Vegan Meatloaf Muffins are quick and easy to make with lentils and other common ingredients. Serve this meatless entree with mashed potatoes and my easy vegan mushroom gravy for the ultimate comfort food dinner.
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Thanksgiving and holiday dinners
Every year I struggle with what to serve for a main dish with my vegan holiday recipes.
Vegan side dish recipes are easy. And to be honest, I would be perfectly happy eating all sides.
But I feel as the host, I should offer something that takes the place of the traditional turkey or ham.
While I would love to purchase one of the popular holiday roasts that I hear are so delicious, unfortunately I haven’t found one that doesn’t contain gluten. And sadly I have a gluten sensitivity.
But I finally found a solution that’s quick and easy to make, and perfect for feeding a crowd: vegan meatloaf!
Vegan Meatloaf Muffins
Let’s face it: foods in miniature form are just cuter. And when they are also individual servings, it makes dishing out meals extra simple.
That’s one of the great things about serving food in the shape of muffins.
No, I don’t mean the kind of muffin you would have for breakfast.
I’m talking about mini meatless meatloaves you bake in a muffin pan!
I use a non-stick silicone baking tray, and the little loaves come out perfectly. But it you have a metal pan, you can use a little oil or cooking spray to prevent sticking.
Trust me, your guests will love them. And you don’t have to worry about cutting perfectly even slices of a large loaf.
One of the reasons why I love using lentils as the base of this vegan meatloaf recipe is because they are perfect as part of a Mediterranean diet. They are high in both protein, fiber, and other nutrients, and are relatively inexpensive.
For this recipe you’ll want to look for the common brown or green lentils. They are easy to find at any supermarket.
Whatever you do, do not use yellow or red lentils for this recipe! Save those quick cooking “split” lentils for when you’re making Indian dhal or Red Lentil Potato Soup.
You can start with dried lentils or save some time and buy pre-cooked lentils when making Vegan Meatloaf Muffins.
I personally take the easy route and buy vacuum-packed steamed lentils from Trader Joe’s. And if I can’t get those, I buy canned lentils.
Or save money and cook your own lentils ahead of time.
A cup of dried lentils will yield about 2 1/2 cups cooked. You will need 3 cups of cooked lentils to make the vegan meatloaf.
I recommend cooking 2 cups of dried lentils at a time, and then freezing any leftover cooked lentils for up to 3 months. Then you can defrost them and use them as needed.
To cook 2 cups of dried lentils on the stove, bring 5 cups of water to a boil. Add the rinsed lentils and allow them to simmer 20-35 minutes until tender, stirring occasionally.
To cook them in an Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker, rinse 2 cups lentils and combine them with 4 1/2 cups of water. Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally.
For more information and tips, check out the comprehensive guide Everything You Need To Know About Lentils.
Since our vegan meatloaf doesn’t contain eggs, we need to use something else as a binder to hold the muffins together.
While there are commercial egg replacers on the market, I prefer to make my own using ground flax seeds to form a “flax egg.” It works great as a vegan egg substitute in baked goods, too.
Simply mix ground flax seeds and water in a small bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. For one egg, the ratio is 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds to 4 tablespoons water.
How to make Vegan Meatloaf Muffins
Once you have your cooked lentils and flax egg ready to go, making the vegan meatloaf muffins is easy.
- Saute the onion, garlic, celery, and carrot in a little water.
- Add the vegetables to a large mixing bowl with the cooked lentils.
- Then add the flax seeds mixture, some seasonings, ketchup, Dijon mustard, and panko breadcrumbs.
- Fold the ingredients together to combine.
- Fill the muffin pan with the meatloaf mixture. I used a spring-action ice cream scoop to make it easy!
- Pat the mixture down with the back of the ice cream scoop or your fingers.
- Top each mini loaf with a simple glaze made of ketchup mixed with a little balsamic vinegar.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
- Let the Lentil Meatloaf Muffins stand for 5 or 10 minutes after removing them from the oven to make them easy to remove from the muffin pan.
I made these for Thanksgiving and they were a huge hit and absolutely delicious! Followed the recipe exactly and they turned out perfect. Your choice of seasoning and flavors put it miles ahead of any other lentil type loaf/muffin I’ve had. Ketchup and balsamic….yum!! They’re still great 2 days later, heat them up, add a veg and you have a super healthful meal.
Vegan Thanksgiving recipes
Vegan Meatloaf muffins are delicious with a variety of festive side dishes like the following:
Vegan Meatloaf Recipe
This recipe makes 12 mini meatloaf muffins. A good rule of thumb is to allow 2 muffins per guest. You can easily double or triple the recipe if you’re feeding a crowd.
You can prep the vegan meatloaf a day in advance and refrigerate in the muffin pan until ready to bake. In addition, the cooked muffins can be refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen up to 3 months. Reheat in the microwave or oven or enjoy cold.
For tips on freezing, refer to USDA Freezing and Food Safety.
If you love this recipe, please give it 5 stars! ★★★★★
Vegan Meatloaf Muffins
- 1 Tablespoon ground flax seeds
- 4 Tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup diced celery
- 1/4 cup diced carrots
- 3 cups cooked lentils
- 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
- 2 Tablespoons ketchup
- 1 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs, (gluten-free, if desired)
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Mix the ground flax seeds and water in a small bowl and set aside.
- Saute the onion in a little water over medium heat until it’s soft and slightly translucent.
- Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
- Add the celery and carrots and saute for a couple of minutes until softened. Add a splash of water if the pan appears dry.
- Transfer the cooked vegetables to a large mixing bowl. Add the cooked lentils, Italian seasoning, 2 Tablespoons of ketchup, Dijon mustard, panko breadcrumbs, flax seed mixture, and salt and pepper, to taste. Fold until well combined.
- Fill the muffin pan cups with the lentil mixture and pat each one down tightly.
- In a small bowl, mix the 1/4 cup ketchup and balsamic vinegar. Brush each lentil meatloaf muffin with a little of the mixture.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven and allow the muffins to rest 5 to 10 minutes. Carefully remove and serve.