Vegan Lentil Loaf Recipe
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The best vegan lentil loaf recipe loaded with meaty mushrooms, oats, veggies and fresh herbs then covered in a blanket of smooth Italian tomato sauce. Protein packed, healthy, filling, meatless, without eggs, oil-free and super tasty. The leftovers make a nice hearty vegan meatloaf sandwich you’ll be happy to have in your lunchbox.
Vegan Lentil Loaf
How It’s Done
About the Lentils
I love using tiny French lentils in this recipe as they hold their shape beautifully during the cooking process which helps control the final texture of the loaf. They grow in the Puy region of central France, hence the name “lentilles du Puy” or Puy lentils. They have a nutty earthy flavor with a firm texture even after cooking, which makes them ideal for this recipe but also to be used in salads and rustic soups that you don’t intend to blend into obliteration.
All things considered, any green or brown lentil variety should work fine in a lentil loaf, but do not use red lentils here as they pretty much disintegrate during cooking and you might end up with a pile of mush. Personally I want any leftovers to slice up nicely and hold together tight enough to make a sandwich perfect for dunking in a bowl of mushroom gravy. Canned green or brown lentils could be used in a pinch, just make sure to rinse and drain them well first.
Recipe Tips + FAQs
- Make Burger Patties – If you prefer to keep your dinner more casual and way faster, you are welcome to shape the vegan meatloaf mixture into burger patties. Pan sear in a cast iron skillet and serve on toasted buns with lots of tomato sauce and gravy for dipping.
- Make it Gluten-Free – This loaf can easily be made gluten free by simply using gluten-free breadcrumbs.
- Use a Loaf Pan – If you don’t feel like shaping your loaf you can simply pack it into a parchment lined loaf pan and call it a day.
- Add Ins – To give it a little Italian sausage flair add in a couple of teaspoons of both fennel seeds, sage and oregano.
- Storage – Any leftover loaf can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container up to 5 days. Individual slices wrapped in parchment paper and bagged can be frozen up to 4 months.
- Reheating – Preheat your oven to 300″F. Place the leftover loaf on a parchment lined baking dish and bake in the preheated oven until heated through, 45 minutes or so. Alternatively you can reheat individual slices in a cast iron skillet on the stop top. The quickest route would be to pop it in the microwave for a couple of minutes, just make sure to only use glass or ceramic dishes, never use plastic for microwaving food.
- note worthy: There are about 50 different varieties of lentils out there loaded with soluble fiber and protein! 1 cup lentils contains 18 g of protein and 16 g of fiber. Unlike beans they do not need any presoaking and are ready in about 30 minutes depending on the variety used or so.
- Vegan Green Bean Casserole
- Avocado Mashed Potatoes
- Vegan Scalloped Potatoes
- Vegan Mac and Cheese
- Dinner Rolls
- Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes
- Italian Bread Recipe
- Vegan Stuffing
- Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- Creamy Potato Salad.
how to make vegan lentil loaf
Vegan Lentil Loaf (Vegan Meatloaf)
- 2 cups French lentils -cooked & drained well ( start with 1 cup dry)
- 1 large carrot -grated or finely finely chopped
- 1/2 yellow onion ( or 1/2 leek) -chopped
- 1 cup cremini mushrooms -chopped
- 1 cup red bell pepper -diced
- 1/2 cup quick oats
- 2 tbsp walnut parmesan (or nutritional yeast flakes)
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs -plain whole wheat or gluten-free
- 3 cloves garlic -grated
- 2 tbsp flax meal (I used flax & chia mix)
- 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp Italian marinara sauce
- 1.5 tbsp liquid aminos
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 3/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
- 2 tbsp thyme leaves -fresh
- 2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley -roughly chopped
- 3 tbsp onion chives -chopped
- 2 tbsp basil leaves -for garnish
- 1 drizzle olive oil or a splash of water
- Preheat oven to 350”F.
- In a large skillet over medium flame saute the onion (or leeks), mushrooms and carrot with a pinch of sea salt and a splash of water, veggie broth (or a drizzle of olive oil) until softened. About 10 minutes or so. (If using leeks make sure to rinse them really well after chopping as they can be quite full of dirt and grit)1 large carrot, 1/2 yellow onion ( or 1/2 leek), 1 cup cremini mushrooms, 1 drizzle olive oil or a splash of water
- Stir in the bell pepper, garlic, paprika, onion powder, liquid aminos, flax meal, 2-3 tablespoons of marinara sauce and the fresh herbs (reserve some herbs for garnish). Remove from heat.1 cup red bell pepper, 3 cloves garlic, 2 tbsp flax meal, 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp Italian marinara sauce, 1.5 tbsp liquid aminos, 1 tsp onion powder, 3/4 tsp smoked paprika, 2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, 3 tbsp onion chives, 2 tbsp thyme leaves
- Add the walnut parmesan(or nutritional yeast) lentils and oats to the pan with the sauteed veggies and mix to combine. Transfer half of the mixture to the bowl of a food processor and finely chop but not totally pureed, so keep a close eye on it.2 cups French lentils, 2 tbsp walnut parmesan, 1/2 cup quick oats
- Transfer the chopped mixture to the bowl with the reserved sautéed veggies, add the breadcrumbs and use your hands to mix it well. Taste and adjust seasonings with the sea salt. IMPORTANT: The loaf should stick together nicely by now, however If you feel like it is too wet you can add more breadcrumbs at this point.1/2 cup bread crumbs, 1/4 tsp sea salt
Shape + Bake
- Dump the mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet and shape into two loaves (it helps if you lightly oil your hands first). Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes have passed, carefully spoon the marinara sauce over the top and the sides of the loaves and bake another 10 minutes or so.1/3 cup + 2 tbsp Italian marinara sauce
- Remove the lentil loaves from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before slicing. Serve garnished with fresh basil and chives on a bed of mashed potatoes with extra tomato sauce on the side.2 tbsp basil leaves, 3 tbsp onion chives
- Make Burger Patties - If you prefer to keep your dinner more casual and way faster, you are welcome to shape the vegan meatloaf mixture into burger patties. Pan sear in a cast iron skillet and serve on toasted buns with lots of tomato sauce and gravy for dipping.
