Two-Bean Meatless Meatloaf

My Mama’s meatloaf is the stuff of legends.

Relegated to elementary lunchroom horror stories and sitcom fodder, meatloaf tends to get a bad wrap, but I promise you, my Mama’s meatloaf will change the opinion of even the staunchest of meatloaf opponents.

That all being said, this isn’t my Mama’s meatloaf.

Because, well, the elimination diet doesn’t allow for red meat. Let alone a full pound of ground cow. So this technically shouldn’t be called “meatloaf” at all. It really should just be called “loaf”. But that sounds disgusting. Who wants to just eat “loaf”?

So why did I wax on poetically about my Mama’s meatloaf if I’m not going to make it for you? Because this vegan version of the American classic is adapted from the simplistic genius of Mama’s recipe. I used two different types of beans, oats, and sunflower kernels to approximate the texture of the meatloaf and then filled it with all kinds of delicious flavors. The best part about Mama’s meatloaf is the brown sugar molasses and ketchup glaze that goes over top of the meatloaf and gets all gooey and caramelized.

Is this a replacement for a nice, piping hot slice of meatloaf from my Mama’s kitchen? No. But it’s a pretty good vegan and gluten-free approximation. And completely delicious piled high next to a place of mashed potatoes and steamed green beans. I was really quite happy with the results of this one. The loaf held its form well, it was a little bit gooey and a little bit crumbly (just like “real” meatloaf). The real test of meatloaf? How’s it hold up to the next-day sandwich test?

Well, I’d say it passed with flying colors.

Someday I’ll share my Mama’s recipe with you, but for now, you’ll have to try your hand at the vegan version.

Two Bean Meatless Meatloaf

Two Bean Meatless Meatloaf

Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

This vegan version of the American classic is made with two different types of beans to create the perfect meatloaf texture.

Ingredients

For the Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

For the meatloaf:

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 large green pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup sunflower kernels
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together all glaze ingredients. Set aside.
  3. In a food processor, pulse the oats until chopped well, but not into a powder.
  4. Add onion, green pepper, garlic and sunflower kernels and pulse again until well combined.
  5. Add in chickpeas, pinto beans, chili powder, Worcestershire, salt and pepper. Pulse until beans are almost nearly pureed. Leave a little bit of texture.
  6. Spoon bean mixture into a greased loaf pan and even out.
  7. Pour glaze over bean mixture.
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until glaze is caramelized and loaf is solid.
    Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 303Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1370mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 8gSugar: 14gProtein: 12g

    At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

    What are your favorite toppings for a meatloaf sandwich?

    I like to go simple and just put on a whole crapton of mustard. Yum!

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    102 Comments

    1. I followed this recipe to the point, except for the added 15 min I had to leave it in the oven and it never got to be a solid loaf. It was very soft and creamy actually, as it was in the food processor before putting it in the pan. which means I could never take it out of the bread pan once I had to take it out of the oven. We had to scoop it out and put it on our plates. A real bummer.

      1. Hi Jan! We’re sorry that this didn’t turn out for you. Thanks so much for coming back to tell us about it. Our first thought is either the oats were over-processed in the beginning, or the beans were over-pureed. Both could lead to a loaf that doesn’t firm up nicely. Hopefully, it still tasted great even though it needed to be scooped! If you give it another go, please let us know how it goes!

        1. Thank you for getting back to me. I actually tried the recipe again, as the flavors were awesome and it turned out just lovely. Now I can’t get enough of the thing.
          Last time I did switch out the chickpeas and used brown lentils instead. It was delicious and firm.

          1. So glad you loved it, Jan! Thanks again for taking the time to come back and tell us what worked for you =)

    2. Thanks for the nutrition calculator link!

      This is delicious and not mushy like some comments mention. To avoid a shopping trip, I substituted orange pepper (no green), walnuts (no sunflower kernels), left-over home-cooked lentils (no pintos), subbed seasoned salt for salt/pepper/garlic (no garlic). Since I didn’t use the pintos, I left out the chili powder and used a bit of thyme and basil. Your comment about putting mustard on top gave me the idea to add a bit of powdered mustard to the mix, YUM.

      I baked it for about 30 minutes, in 3 disposable mini-loaf pans, sprayed with olive oil. I plan to freeze two and serve with vegan gravy. Thanks for this wonderful recipe!

    3. I was pleased to finally find a meatless loaf recipe without flax seed AND has less than a dozen ingredients in the loaf part of the recipe! Do you have nutritional information for this recipe?

    4. Didn’t work! The loaf just stayed mush, no matter how long it stayed in the oven, until the glaze burnt and we were left with something that looked and smelled like a cow pat. So sad.

    5. You’re still getting comments 9 years later! I made this last night and it turned out fabulous! I took it to a potluck and everyone loved it, even the meat eaters.Thanks for a great recipe.

    6. This looks very good. I’m going to try it tonight. Maybe cooking the onion, bell pepper and garlic ahead of time, saute’ them? I will try that. Thank you,
      Teri

    7. It would be great if you would include in your recipes GRAMS as well as cups. It is difficult to translate from cups to grams.
      There are over 500 million people in Europe who would appreciate this…
      thanks

    8. I baked this recipe for 2.5 hours and it still would not set up properly. The outside is firm, but the inside is about the same consistency as slighty dry refried beans. However, the flavor is amazing! So I’m not giving up on this recipe, but I plan on doing a couple things differently next time. 1. after rinsing the beans, I’m going to dry them completely to make sure all excess water is gone. 2. Add some panko crumbs or tapioca flour to the mixture so they hopefully soak up the excess moisture that the onions create. Even with the consistency issue, I’m still eating it and I’ll “spread” it in a sandwich to take to work tomorrow! That’s the good thing about vegan cooking. Even if it doesn’t cook all the way, it’s still safe to eat!