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How to Make a Meatless Meatloaf

I'm a non-militant vegetarian who wants to teach people how to make easy vegetarian dishes at home that save money and your waistline.

Meatless meatloaf (with mashed potatoes).

Meatless meatloaf (with mashed potatoes).

So, I've been a vegetarian for over 4 years now. I can honestly say I almost never miss meat anymore. Almost. Never. The best way I've found to forget meat is to substitute really well for it. The following recipe makes an amazing no-meat meatloaf and can also be used for meat-shmeat-balls and shamburgers.


  • 1 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 1 1/4 cup bread crumbs (I use Panko, but any kind will do)
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces, boiled until tender and drained
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced (more or less to your own tastes)
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock (milk or soy milk can be substituted if you don't have veggie stock)
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons tangy barbecue sauce
  • 2 eggs (or egg replacer to make this a vegan dish)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the topping:

  • 2 tablespoons mustard mixed with 2 tablespoons brown sugar
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  1. Blend together the quick oats, bread crumbs and walnuts in a food processor. Make sure the walnuts are tender from the boiling and thoroughly blended. There's nothing worse than a crunchy bite of meatloaf. Okay, so there are worse things out there (famine, Justin Bieber), but you still don't want to have crunchy bits of walnut ruining your no-meat meatloaf.
  2. Pour the blended oats, crumbs and walnuts into a large mixing bowl. Add the remainder of the ingredients, minus the topping ingredients. Mix together. Use your hands. It's messy, but it's the best way to do it. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour, up to overnight.
  3. About 15 minutes before you're ready to remove your mixture from the refrigerator, preheat oven to 350°F.
  4. Remove refrigerated mixture from bowl and place into a greased bread pan. Cover with foil. Bake in 350°F oven for 50 minutes. Remove foil. Return to oven for 10 minutes. Add brown sugar and mustard topping (or, if you're not adventurous, just use ketchup) and return to oven for 10 minutes, or until topping is cooked but not dry.
  5. Remove loaf from oven. Allow to cool for as long as you can wait, because for reals, this is an amazing dish. Plate and serve!

How to Make Mini No-Meat Loaves

  1. Follow the preparation instructions above.
  2. Then, instead of putting the refrigerated mixture into 1 big bread pan, divide it evenly in a well-greased muffin tin.
  3. Spread the brown sugar and mustard topping over each "muffin."
  4. Cover the pan in foil. Bake at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes or until a fork inserted in the middle of one of the "muffins" comes out clean.
  5. Use a rubber spatula to pop these bad boys out. Top them with mashed potatoes for some dinner cupcakes.

(Yes—these went from being mini no-meat loaves to muffins to cupcakes. That's the magic of baking).


Obviously, you can play around with some of the ingredients.

  • Don't like mushrooms? Use some peas instead. Don't like peas? Use corn. The point is, don't not use this no-meat meatloaf recipe because you don't like one or more of the veggies in it.
  • Another pro tip: Use tangy barbecue instead of ketchup all together. Gives the loaf a little kick.
  • And, my favorite substitution: pesto instead of the brown sugar and mustard mixture.

Enjoy your food!

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