Try this vegan quinoa 'meatloaf' as the centerpiece of your meat-free Thanksgiving

Rene Johnson
This quinoa 'meatloaf' can make a great vegan centerpiece.

About the recipe

We love this "meatloaf" with either mashed potatoes or rice. It just depends on what’s in our pantry. Fresh green beans and salad take this meal to another level.

This recipe comes from Blackberry Soul chef Rene Johnson, author of From My Heart to Your Table: Vegan and Traditional Soul Food Cookbook.


For the loaf:

3 cups cooked quinoa (follow the directions on the package)

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped bell pepper

2 cups fresh cooked spinach

1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans roughly chopped (save the juice)

1 teaspoon fresh garlic

1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tablespoon ground flaxseeds

1 1/2 teaspoon salt 

1 teaspoon granulated onion 

1 teaspoon granulated garlic 

1 teaspoon pepper 

For the gravy:

1/2 cup olive oil 

1/2 cup flour 

2 1/2 cups water 

1 1/2 teaspoon salt 

1 teaspoon pepper 

1 teaspoon paprika 

5 sprigs fresh thyme 

1 teaspoon vegan chi’ken bouillon (optional) 


For the loaf: Drain garbanzo beans reserving the juice in a small bowl, roughly chop chickpeas.

In the bowl with garbanzo bean juice, add flaxseeds, stirring until well blended, about 5 minutes. Mixture will start to thicken and become slimy. This will act as your binding agent for your meatloaf. Set aside and let sit for 15 minutes.

In large mixing bowl add cooked quinoa, onions, bell peppers, cooked spinach, roughly chopped garbanzo beans, garlic, breadcrumbs and olive oil. Mix well with either your hands or a large spoon. Mixture will be sticky.

Spray large baking dish with non-stick spray. Using a large spoon, scoop mixture into the baking dish. Place scoops in the middle of baking dish. Each scoop will touch the other, which will allow you to form a loaf. Place in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, set aside.

For the gravy: Heat oil in large skillet on high. Add flour to oil stirring constantly, lower heat to medium-high, stirring constantly until flour mixture begins to turn a golden brown.

Important: Add water stirring constantly, making sure to break down any lumps. Cook on medium-low for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Make sure your gravy does not stick or burn. Gravy will come to a slow bubble and thicken. Taste for salt preference.

Pour gravy over cooked meatloaf, cover with foil and cook in oven for 15 minutes making sure gravy penetrates the meatloaf. Remove from oven.