Recipes > Plant-Based "Meat" Loaf

Plant Based "Meat" Loaf


This spectacular vegetarian loaf is soy, dairy, egg and gluten-free. Serve it with mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy and cranberry sauce for a special holiday meal or for that perfect comfort food.
  • Serves: 2 loaves
  • Active Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hr 30 mins
  • Views: 44,454
  • Success Rating: 85% (?)
    0% - I fed it to the dog


Step 1: Preparing Your Mise en Place

Preparing Your Mise en Place
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 3 cups cooked black beans (2 - 14 oz cans)*
  • 1/2 cup ground flax meal)**
  • 1 cup water (to soak flax meal)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 tbsp oil***
  • 1.5 lb (5 cups) cremini mushrooms, diced
  • 1 cup grated celeriac****
  • 1 cup grated sweet potato )****
  • 1 1/2 cups walnut halves
  • 2 cups sunflower seeds
  • 4 cloves garlic (1 tbsp minced)
  • 1/4 bunch flat-leaf parsley (4 tbsp chopped)
  • 5 to 10 sprigs fresh thyme (1 tbsp chopped)
  • 2 sprigs fresh sage (1 tbsp chopped)
  • 1 to 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (1 to 2 tsp chopped)
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning (optional)*****
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper


Note: To set yourself up, be sure to read through the recipe and the notes below, before you begin.

To start your mise en place, cook the quinoa, brown rice and black beans. Note, these can all be prepared ahead of time.

Place flax meal into a bowl and add water.

Next, heat a fry pan over medium heat; add the oil, if using, followed by the onions. Let cook for a few minutes, or until they become somewhat soft and translucent, then add the mushrooms. Continue to cook until the mushrooms have browned and all of their moisture has evaporated. Once done, place into a large mixing bowl.

Meanwhile, prepare the celeriac and sweet potatoes (grate and chop—see notes below) and place into the mixing bowl.

Next, pulse the walnuts a few times. Add the sunflower seeds and pulse a few more times. The nuts do not need to be too fine, but they should be fairly broken up. Add the nuts to the mixing bowl.

Next, add the garlic to the food processor and mince. Add the fresh herbs and pulse a few times. Remove and add to the mixing bowl.

Next, add the cooked brown rice, quinoa and black beans to the food processor and pulse a few times. Depending on the size of your food processor, you may need to process the ingredients separately. This is especially important for the black beans, as they should still have some chunky texture to them. Place everything into the mixing bowl.

At this point, add the soaked flax to the food processor and purée for a minute. Once the mixture has become gummy and “egg-white” like, remove and add to the mixing bowl.

Next, add the nutritional yeast, salt, pepper and the poultry seasoning to the mixing bowl and mix well to combine.

Lastly, taste for seasoning, adjusting the salt, pepper and/or poultry seasoning to your tastes. Note that the seasoning may also need adjusting based on the ingredients used — for instance, if the rice, quinoa and beans were pre-seasoned, then this will affect the overall seasoning of the dish.

Step 2: Baking and Serving

Baking and Serving


Preheat oven to 350°F (160°C). Divide the mixture into 2 non-stick loaf pans. Alternatively, line the pans with parchment or lightly coat with oil or non-stick spray. Bake covered with foil for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for another 15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (75°C).

Once done, let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Meanwhile, you can go ahead and make the gravy.

Step 3: Making the Mushroom Gravy

Making the Mushroom Gravy
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 1 lb (5 cups) cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 tbsp white vermouth
  • 1 tbsp oil*
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • 3 tbsp gluten-free flour*
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • freshly ground black pepper (to taste)


To start the gravy, heat a large stainless steel fry pan over medium-high heat. Note: The use of a stainless steel pan rather than a non-stick pan is important, as it helps to create the nice golden color and caramelized flavor of the onions and mushrooms.

Add the oil, followed by the onions and a pinch of salt. *Note: If desired, omit the oil and dry-sauté the onions with a bit of vegetable stock or water.

Sauté the onions until they are translucent and slightly browned, adjusting the heat as necessary. Next, add the mushrooms. Cook until their water evaporates and they start to brown nicely. Stir frequently to prevent any burning. Once the mushrooms and onions have cooked through and have nice color—which will greatly add to the flavor of the final gravy—deglaze with the vermouth.

