Vegan seitan meatloaf - this hearty, savoury vegan loaf is full of flavour, with a great meat-like texture.
It's perfect served as part of a roast with potatoes, veg and gravy; and leftovers make delicious sandwiches!
There's nothing wrong with a classic vegan lentil or bean based meatloaf, they are great in fact! But they just aren't quite the same as an old-fashioned, meat-based one.
This vegan seitan meatloaf comes much closer to a true meaty texture and flavour. It's moist but not mushy, and has a crumbly, mince-like texture, but doesn't fall apart when you slice it!
Serve it with mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables and gravy for a retro, comforting meal.
What Is Seitan?:
Seitan is made using vital wheat gluten, which is the main protein found in wheat.
It is what gives bread it's bouncy, chewy texture, though seitan has very little in common with bread. When cooked it has a chewy, meaty texture and it is high in protein, which makes it a great meat substitute for vegans.
In fact, wheat gluten has been eaten as an alternative to meat for centuries in China, it is not a new thing!
Wheat gluten used in combination with TVP/soy protein mince gives this vegan seitan meatloaf a meaty flavour and texture that is incredibly close to the real thing!
What Do I Need To make Vegan Seitan Meatloaf?:
Don't be put off by the long ingredients list! This recipe is easy to make and is totally worth it!
Vital wheat gluten: This is the essential ingredient for making seitan and cannot be substituted. It is the protein from wheat and looks just like flour, but when made into a dough and cooked it has a chewy, meaty texture. It can easily be found online.
TVP: Aka textured vegetable protein or dried soya protein mince. A meatloaf made with just seitan would be more of a slab, you need something else to help recreate the crumbly texture of mince. That is where TVP comes in.
It is sold under a few different names, but it is a dry mince made from soy that needs to be rehydrated to be used. Do not use a wet, ready to cook mince instead. This ingredient cannot be substituted.
Breadcrumbs: Along with the TVP, dry breadcrumbs help to create a mince-like texture. Don't use fresh breadcrumbs, they need to be dry.
Vegan worcestershire sauce: Traditional worcestershire sauce isn't vegan as it contains anchovies so make sure that you use a vegan version. I use Henderson's Relish and you can also make your own.
Miso paste: This adds savoury umami flavour. You could use 1 teaspoon of msg instead.
Soy sauce: Provides flavour and saltiness.
Stock: I use OXO meat-free beef stock to help add meaty flavour.
Porcini mushroom powder: I love adding this to seitan to add deep flavour. It can be left out if you can't get hold of any. I buy mine online.
Olive oil: This isn't just for frying the vegetables in, it is important to add a bit of fat to prevent the meatloaf from being dry. You can use any kind of oil that you like.
Barbecue sauce: This could be swapped for ketchup, but I think the BBQ sauce gives a better flavour. Make sure that the one you buy is vegan friendly as not all are. I use Levi Root's Reggae Reggae jerk BBQ sauce.
Vegetables: Finely chopped onion, celery, carrot and garlic and tomato puree add flavour, moisture and texture to the meatloaf.
Herbs and spices: nutritional yeast, mustard, mixed dried herbs, cayenne, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, garlic powder, salt and pepper are my go-to's. Feel free to vary these to suit you.
How To Make Vegan Seitan Meatloaf:
(Full measurements and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the page)
Mix together the boiling water, stock cube, tomato puree, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, mustard, miso paste and barbecue sauce.
Fry the finely chopped onion, celery, carrot and garlic in the olive oil for about 10 minutes until soft.
Add the nutritional yeast, porcini mushroom powder, mixed dried herbs, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, cayenne, garlic powder and plenty of black pepper and cook for about 30 seconds while stirring.
Add the wet ingredients and the TVP. Bring up to a simmer then remove from the heat and set aside for 20-30 minutes for the TVP to rehydrate.
Stir in the breadcrumbs and vital wheat gluten. Mix until no dry patches remain but do not knead the mixture.
Tip into a lined loaf tin and press the mixture down.
Cover with tin foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove the tin foil, spread a layer of barbecue sauce over the top of the meatloaf and bake for 10-15 minutes more.
I highly, highly recommend weighing out the ingredients using a digital scale rather than using the cup conversions. You will get a far better, more consistent result. Cups are a very innaccurate measuring system and you may end up with meatloaf that is either too wet or too dry.
Don't knead the dough as that will make the meatloaf tough; just mix it until it is fully combined and there are no dry patches.
The meatloaf will keep in the fridge for about 4 days and can be reheated in slices in the microwave.
Thinly sliced leftovers make great sandwiches!
I haven't tried freezing the meatloaf whole, but leftover slices freeze well.
Can I Make It Gluten-Free?:
No. The vital wheat gluten is THE essential ingredient to make seitan, it cannot be substituted so unfortunately this recipe cannot be made gluten-free.
More Vegan Comfort Food Recipes:
- Vegan Swedish meatballs
- Vegan lentil walnut bolognese
- Creamy vegetable rice soup
- Creamy vegetable chickpea soup
- Vegan mushroom risotto with truffle oil
- Chickpea, leek and mushroom pie
- Vegan chicken potato pie
- Creamy vegan mushroom pasta with truffle oil
- Vegan cottage pie
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Vegan Seitan Meatloaf
- 1 stock cube (OXO no meat beef)
- 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon tomato puree (paste)
- 1 Tablespoon vegan worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tablespoon miso paste
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- 60 g (¼ cup) barbecue sauce
- 450 g/ml (scant 2 cups) boiling water
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion very finely chopped
- 1 large celery stick very finely chopped
- 1 large carrot very finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
Herbs And Spices:
- 4 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 Tablespoon porcini mushroom powder
- 2 teaspoons mixed dried herbs
- 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
- 75 g (1 cup) TVP/dry soy protein mince
- 140 g (1 ¼ cups) dry breadcrumbs
- 180 g (1 ½ cups) vital wheat gluten
- 80 g (⅓ cup) barbecue sauce
- Mix together the stock cube, soy sauce, tomato puree, worcestershire sauce, miso paste, mustard, barbecue sauce and boiling water in a large jug.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan and cook the onion, celery, carrot and garlic over a gentle heat for about 10 minutes until soft.
- Add the nutritional yeast, mushroom powder, mixed herbs, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, cayenne, garlic powder and plenty of black pepper. Add the ¼ teaspoon of salt only if you prefer a saltier meatloaf. Omit it if you are sensitive to salt. Cook for about 30 seconds while stirring
- Add the wet ingredients and the TVP to the pan. Bring up to a simmer then remove from the heat and set aside for 20-30 minutes for the TVP to rehydrate.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/gas mark 4. Line a 2 lb loaf tin with baking parchment.
- Stir the breadcrumbs and vital wheat gluten into the TVP mixture. Mix until no dry patches remain but do not knead the mixture.
- Tip into the lined loaf tin and pack the mixture down evenly.
- Cover with tin foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove the tin foil, spread a layer of barbecue sauce over the top of the meatloaf and bake for 10-15 minutes more.
- See post above for tips, details and step-by-step photos.
- I highly, highly recommend weighing out the ingredients using a digital scale rather than using the cup conversions. You will get a far better, more consistent result. Cups are a very innaccurate measuring system and you may end up with meatloaf that is either too wet or too dry.
- Recipe inspired by Crafting Seitan by Skye Michael Conroy