- Make it Gluten-Free - This loaf can easily be made gluten free by simply using gluten-free breadcrumbs.
- Use a Loaf Pan - If you don't feel like shaping your loaf you can simply pack it into a parchment lined loaf pan and call it a day.
- Add Ins - To give it a little Italian sausage flair add in a couple of teaspoons of both fennel seeds, sage and oregano.
- Storage - Any leftover loaf can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container up to 5 days. Individual slices wrapped in parchment paper and bagged can be frozen up to 4 months.
- How do you reheat lentil loaf? - Preheat your oven to 300"F. Place the leftover loaf on a parchment lined baking dish and bake in the preheated oven until heated through, 45 minutes or so. Alternatively you can reheat individual slices in a cast iron skillet on the stop top. The quickest route would be to pop it in the microwave for a couple of minutes, just make sure to only use glass or ceramic dishes, never use plastic for microwaving food.
- Can I use canned lentils? - Canned green or brown lentils could be used in a pinch, just make sure to rinse and drain them well first.
- note worthy: There are about 50 different varieties of lentils, all loaded with soluble fiber and protein: 1 cup lentils contains 18 g of protein and 16 g of fiber. Unlike beans they do not need any presoaking and are ready in about 30 minutes depending on the variety used.
You’ll also love…
This lentil loaf was a major hit in our family, all gone in one day so I’ll be making it again for Easter together with your Shpherd’s Pie with the mushrooms. I would just say to double the recipe if you have more than 4 hungry people, you’ll be happy you did.
Made the lentil loaf for dinner tonight – It was delicious but took way longer than anticipated to prep maybe because I chopped everything by hand and didn’t use the food processor. I forgot to add the bread crumbs (and I had specifically purchased gluten free) … husband enjoyed very much. Next time I will add hot peppers.
Made this today for Father’s Day. Very tasty meal. However, I too forgot to add the bread crumbs 😩 I will definitely make this dish again and be sure not to forget anything!
I’m going to add it to the notes: “Don’t Forget the Breadcrumbs” lol
Hello – while I pretty much figured it out, the recipe doesn’t say at which step to add the breadcrumbs. Thank you.
Hey Judy, you are correct, I updated that last step where you need to add the breadcrumbs. Sometimes the ingredients will turn out more moisture so it’s a good idea to add more breadcrumbs. It all depends however so you’ll just learn to have a feel for it in the future and nail it every time! So happy you still loved it 🙂
Finally made this and was not disappointed. Mine could use a bit more binding, but didn’t completely fall apart. Any suggestions for this would be helpful. P.S. There is nowhere in the instructions that state when to add the bread crumbs so I just added it to the last mixing step. Would like clarification on #4 – by Add you mean adding the walnut parmesan, lentils and oats to the existing veggie mixture right? And then half of the whole mixture gets chopped in the food processor? Or is it combining those 3 in a separate bowl and then half of it gets put in the food processor. If so do we also do the second half in the food processor? Thank you kindly.
Sorry for the confusion Judy! Yes you are correct, add the walnut parmesan, oats and lentils to the pan with the sauteed veggies. Then you chop up half of that mixture in the food processor just for texture, it helps bind the loaf together. Then you mix everything together again and add the breadcrumbs before shaping your lentil loaf. I hope that makes more sense now, I updated the instructions to reflect that too. So happy you still enjoyed it 🙂
Loved this recipe! Will definitely be making it again. For one loaf I used the marina sauce per the recipe but, the second loaf I added vegan cheese and ketchup (my father has always made his meatloaf this way). Neither loafs were disappointing. Thos recipe is definitely time consuming but well worth it. Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe!
Very flavorful and delicious. Excellent recipes. 🙂
I can’t seem to find French lentils at any store near me. Does anyone know what lentil would be the best substitute?
Hi Jamie, any brown or green lentil should be fine here instead of the French variety.
Wonder if black lentils would work with this?
Sure, use them if you got them!
Can I use dried herbs if that’s all I have at the time?
Sure, taste as you go however and use about a teaspoon of dried herbs instead of a tablespoon of fresh.