Next, add the flour. Note: Regular all-purpose flour can be used if desired. Let cook for 30 seconds or so and then slowly add the water. Stir constantly. Add the first 2 cups of water and let come to a simmer before adding more water. You are looking for a nice gravy- or sauce-like consistency. Let it cook for a few minutes to cook out the starch. Add the tamari and apple cider vinegar. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed.

Chef's Notes

*Although cooking your own beans is preferred, canned beans can be used. Other beans, such as pinto or cannellini beans would also work—the color would just be slightly different.

**To make your own flax meal, simply grind flax seeds in a grinder for about 10 to 15 seconds.

  • If desired, omit the oil and dry-sauté the onions with a bit of vegetable stock or water.

Any combination of vegetables can be used, and if you don’t have one or the other, you can simply use one type of vegetable. However, the celeriac and sweet potato combination is really nice. If you have a food processor, use the grater blade to grate the vegetables. Then use the regular blade of the food processor to pulse the grated vegetables a few times to chop them up. This may seem like a long process, but the final texture and flavor of the dish makes it worthwhile.

Note: The Poultry Seasoning adds a very nice “holiday” flavor to the loaves. Feel free to play around and add your own spices and herbs.

At first, this dish may seem time consuming to make, but the final results are well worth it. The recipe makes 2 loaves, which is nice, and they keep and freeze quite well.

Serving Notes: Be sure to serve it with the gravy (or another type of gravy) as it really makes for an enjoyable meal. Cranberry sauce, preferably homemade, is also a must. For side dishes, mashed potatoes and steamed or roasted vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts or carrots, go well.


