Hearty Meatless Meatloaf



For many of us, the main dish at Thanksgiving dinner is what really makes or breaks the meal. A plate full of side dishes doesn’t necessarily celebrate the notion that this important holiday meal can be made creatively and compassionately, with as much flair, flavor and good feelings as the traditional option. This Hearty Meatless Meatloaf main course takes care of that.

Looking to make this super-easy? Use pre-cooked French lentils and brown rice from the grocery store.

NOTE: We use French lentils here because they hold their shape better than regular green lentils, adding more to the overall texture.



  • 1 cup onion, diced small (from 1 large onion)

  • 1 cup carrot, diced small (from 2 to 3 large carrots)

  • 2 cups celery, diced small (from 4 to 6 stalks celery)

  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced

  • 4 to 5 fresh sage leaves, minced (or 2 teaspoons dried sage)

  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme

  • 2 cups cooked French lentils

  • 8 ounces cremini (or button) mushrooms, chopped finely

  • 1/4 cup gluten-free tamari (or soy) sauce

  • 2/3 cup vegetable broth

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice

  • 1/2 cup gluten-free bread crumbs

  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper



  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

  2. Lightly oil four mini loaf pans. (Alternatively, you can use a large loaf pan, but the smaller ones cook more quickly and can be sliced into nice-sized pieces; you can also use muffin pans so each person has an individual serving.)

  3. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet, and sauté onion, carrots and celery until soft, about 10 minutes.

  4. Stir in garlic, mushrooms, thyme, and sage.

  5. Let cook another 8 to 10 minutes, until the water from the mushrooms has evaporated.

  6. Add lentils, brown rice, tamari and broth.

  7. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

  8. Remove from heat.

  9. Empty about half of the lentil mixture into the bowl of a food processor. (If you don’t have a food processor, mash up the mixture with a wooden spoon so that it stick together when baked.)

  10. Add bread crumbs and pulse until combined.

  11. Taste and season with salt and pepper, then return mixture to the bowl with the remaining lentil mixture.

  12. Stir to combine.

  13. Transfer the mixture into the prepared loaf pan(s) and pack down firmly using the back of a spoon.

  14. Cover the top of the loaf pan with foil.

  15. Bake for 30 minutes. (If using muffin pans, bake for 20 minutes.)

  16. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes. (If using muffin pans, bake for another 8 to 10 minutes.)

  17. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes.

  18. Slide a knife along the edges then flip upside down on a serving plate or cutting board to slice.

  19. Serve slices hot, with your favorite vegan Thanksgiving side dishes.