Vegetarian Mushroom “Meatloaf”

Our savory vegetarian mushroom “meatloaf” may not fool carnivores into thinking they’re eating meat — but they definitely won’t miss the meat, either.

Mushroom meatloaf modernizes meatloaf’s old image as a ’50s housewife specialty. We wanted to make a meatloaf that’s mouthwateringly meatless, because even vegetarians miss mom’s meatloaf sometimes.

Wondering how to make meatloaf without meat? The most important element is umami. That’s the savory, brothy flavor that makes meat taste so meaty. Here are some vegetarian foods with umami:

  • mushrooms
  • caramelized onions
  • soy sauce
  • eggs
  • sourdough bread
  • walnuts
  • ketchup

That’s why our easy “meatloaf” recipe contains all of the above; it’s basically an umami bomb in a loaf shape.

Thank goodness ketchup is vegetarian, because meatloaf just isn’t meatloaf without ketchup. We painted it on thick for that nostalgic glaze.

You can make your “meat” loaf vegan-friendly by soaking the bread in non-dairy milk and replacing the eggs with your favorite egg substitute, like flax eggs or chia eggs.

The best veggie meatloaf recipe should be a defy the expectations of meat-eaters and hit the spot for vegetarians — and ours does just that. The deep flavor isn’t overly mushroomy, with an Italian sausage-like seasoning. The texture is toothsome and tender, baked to a nice crust on the outside, without being crumbly, gummy, or chewy on the inside.

Need ideas for how to serve your new favorite meatloaf?

  • Slice and serve it with mashed potatoes, collard greens, or sweet peas.
  • Fry up slices for mushroom meatloaf sandwiches.
  • Crumble leftovers into a vegetarian frittata or on top of pizza.

Vegetarian Mushroom “Meatloaf”

Makes 1 (9 x 5-inch) loaf
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours


  • 2 cups cubed sourdough bread, crust removed (about 4 ounces, or four ½-inch thick slices)
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped onion (about 1 medium onion)
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt (or to taste), divided
  • 2 pounds mixed mushrooms, finely chopped (white button mushrooms, portabella, or cremini)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup ketchup, divided
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (thyme, sage, rosemary, or parsley)
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 cup walnuts, coarsely ground in a food processor
  • ½ cup instant oats
  • ½ cup dry bread crumbs
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice (about ½ lemon)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C.
  2. In a small bowl, cover the cubed sourdough bread with milk. Let it soak for 15 minutes, then squeeze the milk out of the bread cubes and set them aside.
  3. In a large pan over medium heat, add the olive oil. Add the onions and cook until they’re lightly caramelized, about 5 – 10 minutes.
  4. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until any liquid they release has evaporated and the mushrooms are lightly caramelized, about 10 – 12 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic, half of the ketchup, the chopped fresh herbs, and the soy sauce to the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot, until the garlic and herbs are fragrant.
  6. Remove the pan from heat, transfer the mushroom mixture to a large bowl, and let it cool slightly. Stir in the reserved milk-soaked sourdough bread, ground walnuts, oats, bread crumbs, lemon juice, lemon zest, eggs, salt, and pepper, until everything is well incorporated.
  7. Press the mixture into a greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and lightly mound the top. Brush it with the remaining ketchup.
  8. Bake the “meatloaf” for 1 hour or until it’s firm and cooked through. Place on a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

Want more vegetarian recipes for Meatless Monday? Our beet & feta burgers will make you forget about beef, and our Tuscan bean soup is an all-veggie belly-filler.

Or did you come here looking for meatloaf recipes for meat-eaters? Try out BBQ stuffed meatloaf or our muffin tin meatloaf “cupcakes” topped with whipped potatoes.

Recipe adapted from Tasting Table.