Classic Vegan Meatloaf

by Jill Dalton

This classic vegan meatloaf has been in the works here in our test kitchen for months. Using whole food ingredients to get that “meaty” texture has proven to be an interesting challenge. This meatloaf sets up with just the right firmness, texture, and smoky-tomato flavors reminiscent of the classic meatloaf you probably grew up with, but has all the amazing benefits of being fully whole food plant-based, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, and refined oil-free. I hope you enjoy every bite and know that the leftovers taste even better the next day!

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Classic Vegan Meatloaf

Print Recipe
Serves: 8 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
Rating: 3.0/5
( 270 voted )


1/2 cup (84g) buckwheat and 1/2 cup (90g) quinoa , soaked for at least 6 hours
1 onion, diced
8 oz (226g) mushrooms
3 cloves garlic
2 ribs of celery, diced
2 cups (178g) finely chopped cabbage
1 - 14 ounce (396g) can black beans
1/4 cup (37g) flax meal
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons Braggs Liquid Aminos

Tomato Topping
3 tablespoons tomato paste
5 deglet dates ( or 2 medjool)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup (118ml) water


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Drain liquid from buckwheat and quinoa and pour into food processor.
  3. Sauté onions mushrooms and garlic until the onions are translucent.
  4. Add the cabbage to the pan with the onions and mushrooms and cook until cabbage is wilted, making sure all moisture is reabsorbed.
  5. Pour into food processor along with remaining meatloaf ingredients and mix lightly. 
  6. Let sit for at least 15 minutes.
  7. Add all tomato topping ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
  8. Scoop meatloaf mixture into a parchment lined bread pan and smooth top.
  9. Pour tomato topping mixture on top and smooth.
  10. Bake for 1 hour.
  11. Remove from oven and let cool for 15-20 minutes.
  12. Remove meatloaf from pan and place onto a serving plate. 
  13. Will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for about 5 days.
Did You Make This Recipe?
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Rod Kane March 27, 2021 - 10:16 am

Sorry Jill, I accidently clicked a lower rating, I meant 5 stars but this website does not allow it to be undone

Mindy Stoermann November 20, 2021 - 11:29 pm

I tried this and I love the flavors. But am not grooving on the black beans in it. It is throwing the texture and mouthfeel for me. Perhaps I should leave out next time or use an alternative? Other than the beans the recipe is boss and tasty!

Mimah March 27, 2021 - 11:00 am

I have buckwheat groats. Is the what you used in the meatloaf recipe?

Jill Dalton March 27, 2021 - 5:27 pm


stevenb07734 April 4, 2021 - 5:14 pm

Fixed it today for my daughter’s family. Everyone loved it. Nice Easter feast with potatoes and green beans. Asking to have me prepare it again soon!

Katie April 10, 2021 - 11:20 am

Do you drain the back beans? I’d prefer to use dried beans that I cook. How much would I use?

Jill Dalton April 10, 2021 - 1:26 pm

Yes, they are drained and 1 can is equal to 1 1/2 cups

Gb August 14, 2022 - 6:23 am

Jill, can I sub ferro for buckwheat?

Jill Dalton August 16, 2022 - 11:39 am


Jacqui Pappas March 27, 2021 - 4:35 pm


melody sieglitz March 27, 2021 - 5:10 pm

Jill this looks amazing. I will certainly give this a try ! However I don’t use Buckwheat what is a good alternative i will be making this very soon can’t wait ! Thanks

Jill Dalton March 27, 2021 - 5:26 pm

Cooked rice or farrow will work.

melody sieglitz March 27, 2021 - 6:28 pm

Thanks so much the brown rice ill try

jan bonnivier November 22, 2021 - 11:47 am

I assume 1 cup of cooked rice is the replacement ? Thanks in advance

Jill Dalton November 24, 2021 - 10:22 am


Deb March 28, 2021 - 2:00 pm

Thanks for the post. Will bulger work instead of buckwheat?

Jill Dalton March 28, 2021 - 6:31 pm


Donna March 28, 2021 - 2:07 pm

I’m not clear on the buckwheat. I bought Bob’s Red Mill organic wholegrain buckwheat that is already chopped up small. It’s used to make creamy buckwheat hot cereal. Is this what you mean? I’ll return it if it’s not.

