wonderful!
This really is the best recipe! It’s un-mess-up-able! I forgot the breadcrumbs and realized it after it was in the oven for 15 minutes, so I took it out and added the breadcrumbs. THEN I accidentally turned the oven off when the loaf was out of the oven for a flippin’. I am usually not absent-minded in the kitchen, so I don’t know what was happening that day! I let it cook a little longer to make up for when the oven was off. Despite all this, it still turned out GREAT! I wouldn’t recommend doing what I did, but at least you know it can still work out even if you mess up multiple times.
This is a good recipe. I have made it a couple times now and prefer the topping to be plain ketchup. Other than that, I would not change a thing. Thank you for this. I’m delivering it to non cooking friends. Oh,and we have been vegan for decades so I have made a lot of neatoaf recipes, but this is the best. Whooped!
I’ve probably made this ten times since the recipe was published. It’s fun to make, easy to bake and always comes out tasting fabulous. It’s a must-bake for these long pandemic winter nights.
ALSO… if you swap out the spices for three or four cloves of minced garlic, plus some parsley and oregano, you can make fantastic meatballs… I’ve tried them twice with variations on the baking time/logistics, and they’re terrific. Add them to your sauce before serving so they’re good and moist!
Rob, I haven’t made meatballs before, but that is a great idea. any suggestions on amount of time and best way to bake?
I love the idea of this meatloaf, but it was SO dry. It definitely needs some kind of sauce and I have leftover creamed spinach, so that should do the trick!
1 cup cooked? So however much dry that is? It would be helpful, if it isn’t 1 cup dry, that you let us know how much to make. And I just cook it too long before I start the recipe?
Just make extra? There’s also googling “how much dry lentils is one cup cooked?”
Isa, your recipes are the fucking best. Your palette is perfection. I don’t alter anything. Sometimes I double the sauces because I love them so much and want more. I haven’t had meatloaf since I was a Members-Only kid. This recipe is everything. Thank you for sharing your hard work!
Wow. I can retire that other recipe. THANK YOU!!!!
So, I’m dipping my toes in the vegan pond and wondering is it possible to live in this pond when I’m already gluten intolerant?
Dude I feel you. I was vegetarian for many moons but had to cut out a whole shitload of things to manage a health condition, including gluten, corn, and lentils/beans. I’ve honestly had to go back to eating meat to keep myself running right (also had to axe dairy and egg that I was still eating while veg).
That being said, if it’s vegan+no gluten that you’re working with, there are growing resources out there- would recommend looking for sites/recipes that focus specifically on that combo as adapting vegan recipes to also be gf is even harder than doing so for conventional recipes imo. Good luck!
Yes of course! There’s so many vegan gluten free recipes and options out there. Hello it’s 2022 but for reals it’s been easy for me. Just do your research
Just out of curiosity, what kind of breadcrumbs should I use, regular breadcrumbs, or will panko work? I’d love to make this… Been searching for a veggie loaf recipe for a while.
I made this last night; it was delicious!
For anyone thinking they don’t need cooking spray, that they can just oil the foil and parchment: buy cooking spray! I lost the browned top and bottom, because I didn’t want to go buy any. In retrospect, I know the recipe was specific for a reason. Lesson learned. It was still great, and I plan to make it again soon!
I made this for the Christmas dinner, it tasted great. But what made the day even more magical was that the gift for me was 2 of your books! So happy…
I’ve tried many recipes that cooks in the comment section say are “the best” (vegan) this or that. I’m skeptical but will try this one.
My real reason for posting here though is to let reader’s know that absolutely nothing sticks to Reynold’s no stick foil in the yellow and blue box. I love that stuff. (I know this kinda sounds like an advertisement but it isn’t. Once you try it, you’ll never use anything else when you need a nonstick surface. )