I used to hear stories about how people would get fed leftover meatloaf for days but for me this was never the case. I hardly ever got fed meatloaf, if I did, it was at my great aunts’ house as a kid. I do remember it had a sweet tomato like topping (which was really just baked on ketchup) and I remember it had little pieces of onion inside of it and I found it rather dry in texture. I wasn’t a huge fan of it, even back then I didn’t really like meat) and I can honestly say it’s been at least 15 years since I last ate it and since for the past few years I’ve been vegan/vegetarian it won’t be likely I’ll be eating it again so I decided to check out some recipes for inspiration. I came across some which were lentil based but then I stumbled upon the www.connoisseurusveg.com and found an almost classic chickpea based meat loaf recipe which I used for inspiration but altered a bit because I didn’t have all the ingredients and wanted to add a few things.
I made this meatless loaf as an item on the menu of Holiday Healing Party hosted by Alternative Healer Toronto as a fundraiser event and to provide opportunity for her Reiki students to practice, it really was a beautiful event. I got to share a bit about my passion for food, my raw vegan chef training out in Bali and a little about my food-losophy. Then we all got to eating and the Meatless Loaf was a huge hit! There actually wasn’t any leftover from it, so that’s a good sign people loved it.
This dish takes a bit of time to prepare but it’s worth it, and having a food processor handy will make this much quicker as you won’t have to chop the veggies into tiny little bits. It’s important to mix ingredients in the right order and do not over process if using the processor or blender as the mixture will become too much like a dough in texture, it’s better to have some course pieces to add some dimension and colour. One thing I highly recommend but it’s time consuming is to remove the skins off of your chickpeas. This will prevent unwanted gas later as the skin on the chickpeas does not digest properly and causes gas. The easiest way to remove them is by rubbing them back and forth in your hands and they will peel off (this is if you are using canned chickpeas which are already cooked). I even go in and grab chickpeas and roll them around in my hands to see if the skin is there. This is optional (most people don’t do this at all) but it will be highly beneficial for your body and less socially awkward afterwards (also important).
It’s important that when you are blending the ingredients in the food processor to not over process the food, otherwise it will lose the texture and will become like a big glob of sticky dough. You should be able to fluff it likely with a fork. Another suggestion I might make is to process the chickpeas first and then the other ingredients and mix well in a bowl and taste it to see if it needs anything. This is the perfect opportunity to sprinkle some more salt, or add some more herbs or a splash of tamari sauce etc.
I prefer to use parchment paper rather than lining a baking tray with oil. I just find it is less likely to burn on the edges and won’t get stuck in the pan. It’s also very easy to remove by lifting it up with the excess hanging off the sides. Before taking a picture I removed the loaf using the parchment paper and peeled it away and then re-inserted it back into the tray. Use a spatula to spread the meatless dough evenly across and push it right up against the edges so everything is nice and levelled. I used a 9×9 glass pan but you can use anything, you just might need to change your baking time accordingly.
Once your meatloaf is all packed and ready to go, mix the ingredients for your maple tomato glaze in a small bowl. Use a spatula or the back of a spoon to spread it on the top of the meatloaf before you putting it in the middle rack oven. You should have a lot so you can lay it on nice and thick.
About half an hour of baking, rotate the loaf in the oven so that it cooks evenly on both sides. If you want it a little less moist, leave it in for longer but just know that the sauce will bake on and harden a bit. I like mine pretty moist, it was delicious. Let the loaf sit and cool for a bit before slicing it. You can slice it into whatever size portions you want really, I cut mine into 12 but you could easily do more if you wanted to serve more people.
For the Meatless Loaf
- 3 cups chickpeas – drained, rinsed and peeled
- 1/2 cup red onion diced
- 1 1/2 cup carrots diced
- 1 cup celery diced
- 7 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)
- 3 tbsp concentrate tamarind (can sub worcestershire sauce, click here for a vegan recipe)
- 2 tbs garlic
- 2 cups panko beadrumbs
- 1/2 coconut milk (unsweetened, or any other nut milk))
- 2 tbs tomato paste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp pink himalayan salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/3 tbsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tbsp dried basil
- 1/2 tbsp onion powder (or more to taste)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp liquid smoke (optional, can add more smoked paprika)
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tbsp ground flax seeds (turn into egg with 6 tbsp water)
- 3 tbs date paste
- 4 tbs sun-dried tomatoes (soaked and chopped into tiny bits)
For the Glaze
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 tbsp. maple syrup
- 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp. soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly oil a 9 inch loaf pan, I used a square glass pan.
To make it easier to process you may want to divide the quantity up when mixing. Break the chickpeas up first until the point that they are fairy ground and no real big chunks left. Next process the celery, carrots, onions and spices second before adding the panko bread crumbs before continuing to process. Do not over process ingredients or it will turn into a sticky dough (nothing like a loaf). Mix all ingredients together by hand in a bowl.
Use a spatulat to press the mixture into a pan lined with parchment paper. Use half the glaze and spread a thin layer over the meatloaf.
Bake 25-30 min.loaf pan and bake 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove loaf from oven and spoon or use a spatula to glaze the top of the loaf.
Bake another 20-25 minutes or a bit longer for a firmer loaf. Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 10 minutes before cutting.
The Meatless Loaf will firm up a bit after sitting, but it’s quite moist when you first bake it. I like them both ways but the one in the picture was after a day in the fridge. This dish is great for prepping ahead of time and using over the span of a few days. It’s great for meal prep, makes things easier and will clear up a little space in your schedule. Enjoy! 🙂