Jill Dalton March 28, 2021 - 6:31 pm

No, I use buckwheat groats

Patrick Daugharty March 29, 2021 - 2:24 pm

Will oat groats work? I have them.

Jill Dalton March 31, 2021 - 10:08 am


Susan Johnson March 28, 2021 - 5:04 pm

You mention cooked rice or farro – is the farro meant to be cooked or just soaked?

Jill Dalton March 28, 2021 - 6:30 pm


Laura April 1, 2021 - 6:59 pm

What would be the substitution?
1/2 UNCOOKED or COOKED farro?

Jill Dalton April 1, 2021 - 7:02 pm


Michelle Ann Rhodes March 31, 2021 - 5:07 pm

What would be a good alternative for the mushrooms. Allergic to them!

Jill Dalton April 1, 2021 - 7:04 pm

Red or green bell peppers

Michelle Ann Rhodes April 1, 2021 - 10:00 pm

Thank-you! Still pretty new at this! Thank-you for all you do. I do appreciate it!

Linda Reynolds March 31, 2021 - 5:29 pm

Can you give us a nutritional breakdown (calories, protein etc. per slice)?

Jill Dalton April 1, 2021 - 7:03 pm

Sorry, we don’t do that at this point.

Jo April 2, 2021 - 6:17 am

I’m wondering how this recipe would freeze. I’ve tried other plant-based “meat loaves” before and when frozen, they’re very hard and dry when thawed and reheated. If anyone’s tried this, I’d love to know how it turned out. Thanks!

Berni December 1, 2021 - 4:28 pm

I slice the loaf and wrap the slices in parchment paper and put in a freezer bag in the freezer. I heat from frozen in the parchment paper in a pressure cooker with vegetables. It’s lovely and moist.

Mary A. April 2, 2021 - 1:26 pm

Curious if wheatberries would be an appropriate substitute for buckwheat?

Jill Dalton April 7, 2021 - 10:32 am

No, but cooked farrow or rice would work but the texture won’t be quite as firm.

Ellen M Piper April 8, 2021 - 1:50 pm

🙁 I made this. Or at least tried. I printed out the recipe and when we went to the health food store I got Buckwheat. (Eden brand Organic whole grain buckwheat) It has been in the oven 2 hours now and still like paste. Another half hour and I take it out done or not. I am using a disposable aluminum pan so I’m blaming it on that! LOL My husband loves meatloaf so I’m rather disappointed this time but not enough to give up. First try-Failure, Second try-Who knows!

Lisa Mace April 9, 2021 - 1:06 am

Hi Jill,
I did make this with brown rice & it was delicious, especially the next day after the flavors really married. I whipped up mashed potatoes to go with it and I have to say that was just such amazing deliciousness! I’d like to try the buckwheat when I make it again soon. I love the tomatoey-ketchupey sauce topping, better than ketchup. Your recipes are sooooooo good. You are my go-to now for main entrees. I want to try some of your desserts soon too. You’re the best!

Leslie April 19, 2021 - 8:48 am

The recipe calls for 1/2 c buckwheat and 1/2 c rolled oats soaked for 6 hrs. Do you know how those measure after being soaked?

Melody Sieglitz April 19, 2021 - 9:38 am

Jill just wondering if I can use oats and get same results? I can’t use buckwheat 🙁 for the meatloaf

Jill Dalton April 21, 2021 - 9:08 am

It will work but it won’t be as firm.

Susan Stiles April 27, 2021 - 11:31 am

Hi Jill. Can you suggest an alternative for the flax meal? I’m sensitive to anything but very small amounts. Thank you!

Jill Dalton April 27, 2021 - 3:09 pm

You could use ground chia seeds.

Rhonda May 9, 2021 - 11:14 pm

Is the buckwheat the same as the buckwheat groats??

jeffrey.dalton May 12, 2021 - 1:05 pm

Yes these are the same.

Marty Tannahill June 16, 2021 - 7:48 am

Jill, we are just starting down this path. I have a question about the meatloaf recipe. The recipe calls for Braggs liquid aminos. You didn’t add it in the video. Does this make any difference. Thanks, Marty

Jill Dalton June 18, 2021 - 9:35 am

It adds a bit of saltiness that really helps the flavor.

