How to Make Vegan Meatloaf for a Meatless Turkey Day

Christina Grasso
How to Make Vegan Meatloaf for a Meatless Turkey Day
Photo: Oh She Glows

As someone who has never been much of a carnivore, Thanksgiving dinner has always been something I could easily do without. Sure, the company is wonderful, the brussels sprouts are awesome, and I love having a socially acceptable excuse to put Bailey’s in my coffee, but I’m not much of a pumpkin fan and I feel bad consuming turkey when they and I have so much in common; that is, we both wear feathers and are attracted to sparkles.

In any event, I have tried several different vegetarian recipes over the years for Thanksgiving, and so far this one is my favorite. It is also the only thing I’ve ever cooked that didn’t inflict digestive distress on another human.

MORE: This Healthy Swap Will Make Your Favorite Desserts Vegan-Friendly

Anyway, here it is, the glazed lentil walnut apple loaf adapted from the brilliant Oh She Glows.


  • 1 cup uncooked green lentils
  • 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped and toasted
  • 3 tbsp ground flax + 1/2 cup water
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 cups diced sweet onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1/3 cup peeled and grated sweet apple (use a firm variety)
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme (or 3/4 tsp dried thyme)
  • salt & pepper, to taste (I use about 3/4 tsp sea salt + more Herbamare)
  • red pepper flakes, to taste

Balsamic Apple Glaze:

  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp apple butter (or unsweetened applesauce in a pinch)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

MORE: 5 Foolproof Ways Not to Screw Up Thanksgiving This Year

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Rinse and strain lentils. Place lentils into pot along with 3 cups of water (or veg broth). Bring to a boil and season with salt. Reduce heat to medium/low and simmer, uncovered, for at least 40-45 minutes. Stir frequently & add touch of water if needed. The goal is to over-cook the lentils slightly (see pictures in post). Mash lentils slightly with a spoon when ready.

2. Toast walnuts at 325F for about 8-10 minutes. Set aside. Increase oven temp to 350F.

3. Whisk ground flax with water in a small bowl and set aside.

4. Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sautée the garlic and onion for about 5 minutes. Season with salt. Now add in the diced celery, shredded carrot and apple, and raisins. Sautée for about 5 minutes more. Remove from heat.

5. In a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients together. Adjust seasonings to taste.

6. Grease a loaf pan and line with parchment paper. Press mixture firmly into pan. Whisk glaze ingredients and then spread half on top of loaf. Reserve the rest for a dipping sauce.

7. Bake at 350F for 40-50 minutes, uncovered. Edges will be lightly brown. Cool in pan for at least 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. I usually wait until loaf is cool before slicing.

This is supposed to make one loaf, but if you’re like me, the whole thing will just fall apart and you can eat it in crumbles. I also usually sprinkle the top with edible glitter, but that’s optional. Enjoy!