Smoky Southern-Style Meatless Meatloaf is so delicious! It has a wonderful smoky flavor and it's made with whole foods that are good for you. This black bean and chickpea meatloaf recipe has become one of our most popular, and for good reason! Serve it with our Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Spicy Sizzled Green beans.
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Published October 17, 2016 and updated September 21, 2020.
Hi there! Thanks for visiting us, we’re so happy you’re here. If you’re looking for Southern inspired vegan comfort food recipes, you’ve come to the right place.
We love vegan comfort food and we’re really good at making it. Take a tour through our site and you’ll find all of the recipes that scream, stretchy pants required!
The good news, they’re all plant-based recipes, so you don’t need to feel guilty eating them. Now sit back, relax, and eat happy. 🙂
Also, in case you didn't know, we're published cookbook authors. We've written two vegan cookbooks that will help you make amazing vegan BBQ (you don't even need a grill) and everyday meals, from breakfast to dessert.
Food is Emotional and is a Part of Who We Are
Anyone who knows Linda, knows that she loves the South.
She loves the weather, the architecture, the trees with drooping moss, the friendly people, and, she loves the food.
Some of her best childhood memories are intertwined with food.
Why We Love Southern Food
Linda's love of most things Southern began when she was a child.
Her mom (Alex's grandmother) is from the South, and she spent part of every summer in Virginia and the Carolinas.
The food was a big part of those trips because it was a change of pace from the typical Midwestern Wisconsin fare of cheese and brats.
She remembers watching her mom pack brats in a big cooler to bring to her Southern relatives, because at that time, they couldn't find them in their community.
So yes, even from a young age, food made an impression on her.
Speaking of food and our dear mom/grandma, she made a bangin’ meatloaf back in the day.
Her classic meatloaf recipe and the sides of mashed potatoes, gravy, and peas were a Sunday staple.
It was such a simple meal, but sometimes the simplest of foods are the best.
Although we no longer eat animal products, we still love good comfort food, and that will never change.
That's why we created this classic vegetarian main course.
A hearty vegan meatloaf is the ultimate comfort food that will bring the whole family together, and help you maintain and create memories.
WHAT IS VEGAN MEATLOAF?
Yes, we know. Traditional meatloaf has... meat. Vegan meatloaf doesn't, but that doesn't mean that the flavors, textures, and appearance has to be different!
Our vegan meatloaf, just like the traditional.
It has a moist texture, tangy and sweet sauce, and looks exactly like a regular meat loaf!
In fact, it's so much like a regular meat loaf that this recipe has become a favorite amongst our non-vegan friends and family.
However, vegan meatloaf is different in a couple key areas.
- Vegan meatloaf doesn't contain animals! Hooray! You can have all of your favorite parts about traditional meatloaf without harming our furry friends : )
- This meatloaf is free of cholesterol, animal hormones, and saturated fats.
- Our vegan meatloaf is filled with more fiber and tons of plant-based protein!
It makes a great main dish for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, or any holiday.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF EATING VEGAN MEATLOAF?
There is plenty of protein in this gorgeous loaf, thanks to the black beans and the chickpeas, and there’s a whole lot of delicious smoky flavor.
The texture is about as close as you’re going to get to the kind I used to eat as a kid.
It's super low in cholesterol, full of flavor, and good for you.you’re going to want to try this vegan black beans and chickpea meatloaf.
If you’ve looked around the internet you’ll see that a lot of vegan loafs are made with tofu, nuts, mushrooms, or all of the above.
Not this one, this “meatloaf” is free of all of those things.
All you’ll find in this recipe are black beans, chickpeas, onions, vegetable broth, oats, corn meal, and spices and flavors that take the beans to another level.
How to Make It
To make this gluten-free vegan meatloaf all you’ll need is a food processor, a skillet, a large mixing bowl, a loaf pan, and an oven.
- Process the chickpeas in the food processor until they’re creamy. Like this.
2. Process the black beans the same way you did the chickpeas. Like this.
3. Process the second can of black beans so that they’re slightly ground up. Like this.
4. Put them all in a big bowl and add some ground oats. Like this.
5. Add some corn meal, liquid smoke, and the aquafaba (bean juice from the chickpeas) to the beans.
6. Saute the onions and cook with the spices, salt, and pepper, then add the vegetable broth, Worcestershire sauce (vegan), and ketchup and mix it all up until it’s blended well.
7. Add the onion mixture to the bean mixture and gently fold until it’s completely blended.
8.Line a nine inch bread pan with parchment paper and spoon the loaf ingredients into the pan and spread evenly. Make sure that you get the loaf into the corners of the pan. Like this.
9.Spread the BBQ sauce evenly over the top and bake it for an hour and twenty minutes, or until a wooden toothpick is inserted and comes out clean. Let it cool and remove from the pan to slice.
If you want to spoon extra BBQ sauce on top, go for it! Can you ever eat enough BBQ sauce?
Notes on the BBQ Sauce – You can buy a vegan sauce or make mine. Click here for the recipe.
Tips for Making the Perfect Vegan Meatloaf
- Remember to reserve the juice from the chickpeas. Aquafaba/bean juice is the main binder for this bean loaf.
- Be sure to process the chickpeas and half of the black beans until they're nice and creamy. This will help the loaf bind together instead of crumble.