Corrine July 4, 2021 - 2:09 pm

Hi. Love your recipes!!
Wondering if the meatloaf can be made with soaking quinoa and buckwheat for only 4 hours?

Jill Dalton July 4, 2021 - 5:49 pm

I think it would still be ok

Peita September 30, 2021 - 3:36 am

Made this for the first time the other day and it was amazing. Super easy to do, and tasted so good! I didn’t have any celery on hand so I just used carrot instead and threw it in the pan with the onions to soften. We’ve eaten it on its own with veges, chopped over a salad, and on a sandwich with tomato and avocado – it was delicious every time! I’ll definitely be making this again.

Mary October 2, 2021 - 8:11 am

Can I keep this uncooked in the fridge for awhile?

Jill Dalton October 8, 2021 - 12:31 pm

Haven’t tried it so I’m not sure, sorry

Sahari November 2, 2021 - 6:55 am

Hi — I’ve tried asking this in a couple YouTube comment sections but no luck! Anyway, we’re setting up to make the meatloaf for the first time, and am wondering if toasted groats will work the same as raw? The least expensive groats I can find are toasted, you see…. Thanks Jill.

Jill Dalton November 3, 2021 - 9:43 am

I think they will still work.

Sahari November 2, 2021 - 7:14 am

Oh, and another thing… ground sage vs. rubbed sage? Does it even matter?

Jill Dalton November 3, 2021 - 9:43 am

Doesn’t matter.

Pat November 4, 2021 - 7:49 pm

Hi Jill, am I to understand by one of your remarks that Bob’s Red Mill buckwheat is not a good idea for the meatloaf recipe? Or did I misunderstand?

Jill Dalton November 9, 2021 - 10:00 am

Yes, it is ground too fine.

Sahari November 6, 2021 - 9:06 pm

Just to let you know, your printed recipe specifies 2 tsp smoked paprika, but in your video, you say 1.5 tsp. That’s a big difference for such a potent spice!

Also, printed recipe calls for 2 tsp. aminos, and in your video you don’t mention it at all.

It’s in the oven now — hubby likes the topping sauce so much he whipped up another batch.

lunataur November 14, 2021 - 5:07 pm

Jill – Thanks for all you do! I printed out the recipe and noticed it doesn’t tell me where it came from. Your brand or name or website should be part of the printed recipe so it is known who created it.

Hugh December 22, 2021 - 11:14 pm

I have been making meatloaf with millet and truly enjoyed it, good texture and taste but always willing to try different methods. I made this recipe Christmas week and it came out beautiful, included the tip about crumbling the parchment paper in a ball. When it was finished I had my side dishes ready and took my first slice which was firm and did not fall apart. But I did not like it, there was not enough flavor and I thought it was mushy. I was going to toss it but thought of the 8 oz of mushrooms and the other ingredients and thought the next day it might be better, it wasn’t. I have been eating it using different sauces to mask the flavor, but on the fourth day I tossed it. Listen guys I was a Chef throughout my career and always looking to try new things, I am making a beef brisket and a turkey out of vital wheat gluten Christmas and I am excited to to do this. I am only saying this to let you know food is my expertise, ran a catering business for years and had great clientele, was not Vegan at the time.

Gerard March 23, 2022 - 1:48 pm

I could not find buckwheat groats in any store near me. I saw that my grocery store had Wolff’s brand “Kasha” Whole Granulation. 100% pure roasted buckwheat. Will give it a try and let you know how it comes out. It has the same appearance as steel cut oats. Apparently Kasha is known across most of eastern Europe.

Nan Hopkins April 25, 2022 - 6:33 pm

I made the same mistake many of you made by using buckwheat and not the groats. That needs to be specified in the recipe. Also, why no salt and pepper? Mine is still in the oven, but I am afraid it won’t be very good based on my taste test before putting it in the oven. Seemed rather bland.

Melody Sieglitz August 16, 2022 - 1:04 pm

HI Jill can i sub brown rice and Oat flour?

Jill Dalton August 22, 2022 - 6:07 pm

Hmmm, that is a good question. Honestly, I’m not sure if it would work.


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