  • Sue N
    Sue N
    I noticed that the sauce is called miso mushroom gravy but don't see miso in the ingredient list.
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    Good catch—I was just seeing if you were paying attention :-) No sorry, actually it was in the description because I sometimes make the gravy with a couple of teaspoons of miso, which you can still do. With this particular recipe/combination, I just didn't feel like it was needed. Cheers!
  • Sue N
    Sue N
    I'm making this today and will freeze most of it. Even though I am cooking just for me most of the time, I usually do at least four portions so that I can freeze the leftovers. You're correct that this recipe has a lot of steps but I don't mind the time and effort if I get multiple meals. I just might sneak a bit of miso into the gravy...... Thanks, Sue
  • Bonnie D
    Bonnie D
    I saw how involved this recipe was so decided to put it together this afternoon and will cook it either tomorrow or the next day. Do you freeze the loaf before or after it has been cooked? Can I fill my loaf pans and cook one and freeze one for later cooking? I'm really excited about this recipe. Thanks Dawn! Bonnie
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    I too often freeze one of the loafs. In fact, I just did this the other day. I generally cook it first and then freeze it, but I am sure you could freeze it raw. Next time I make it, I will experiment by freezing one of them raw and report back to let you to let you know how I found the results to be. Hope you enjoy it. Cheers!
  • Bonnie D
    Bonnie D
    When I made the recipe a month or so ago, I cooked one and froze the other one, uncooked. I defrosted the second one this week and cooked it per recipe. It did not hold its shape as well as the first go around. In making this in the future I would elect to cook both loaves, cool and then wrap the second one for the freezer in a cooked state, then warm it in the oven down the road. I did not have mushrooms to make the gravy this time so I made a recipe of the Madeira gravy that goes with the tempeh recipe in the recipe archives. It went very well with the meatloaf.
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Hi Bonnie- This is really valuable feedback- thank you so much for sharing. I think we can all agree that cooking them before freezing is optimal. A raw loaf just doesn't hold its shape and texture as well. And good thinking in the gravy. Both recipes are really flavorful and satisfying. Cheers!
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    We took a cooked and thawed "meat" loaf with us to a few family dinners, over the holidays and they held together quite well. I have also frozen the "meat" loaf in single size portions before and they hold up quite well like that. I used 4 ounce ramekins and baked and froze them in the ramekins. The bonus with that is that the "meat" loaf is protected by the ramekins — they also travel quite well like that. Cheers!
  • Bonnie D
    Bonnie D
    Dawn, Thanks for the different size options. It makes sense that the "meatloaf" would work in different sized oven ready containers. I love the recipe and will try different sizes next time i make it. I am thinking that the mini loaf pans would work well for smaller portions or perhaps dinner for two. Great tips. bonnie
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    No worries at all Bonnie. I am glad that you like the recipe. By the way, leftovers are even good on salad the next day. They even make a good filling for a sandwich. We added stuffing and cranberry sauce to the sandwich as well. YUM!
  • Jayne M
    Jayne M
    How many portions does each individual loaf make? I'm trying to get the nutritional information and food cost on the program I use. It asks for for number of portions and I wasn't sure if it is one loaf per person. (Seems like a lot...).
  • Julie N
    Julie N
    I’ve made it, portioned it out and used my food saver to package portions. I thaw in refrigerator and then carefully reheat in pan (I really like the crispy parts). This is a delicious recipe.
  • Marina  F
    Marina F
    I made this today (1/2 recipe), and while the taste was outstanding, when I tried to cut it after the resting period, it did not hold together well at all. It seems like there was too much moisture. I substituted a turnip for the celeriac (was not available), but all other ingredients were the same. Would you recommend adding breadcrumbs, or do you have other suggestions about the excessive moisture. Thx.
  • Char N Rouxbe Staff
    Char N
    Hello, Marina: I make this all the time, and find that the key is getting all of the moisture out of the mushrooms. The other factor is having the "flax egg" almost solid. When I use the "flax egg," it is the first thing I make so that the mixture will work best in the mixture. These two hints should work well. Let me know how you make out. Thanks for writing. -Char
  • Marina  F
    Marina F
    Thx for the response. I'll give that a shot. The flavor is so great, I really want this to work :)
  • Char N Rouxbe Staff
    Char N
    Hi, again, Marina: One more thing that may be helpful to you, is to allow the finished mixture to settle together, about 10 minutes before putting into a loaf pan. Good to hear from you. -Char
  • Betty H
    Betty H
    I made this for Thanksgiving and am quite pleased with the delicious flavor. I was previously fretting what to serve with my new WFPB lifestyle and know this will be my new holiday go-to recipe! The next time around, I'll be certain to utilize Char's advice about "getting all of the moisture out of the mushrooms". It took quite a while to cook that out and I felt they were still a bit too wet and reflected that in my cooked loag. Aside from the poultry seasoning, are there any additional seasoning recommendations for flavoring this delicious loaf for other times of the year?
  • Sandy S
    Sandy S
    Hi Betty, The sky is the limit really, when it comes to seasonings for this. I always recommend taking into consideration what this will be served with and find a spice, seasoning, herb, or combination that will complement and bridge to the other flavors on the plate. A few suggestions.... Adding a bit of cumin and coriander can create a bit of a Latin flair, or add some smoked paprika and parsley to create a bit of a Spanish flavor. Obviously those are just 2 examples of countless combinations.... Play around with it to keep it fresh and interesting all year round! Cheers, Sandy
  • Sharon F
    Sharon F
    I've made this at Christmas for about 3 years now. I too, found the mixture too wet. Taste was amazing so I've repeated. The next year I made three loaves instead of two which helped but still too wet in the middle and don't want to dry out the outer loaves. Making it again this year - Christmas 2022. Will try to reduce the amount of water in the flax egg. My mushrooms are cooked pretty dry so that is not the problem. What about adding some oats to absorb?
  • Char N Rouxbe Staff
    Char N
    Hi Sharon--Looking at the recipe, I would suggest to take the grated celery root, and place it in a cloth towel and manually express any liquid in the grated pieces. Keep in mind that mushrooms are about 90% liquid, after they are cooked, you could put them on a cloth towel to remove an added liquid. Adding extra flax could make the loaf too heavy. I'd look to the vegetables. You could also add 1/2 cup more of the quinoa. Hope this is useful to you. Cheers, Char
  • Riaz M
    Riaz M
    that is alot of ingredients for the average vegan how can i streamline this?
  • Riaz M
    Riaz M
    if i had a vegan guest this would seem intimidating to prepare.
  • Riaz M
    Riaz M
    ii counted atleast 22 ingredients thats intimidating
  • Eric W Rouxbe Staff
    Eric W
    Hi Riaz, yes, I agree that there are plenty of ingredients! Your success is based on your mise en place. If you want to streamline this recipe, you'll need to do some experimenting. Give it a try! Enjoy the journey! Eric

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