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No-Fu Lentil Loaf

Many vegan versions of meatloaf are made with tofu, veggie ground round, tvp, or even seitan. Those tofu-averse will be happy to know there is no tofu or veggie meats in this loaf. This savory version uses only lentils, cracked wheat, oats, and chia seed, along with a mix of seasonings to make it all magically come together! This loaf can be made wheat and gluten-free (see notes).
Course Main Course


  • ½ cup brown green lentils
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 3/4 cup bulgur toasted cracked wheat (for gluten-free version, use certified gf steel cut oats)
  • 1 cup water boiled
  • 1/4 cup natural ketchup
  • 1 cup rolled or quick oats ensure gf certified for gluten-free
  • 3 tbsp tamari
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp ground white chia or can use flax meal
  • 2 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce see note for gf version
  • 2 tbsp tahini or sunflower seed butter
  • 2 tsp blackstrap molasses
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ - 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/8 tsp ground fennel optional
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste


  • 3-4 tbsp natural ketchup
  • 1 tsp vegan worcestershire sauce optional OR 2 tsp vegan bbq sauce (optional)


  1. Combine the lentils, vegetable stock, 1⁄3 cup of water, and bay leaf in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, until just about tender. Once done, add the bulgur and boiling water, cover, and cook on medium-low heat for another 8 to 9 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil an oven-proof glass loaf pan and line the bottom of the pan with a strip of parchment paper to cover (place it in to protrude along the short ends of the pan; this helps for easier removal of the veggie loaf from the pan). Combine the topping ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. Once the bulgur is cooked, remove the bay leaf and add all the remaining ingredients (except topping). Stir very well. Transfer the mixture to prepared pan and pack it in. Spread the topping mixture over the top.
  4. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 25 to 28 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 7 to 8 min- utes. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 to 15 min- utes or so, before cutting to slice and serve.

Recipe Notes


  • Allergy-Free or Bust! Despite its not having any tofu, tempeh, or TVP, I cannot technically categorize this recipe as “soy free” because of the inclusion of tamari and vegan Worcestershire sauce. These are important seasonings in the loaf. That said, to replace the Worcestershire for a gluten-free version, use instead an extra 1⁄2 tablespoon of wheat-free tamari, along with an extra 1⁄2 teaspoon of molasses, and 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar.
  • Savvy Subs and Adds: If you’d like to add some veggies to the loaf, try adding 1⁄2 cup of seeded and finely chopped green pepper, or 1⁄4 cup of finely chopped celery (stir into the mixture with the seasonings).
  • Serving Suggestions: Rosemary Gravy is excellent with this loaf, but this dish is equally delicious served with condi- ments as a burger of sorts: Pop slices of the loaf into pita or a folded tortilla, along with ketchup and vegan mayonnaise (or “Almonnaise”).