- Leave some whole pieces when you process the second half of the black beans. This gives the loaf texture.
- Taste the mixture before you put it in the bread pan. Adjust the salt and spices to suit your tastes.
- Every oven is calibrated differently. Check the loaf with a toothpick to make sure it's done. It may take more or less time to make yours depending on the elevation, humidity, or oven.
Can You Make it in Advance?
You can prepare it up to three days in advance.
Cover it and store it in the refrigerator until you're ready to make it.
Don't add the barbecue sauce to the top until you're ready to bake it.
Can You Freeze It?
Wrap in freezer safe packaging and freeze for up to 3 months.
Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in a 350˚F (176˚C) oven until it's hot in the middle.
How to Serve It
We love to serve our BBQ meatloaf with Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Spicy Green Beans, and Vegan Cornbread.
Crumble it and add it to spaghetti sauce.
Slice it and make a meatloaf sandwich on toasted bread with crisp lettuce, tomato, and extra BBQ sauce.
Crumble it and use it for taco filling.
More Vegan Loafs and Mains You'll Love
Make our Smoky Southern-Style Meatless Meatloaf and let us know what you think. We love to hear from you! And, don’t forget to take a picture of your gorgeous creation and tag us @veganosity on Instagram.
Let’s connect! Hop on over to our Facebook page and give it a like, and follow us on Instagram and Twitter, and follow us and share this and other Veganosity recipes on Pinterest. We'd be so grateful if you did. If you like this recipe and can't wait to see what we're going to share next, subscribe to Veganosity. Just fill in the subscription box above our picture in the top right corner of the page. And, Alex and I love hearing from you, please leave a comment and let us know what you think of our recipes.
This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission.
Smoky Southern-Style Meatless Meatloaf
- 1 food processor
- 1 bread pan
- 1 Oven
- 15 ounce chickpeas drain and reserve the bean liquid (aquafaba) for later - rinse the beans well
- 30 ounce black beans Drained and rinsed
- 1 cup rolled oats coarsely ground in a food processor
- 1 cup corn meal
- 3 tablespoon liquid smoke
- ½ cup aquafaba chickpea liquid from the can
- 2 teaspoon olive oil or 2 tablespoon (30 ml) vegetable broth if you don’t cook with oil
- 1 medium yellow or white onion finely diced
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
- 2 teaspoon ground sea salt or to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper or to taste
- 2 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce We use Annie’s brand
- ½ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
- ⅓ cup ketchup
- 1 cup BBQ sauce
For the BBQ sauce:
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 3 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dark molasses
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper if you don't like spicy food omit this
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 pepper in adobo sauce – remove the seeds the pepper is optional, this will make the sauce extra spicy, if you use it make sure to remove the seeds Note: Don't add this if you don't like really spicy food.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil extra virgin
- 1 tablespoon cilantro minced
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch plus ¼ cup (60 ml) water - mixed together in a small cup until dissolved
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (176˚C) and line a 9” bread pan with parchment paper or grease the pan.
- Heat a large skillet on medium heat and add the oil or the 2 tablespoons of vegetable broth if you don’t cook with oil. When the oil or broth is hot add the onions and reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir well. Add 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste, stir well, and cook until the onions are soft and translucent. Don’t let them brown. Approximately five minutes.
- Add the 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce , ½cup of vegetable broth, and ⅓ cup of ketchup to the onions and stir until the ketchup dissolves. Set aside.
- Process the 15 oz of drained and rinsed (reserve the liquid) chickpeas in a food processor until creamy. Put in a large bowl.
- Process 15 oz of drained and rinsed black beans in the processor until creamy. Put in the bowl with the chickpeas.
- Pulse the remaining 15 oz of drained and rinsed black beans until lightly ground into small pieces. Put in the bowl with the chickpeas and other can of black beans.
- Process the 1 cup of rolled oats until it turns into a course flour. Add to the bowl with the beans.
- Add the 1 cup of cornmeal, 3 tablespoon of liquid smoke, and add half of the ½ cup of aquafaba to the bowl with the beans. If the mixture is too dry once you mix everything together, add 1 tablespoon of broth or water to the mixture and stir. Add more as needed.
- Add the onion mixture to the beans and gently stir the ingredients until they’re well combined. For best results, use your clean hands to mix. If the mixture feels too wet, add more cornmeal by the tablespoon until it holds together and is firm. Spoon into the bread pan and press the mixture until it's evenly distributed throughout the pan, make sure that the loaf ingredients are pushed into the corners of the pan.
- Evenly spread the 1 cup of BBQ sauce on top of the loaf and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick is inserted and comes out clean. NOTE: If you're baking this in a convection oven, check on it at 50 minutes to see if it's done. Convection ovens cook faster than traditional ovens. Additionally, the calibration of your oven will affect the cook time. Please use a long wooden toothpick or even a chopstick to test the center of the loaf.
- Cool for fifteen to 20 minutes to allow it to set before cutting.
- Mix the cornstarch and water together and set aside.
- Put the sauce ingredients in a blender and blend until fully combined and smooth. Pour into a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and cook for twenty minutes, stir occasionally to avoid scorching the sauce.Add the cornstarch mixture and stir until fully combined and cook for five more minutes.