This recipe was originally published in July 2019. It has been updated for content and photos.
Now I know it may seem odd to call a dish meatloaf when it does not in fact contain any meat.
But for simplicity sake, and similarity in flavour profiles, we’re going with it!
This chickpea meatloaf is a great option for a main course when feeding vegetarians or vegans.
Now you don’t have to just eat a plate of sides, unless you want to, and that’s totally cool too.
Why you’ll love this dish
- It’s very healthy, featuring protein dense chickpeas, nutrient dense veggies, combined with the perfect blend of seasoning to make it just right.
- As I always strive for, it’s low in calories, with a little over 200 calories for one sixth of the entire loaf! I usually get 12 slices out of mine, so that’s two nice slices at only 216 calories. This leaves you with plenty of calorie room for a side of mashed cauliflower or a baked potato.
- This chickpea meatloaf is not only nutrient dense and healthy, but it’s darn delicious! It’s hearty, it’s rich in flavour, it’s smoky and seriously mouth watering.
- In addition to being vegan and vegetarian friendly, this meatless loaf is gluten free (just use gluten free bread crumbs), oil free (making it suitable for a WFPB diet) and it’s nut free too, making it allergen friendly.
- Bonus! It’s simple to prepare, using primarily pantry friendly ingredients. (PS. Check these out for more pantry friendly recipes.)
How to make chickpea meatloaf
(This is a summary with step by step photos, full recipe measurements and instructions are in the recipe card below.)
Gather your ingredients and prepare your chia eggs in a small bowl and set aside to thicken.
Sauté the onion and carrots in a dry skillet for about 5-7 minutes until softened. Add a little water if needed to prevent sticking. (photos 1-2)
Meanwhile, drain and rinse your chickpeas and add them to a large mixing bowl. (photo 3)
Using a large fork, mash your chickpeas until most of them are crushed, without overly mashing. You want to keep some texture in there. (photo 4)
Now add the sautéed veggies into the same bowl along with all the seasoning and chia eggs. Mix very well to evenly distribute the seasoning and eggs. (photo 5)
Transfer the mixture into your prepared loaf pan and firmly press down and smooth out the top using your hands or a silicone spatula and bake for 30 minutes. (photos 6-8)
While the chickpea meatloaf is baking, prepare your smoky maple glaze. Combine all the glaze ingredients in a small sauce pot and bring to a low boil and cook for 10 minutes. (photo 9)
Remove the loaf from the oven and use about one third to half of the glaze to brush over your loaf. (photos 10-11)
NOTE: Save the remaining glaze for serving with each slice.
Put your glazed chickpea meatloaf back in the oven for an additional 15 minutes and then remove from the oven to let cool. (photos 12-13)
Let your loaf cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before carefully transferring to a cutting board. (Use the parchment paper to help lift the loaf out of the pan.)
Now let it sit on the cutting board for another 10 minutes before slicing. This extra time will allow the loaf to completely set, making it much firmer and simpler to slice.
Then serve your loaf sliced with some sides and extra glaze and enjoy!
What to serve with your meatless meatloaf
My personal favourite is mashed potatoes or mashed cauliflower along with a green veggie. Green peas, string beans or broccoli all work very well.
Or change it up and serve with some sweet potato fries or a baked potato.
Substitutions & Variations
- If you’re avoiding wheat, you may sub the breadcrumbs for rolled oats, gluten free, if needed.
- Play with the seasoning! Add more or less of the spices you like, to your taste. If you want to serve this for Thanksgiving, you might consider adding some sage, thyme and nutmeg to the mix and skipping the smoked paprika. If you don’t want any heat, skip the cayenne. Have fun and make it your own!
- For a quicker glaze, or if you don’t have tomato paste, sub the broth and tomato paste for ketchup, and mix with the maple syrup, smoked paprika and cayenne (if using). Then glaze your chickpea meatloaf as directed, but no need to simmer the sauce first.
- Mash the chickpeas in a mixing bowl with a large fork, rather than tossing into a food processor to avoid overly mashing your ingredients. You don’t want overly processed ingredients here, or that may result in a mushy textured chickpea meatloaf.
- If you don’t have a convection bake oven, increase the oven temperature by 25 degrees and cook for the same amount of time. Watch carefully.
- Allow for extra time to let your loaf cool and set for at least 20 minutes in total. This will make your chickpea meatloaf much easier to slice and serve.
More chickpea recipes
- Chickpea Asparagus Frittata
- Secretly Healthy Chickpea Brownies
- Baked Chickpea Nuggets
- Socca Three Ways! (Gluten Free Chickpea Flatbread)
- 5 Minute Chickpea Salad Sandwich
- Smoky Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas
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For the Meatloaf
- 2 chia eggs
- 2 carrots peeled & finely chopped
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 3 cups canned chickpeas (2 -15 oz cans) drained & rinsed
- 5 tbsp tamari or soy sauce if not avoiding gluten
- 1 cup gluten free breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- salt & pepper to taste
- Prepare your chia eggs by combining 2 tablespoons of chia seeds with 6 tablespoons of water in a small bowl and set aside to thicken. Then line a loaf pan with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 400 degrees F convection bake.
- Add the chopped carrots and onion to a skillet and dry sauté for 5-7 minutes, until softened. Add a tablespoon or two of water if needed to prevent sticking.
- Meanwhile, add the chickpeas to a large mixing bowl and mash with a fork, without over mashing. You want most of the chickpeas crushed, but no need to make sure every single one is mashed.
- Then add the sautéed veggies along with the tamari, chia eggs and all the seasoning (but NOT your smoked maple glaze ingredients) to the same bowl and mix well. Make sure to mix thoroughly to distribute the chia eggs and seasoning very well. Then taste and add salt and pepper, if needed.
- Pour the mixture into your prepared loaf pan and press down firmly using your hands or a silicone spatural and smooth the top. Bake for 30 minutes and remove from the oven.
- While the loaf is baking, combine all the glaze ingredients in a small pot and bring to a medium boil and cook for 10 minutes, whisking often. This will thicken your sauce slightly.
- Brush about one third of the glaze over your meatloaf with a silicone brush and return to the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before transfering to a cuting board. Use the parchment paper to lift and transfer the loaf. Let cool on your cutting board for at least 10 minutes longer, and then slice and serve with the extra glaze.