Introduction: Meat(NOT) Loaf, Vegetarian Loaf Just Like Mom Used to Make

Picture of Meat(NOT) Loaf, Vegetarian Loaf Just Like Mom Used to Make

A tasty dish for those "meat and potato" vegetarians such as myself. You know, we grew up on meat and potatoes dishes but no longer eat the meat part of the equation. But sometimes you still long for a comforting plate of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, maybe some corn on the cob. Yum!

Definitely a dish for those who are vegetarian for ethical or religious reasons, this is not the healthiest of health foods. It is one of my (meat eating) husband's favorite dishes I make though! Also, I use eggs in mine but it could be made vegan by using an egg substitute.

Step 1: Gather Ingredients

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Equivalent of 1 pound ground-style burger alternative, See note below*
1 medium Onion, diced small
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup prepared bread crumbs, plain or Italian seasoned
2 large eggs (or egg substitute)
1-2 tablespoons of water if the mixture is too dry

large mixing bowl
spatula or spoon
loaf pan

*This could be Gardenburger or Boca crumbles, which are available at most supermarkets, or a dehydrated-style crumble like Dixie Diners Club Beef(Not!) or Nutlettes, which are available at health food stores. TVP (textured vegetable protein) is also available in the bulk food section of some grocery stores. If you use the dehydrated variety, rehydrate per instructions.

Step 2: Preheat Oven and Chop Onion

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Preheat your oven to 350 degrees (Fahrenheit).

Dice the onion small. I like to use one of those plunger choppers but a knife works nicely too.

Step 3: Mix All Together

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Mix all ingredients but the ketchup together in a bowl. It may seem dry depending on the bread crumbs you've used. If it doesn't stick together, sprinkle with water and mix together until it combines.

Step 4: Pan and Bake

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Smoosh your mixture into a loaf pan. While I don't like silicone bake ware for baked goods, I like them for this application because metal tends to dry the fake meat and create a chewy crust. In real meatloaf, you would enjoy that crispy outer layer, but with a meat(not) loaf, the more moisture throughout, the better.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until the center is set (not smooshy).

Step 5: Add Ketchup

Picture of Add Ketchup

Remove from oven and add ketchup drizzle on top. Replace in oven and bake 5 minutes longer at 350 degrees. We are finished cooking the meatloaf but this return to the oven will heat the ketchup and turn it the consistency of honey.

Step 6: Yum!

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Serve with potatoes, maybe a salad and pie for dessert! Remove apron and call the family to dinner.

Use it up
If there are any leftovers, this makes a great meatloaf sandwich. My favorites are either cold on white bread with more ketchup or a hot open-face on toast with gravy!

Variations on a theme

TexMex Meat(NOT) Loaf
replace seasoned salt with taco seasoning
replace ketchup with salsa

Take-Out Meat(NOT) Loaf
Replace italian breadcrumbs with Panko breadcrumbs
Add 1/2 cup chopped water chestnuts to mixture
Replace ketchup with Sweet and Sour sauce

Pizza Meat(NOT) Loaf
Add 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning and one green bell pepper (chopped) to the mixture
Replace ketchup with marinara sauce


AndrewT37 (author)2015-10-10

Meat eaters and health nuts love to point fingers at how unhealthy vegetarians and vegans can be. Ever consider its about compassion and not health for some people? Regardless, it would be pretty darn difficult for a vegan to be less healthy than your average meat eater eating factory meat everyday.

grannyjones (author)2015-05-16

--and the debate continues. As usual, to each his own. Grateful to be an omnivore.

kaijura (author)2013-10-23

Sounds DELICIOUS! You're right - there're a lot of us veggies out there who aren't veggie for their health but for other reasons - such as plant haters maybe? I'm always greatful for a new recipe for wonderfully comforting foods like not-meat loaf and anything that goes with potatoes is okay in my book

a4dable (author)2013-08-22

Almost every ingredient contaains GMO's (genetically modified organisms) which may be harmful to your health. Monsanto says they are not because they don't want to harm their financial bottom line! Educate yourself, your body will thank you!

a4dable (author)2013-08-22

TVP - icludes MSG
Seasoning Salt (natural Flavor) -
Seasoned bread crumbs - MSG & Gluten
Egg substitute - more chemicals
Catsup on top - High fructose corn syrup
Gardenburger - MSG in the form of natural seasoning

I admire you for choosing not to eat animal products; but, do yourself a favor and eat ORGANIC!

a4dable (author)2013-08-22

You won't eat meat but you put all of those artificial flavorings and toxins in your body????????? Maybe you should choose Organic?

stealthy_ninja_1 (author)2012-05-29

oohhhh this looks sooo good !
when i was a carnavor *shudders* i use to love meat loaf but now
im a vegitarian i cant eat it so im glade i can eat a versian without murdering an inosent animal YAY thanks i think i will try it for lunch today!

