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two bean meatless meatloaf (vegan, gluten-free)

Recipe At-A-Glance

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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

Adapted from my Mama

The two different types of beans help the texture approximate regular meatloaf. The pinto beans become smooth and creamy, while the chickpeas tend to keep some of their shape. Try experimenting with other types of beans to find your perfect combo.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

For the Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 1/4 cup water
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

Directions:

  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.

What are your favorite toppings for a meatloaf sandwich?

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

Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.

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94 Responses
  1. Darlene

    Can you roll these into balls to make meatless meatballs., and bake on a cookie sheet. We have vegetarians at work and this would make a nice appetizer if it’s firm enough for that.

  2. Nadine Indovina

    I made this for the first time tonight. My 12 year old daughter has been vegan for 4 months now and I’m always on the hunt for easy and nutritious meals. It came out pretty good. Did it 100% according to recipe. I think next time I might leave it in a bit longer. Maybe 45 min. It was not mushy but not quite firm. Reminded me a little of refried beans. The color was lighter than the picture but it was really good and very filling. Will make it again:) maybe a little more onion and a little more spices this time. I think I was too careful with the seasonings 🙂

  3. Amanda

    Cassie, I was SUPER excited to try this recipe. We steer clear of canned beans in our house, and always use dried beans instead. I’ve never had an issue until now. Much like the other commenter who used rehydrated and cooked beans, our loaf came out a mushy mess. It literally just sludged around the spatula when I tried to cut off a piece towards the center. It tastes DELICIOUS, but the texture is just… odd. Please help!

    1. Cassie

      My only suggestion would be to cook it a bit longer to cook some of the moisture out. Maybe there is something about rehydrated beans that hold onto the water in them better than canned beans?

  4. Jan Harris

    I made it tonight, I reduced the chili powder by half, and had to bake an hour, but it is fairly “firmish”. I think it will make a fine sandwich. I like them with mayo and yellow mustard. I will make this again

  5. Lyn

    So I made this the other night, save I had to sub brown sugar for molasses (molasses is apparently expensive where I am for some reason). It had a good flavor, but I think I need to bake it a bit longer (I think my oven runs a bit cooler), but still tasty.

    Also my dad dubbed it “eatloaf” since it isn’t meatloaf and calling it loaf is just strange. So in my house it is now eatloaf.

  6. Norah

    I made this last week and it was great! I had some leftovers so I stuck in the freezer, and later crumbled them over a pizza crust, put them in the oven for 10 minutes, and had it with a creamy vegan cheese sauce.. AMAZEBALLZ.. It tasted SO much like actual beef crumbles. Thank you for the recipe 🙂

  7. Hi Cassie, I’m attempting to make this as part of our christmas dinner. I’m the only vegan at the table so hoping to impress! This may be a stupid question but just checking the sunflower kernels are the raw yellow corn and not dried sunflower seeds?
    Thanks!

      1. Candice

        feel super silly my sisters mum in law pointed out sunflowers and corn – two completely different things…fingers crossed i get this right.

  8. Kelly

    this tasted better than I thought it would.i thought it would be a bit bland but it’s not! the pinto beans are a must for their flavor. this tasted slightly like refried beans which I love. i might even add some cut up jalapeno chilis instead of the chili powder next time. I don’t have vegetarian worc sauce so I just used ketchup instead. the soft texture takes a bit of getting used to but mine didn’t seem to come out as soft as some others did. I will definitely be making this again. very healthy.

  9. Susan

    I’m making this tonight for the second time. I use HP sauce instead of ketchup because I like it better. Over-all- an amazing replacement for meatloaf. My husband says it satisfies his meatloaf craving completely!

  10. Sarah

    Mine tasted okay, but it was the consistency of a thickish refried bean. It wasn’t solid enough to slice, like what I see in your picture. Any advice? I’m new to meatless substitutes so I’m not sure if this is normal, or if I should have done something differently. I did drain my beans in a colander, as mentioned in the comments.

  11. Natalie

    Hi Cassie, your recipe is awesome. I did it tonight and substituted black beans for pinto beans. The taste was great, however, it was still kinda soggy. Even cooking it for 60 minutes didn’t really help. Now, from other replies I figure that my beans weren’t dry enough!?
    Could you please explain in detail how long you drain yours? Or do you dry them with towels, etc.?
    Your advice would be highly appreciated because I HAVE TO TRY IT AGAIN! Thanks, Natalie

    1. Cassie

      I drain them in a colander and then shake off as much water as possible. The end result is definitely a bit mushy (not 100% the texture of regular meatloaf), but it definitely shouldn’t be soggy. Maybe trying to dry them off with towels might help. Good luck! I’m so glad you liked it. 🙂

Meet Cassie
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Hello. My name is Cassie, and I’m a healthy home cooking expert.

I'm a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, and I've been developing healthy recipes professionally for over 15 years. Food is my love language, and my kitchen tips and nourishing recipes are my love letter to you!

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