AnarchistAsian (author)2008-11-06

i am a meat and potatoes kind of guy.

cooked rare.

i promise to never, EVER become a vegitarian...

Take a walk through a mass production beef farm. You might just throw up a little. Hunted and home farmed, or small farmed meats I support, though I don't eat them. If I were to eat an animal, I would definitely make sure it was healthy at the time of death. No Bovine Growth Hormones, Steroids, or Anti-biotics for me.

no, i wouldn't throw up a little. I WOULD THROW UP ALL OVER THE PLACE, UNTIL MY EYES BLEED.

look, i hate mass production beef farms as much as the next guy, but it's not really something you can avoid all the time. I eat all-natural meat alot, but not always... I would say a growing boy needs meat, but i know you can get protein other ways....

Well thank you for actually being informed then! I live in Michigan. Lots of contact with northerners, hicks, and dairy farmers. The majority of which are pretty ignorant. Most cook their burgers to char bricks, and their steaks to hot dry lumps of gray. I don't strive to eliminate meat in everyone's diet. I just try to educate others that the mass production stuff is disgusting by taste, ethics, and morality. A cow that cannot stand is diseased, and not fit for human consumption.

woah... woah... i'm from utah, that's north-ish, alot of those people you talked about may be well informed, and be more natural. Some people just want to make money, others want to do the right thing... And also, if you think about it, it's better for the animal to be eaten than the meat be wasted... Bad sales would cause a decrease in production, but... i don't know, i just eat meat....

bettbee (author)AnarchistAsian2009-08-13

Actually some of us think that it's better for the animal to be given a respectful burial as people are. And for no new animals to be bred just to be killed.

amar55in (author)bettbee2011-05-29

Quite true, animals have emotions and feel pain too, they too love their children, love to live and fear death.They have every right to live.Think what would you have done if you were in the animals place, they deserve mercy, protein are found in soybeans too. Please say no to meat eating.

jsharpe3 (author)amar55in2011-12-12

and a little plus for the hunger and world poor health could be solved by everyone growing food.

im from holland and i hang out with anarchists all the time, most of them are vegans, party's and concerts in squatted buildings rarely serve non vegan food, ie been to a anarchist festival where they didn't serve meat. plus a lot of vegans are anarchists (or at least from the left wing) i don't think you will fit in.

I dont like your comment, it is elitist & it implies that anyone who is different is not fit. I believe your opinion is no more valubale than my own & vice versa. Many of us nowadays are taught to respect those that are different from us. You & I are different, I respect you but I completely think your comment is full of judgment.

what do you mean? i just think he would fit in a anarchist community when he eats meat and claims to be informed:"it's better for the animal to be eaten than the meat be wasted" when he clearly doenst know anything, animals are bred in way to small cages, they get unhealthy food and antibiotics all the time. animals get to eat stuff people in 3e world countries would eat. its a huge waste to eat animals.
i could go on for days dicussing this but i feel like you are a person who's just too afraid to admit he doesnt respect me.

bettbee (author)AnarchistAsian2009-08-13

A growing boy does not need meat! And neither does a full-grown one. Just ask Olympiad Carl Lewis or any of a number of other world-class vegan and vegetarian athletes! That being said, while I wish you didn't eat meat, I recognize that it is your right to do so. I'm glad you eat the more local organic product as much as you can. If you will go see "Food, Inc." you may wish to go veg on those occasions when you can't find the local organic product. Did you know that soy and eggs are both as high quality proteins as meat? (In their whole food form, that is.)

AnarchistAsian (author)bettbee2009-08-22

yeah i know, that's why i said i would say a growing boy would need meat

if you have the means to find it look up a documentary called "food inc." it really changed my view of food.

this sounds great i have not tried it yet but will soon. im a veggie and can never find veggie recipes so thank u for posting one. :)

caityjay (author)2009-09-19

Random tip: When my mom makes meatloaf, she mixes the ketchup with some brown sugar. It makes delicious topping (don't knock it til you try it!). I like your variations! I'm going to have to try this, thanks!

LasVegas (author)2007-07-08

No critique against the Instructable. It's written and put together very well. This sounds like it would taste like every other meat substitute I've ever dared to try. Stuffing! For me, stuffing without poultry or pork, just doesn't work. I've never understood the need for vegetarians to substitute meat. If one doesn't like meat, why try to imitate it? I had a vegan girlfriend once (very short relationship) and she made me a very good Stroganoff without meat; Basically just mushrooms, butter, sour cream and spices on noodles. It was quite tasty and didn't try to fake the beef.

lemonie (author)LasVegas2007-07-08

I agree. There's something wrong with meat-substitutes, like there's something wrong with alcohol-free beer. One of my girlfriends made me a mushroom stroganoff, confused the paprika with chilli powder (she was devastated) but I ate it anyway... L

bettbee (author)lemonie2009-08-13

There's something wrong with it? LOL! Maybe there is something wrong with you! :-D You sound judgmental and nosy, frankly. If someone does not wish to either kill animals or get drunk, you have a problem with them enjoying the sensations and tastes without the bad results? Sheesh.

lemonie (author)bettbee2009-08-13

You didn't understand the comment (which I posted more than 2 years ago). I object to people making e.g. "vegetarian sausage-mix" as substitutes to meat, if you're a vegetarian why would you want to eat things that are aiming to be like meat but not? The point is: if you're not eating meat why eat things that are specifically designed to resemble meat? Not the people, but the products people sell.


bettbee (author)lemonie2009-08-13

I'm not misunderstanding at all. And the time you made it seems irrelevant. My point is that many of us learned to like the taste of meat as a child. Why should we give up a taste we like when we can have it without committing acts of violence against animals? The point, in case you still haven't gotten it, is that fake meats are LIKE meat but they are NOT meat. Most vegetarians don't eat meat so as to avoid harming animals. Get it? We know that no innocent animal died for our pleasure but we can still enjoy tastes that are similar to those we learned to enjoy as kids. Every time someone pulls this old argument out it amazes me. I think it's just a way for people who feel threatened by vegetarians to be critical of something they clearly know nothing about.

lemonie (author)bettbee2009-08-13

Las Vegas is long gone - you'll have no joy trying to argue with that guy - do check the dates on these things. And I'm not interested in bickering about these things, so there would be no point in trying me another time. L

bettbee (author)lemonie2009-08-14

Las Vegas? What does Las Vegas have to do with anything? You're not making sense. Anyway - and this is not for your benefit, but for others why may come along and read all this, and to be completely clear: it is completely unreasonable for someone to object to other people using meat substitutes from some misguided purist philosophy. Meat substitutes are healthier, less cruel, and cost less than actual meat, and are better for the environment. It takes huge amounts of water, grain, oil, pesticides, and other resources, to create one pound of beef. So please, folks, enjoy a delicious meat substitute today and enjoy the feeling of not actually making things worse!

LasVegas (author)bettbee2009-08-14

Give me a break! It's my post that you're adding responses to! I didn't bring up an "old argument." I asked a legitimate question and received legitimate answers. There was no argument. There was no finger pointing. Adding angry responses to this very, very old discussion does nothing to further your cause.

lemonie (author)bettbee2009-08-14

Yesterday you posted comments as replies to comments the user LasVegas made more than 2 years ago (on this page) - he has gone, he won't reply.

You'd do far better in sharing your philosophy by posting some good stuff, see for example VeganWytch


Stercus Fit (author)LasVegas2007-07-08

I am by no means a vegetarian or vegan as I eat both meat and dairy. However, I definitely prefer the taste of vegan food and its substitutes over regular meat and dairy (I don't know why though). I can't speak for anyone else, but I definitely prefer tofurkey over actual turkey and Tofutti brand ice cream (it tastes like mousse to me!) over real ice cream. PS: If your ex was a vegan, I doubt she used real sour cream -- it may have been a sour cream substitute if sour cream was indeed used. :)

LasVegas (author)Stercus Fit2007-07-08

I guess there are different levels of vegans. She had no problem with dairy. Just the killing of animals for food.

Stercus Fit (author)LasVegas2007-07-08

There are many different levels of vegetarianism. Your ex sounds like a vegetarian, because they don't eat meat but are okay with dairy. Vegans don't eat meat or anything that comes from animals (eggs, milk, milk products, etc...). I know there are a bunch of other levels of vegetarianism (eg: those who will not eat meat or dairy, but are okay with eggs), but these are the only two I know much about. :/

LasVegas (author)Stercus Fit2007-07-08

You're right... I stand corrected. She was a vegetarian. What confuses me is vegetarians that won't eat meat, but think fish and seafood is okay. What? If they live in water, they have no feelings?

Stercus Fit (author)LasVegas2007-07-09

I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure vegetarians aren't supposed to eat fish or other types of seafood. They are technically forms of meat, forms of life, so I think that goes into the different types of vegetarians again... I agree with beastbunny, everyone has their own reasons for their food choices. I chose not to eat fish when I was younger because I loved watching them swim... until health issues made me reconsider what meats I ate and forced me into new options. Why I never had a problem eating any other sort of meat, I don't know. It boils down to personal preferences, everyone has their own. That's why they created the different types of vegetarianism. :/

miaspamm (author)Stercus Fit2009-02-28

Your right about it being odd to eat fish and seafood. But the thing is fish have very, very important types of fat and oils, that you can't get from other food. The thing about fish is that is so darn healthy for you. I stick with fish oil, you get the important stuff, but don't have to eat the real thing.

bettbee (author)miaspamm2009-08-14

Actually you can get the same beneficial oils from flax, walnuts and other sources.

From fish you also get toxic stuff like mercury, PCBs, and other charming substances. Additionally, unless you get the right kinds of fish, you are contributing to the eventual overfishing and death of our oceans.

Please take a look at for a list of the better ones to buy.

bettbee (author)LasVegas2009-08-13

Vegetarians do not eat fish. Posers who WANT to call themselves vegetarians do. Oops, should have said "pescatarians." I find this ridiculous, not that those people give a flying reproductive act at a rolling donut what I think LOL

beastbunny (author)LasVegas2007-07-09

I think everyone has different reasons for the food choices they make. Perhaps the fish-eaters, or pescetarians as they are known, choose not to eat red meat or poultry for health reasons. Or religious reasons. Maybe they eat seafood and poultry but not pork or beef because once their grandmother force fed them bacon cheeseburgers for two days straight. Not everyone is vegetarian because they care about animal welfare just like not everyone who eats meat is completely ignorant of animal welfare. I'm no veg natzi, whatever people want to eat, let them eat. I make my own choices, you make your own and let's be happy we are both able to choose!

bettbee (author)LasVegas2009-08-13

Nah, vegans by definition do not eat anything at all that comes from an animal. Your girlfriend is a vegetarian. Not that it matters.

beastbunny (author)Stercus Fit2007-07-08

Or real butter for that matter.

beastbunny (author)LasVegas2007-07-08

As I said in the intro, when one is raised on meat, you sometimes long for the comfort food of your childhood, even if you gave up meat long ago for ethical, religious or other reasons. For me, it's not an everyday thing, just when I get a particular jones for Hamburger Helper or fried chicken. I guess I kind of like stuffing. :)

HamO (author)beastbunny2007-07-09

"get a particular jones"? I not familiar with the term.

beastbunny (author)HamO2007-07-09

Oh, it means to desire or need very much.
jones on urban dictionary

bettbee (author)beastbunny2009-08-13

The origin of "jones" originally meant the craving of an addict for heroin. It has, as beastbunny has noted, been expanded to mean any craving.

bettbee (author)LasVegas2008-06-05

Many vegetarians just don't want to contribute to hurting animals. It's not about the taste of meat.

Pazzerz (author)2009-03-26

I don't care much for the TVP, but I did find a trick to make it taste MUCH better. Depending on your degree of vegetarianism, try re hydrating it with beef bullion cubes or crystals in the water. It does give the TVP a much more pleasant taste in my opinion.

bettbee (author)Pazzerz2009-08-13

Well then it's not vegetarian! The whole point of meat replacements is that they don't contain dead animal . . . However I will say that there are some decent mock meat bullion cubes out there which would do the same thing and still be vegetarian. Another tip; if you must eat TVP, get the organic variety. It won't contain vestigial solvents from the defatting process.

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