Vegan Italian Meatloaf Cups

Vegan Italian Meatloaf Cups- made with marinara and Italian herbs, these little cups are packed full of plant protein and are super easy to make! (vegan + gluten-free)

Vegan Italian Meatloaf Cups- made with marinara and Italian herbs, these little cups are packed full of plant protein and are super easy to make! (vegan + gluten-free)

I’m aware that the title for this recipe sounds a little weird. I mean, what the heck is a meatloaf cup? And a vegan one, at that?

These vegan meatloaf cups are actually very similar to a lentil loaf but they’re made with pinto beans and are cooked in a muffin tin instead of a loaf pan. Obviously a loaf pan is easier to clean, however the muffin tin offers a texture advantage since it’s able to cook each portion individually. That means they not only hold together better and are also less likely to be mushy inside.

Plus they’re kind of cute to look at, right?

Vegan Italian Meatloaf Cups- made with marinara and Italian herbs, these little cups are packed full of plant protein and are super easy to make! (vegan + gluten-free)

This recipe is nostalgic for me because it was one of the first that I made when we started transitioning to a vegetarian lifestyle 13 years ago. I found it on a the cutest blog named Peas and Thank You by Sarah Matheny. Sadly, Sarah removed all of her content from the internet so many of her recipes can no longer be accessed. I’m still in shock that she did this, especially considering how successful she was, but I’m sure there was good reason for it.

The good news is that she wrote a cookbook which I happen to own and highly recommend. It’s chock full of easy plant-based recipes that are kid-friendly too. These Italian Meatloaf Cups aren’t in there but I assure you that kids would love these as well.

The best part is that you don’t even need a food processor to make them. All you do is finely chop garlic and onion, then combine them with mashed pinto beans, rolled oats, marinara and a few basic seasonings.

Vegan Italian Meatloaf Cups- made with marinara and Italian herbs, these little cups are packed full of plant protein and are super easy to make! (vegan + gluten-free)

Vegan Italian Meatloaf Cups- made with marinara and Italian herbs, these little cups are packed full of plant protein and are super easy to make! (vegan + gluten-free)

I typically eat about 2 cups with a side of broccoli and maybe some mashed or roasted potatoes. That means one batch of these could make 6 servings…but my husband eats 3 in one sitting so there’s that.

Similar to veggie burgers, they are perfect to prep ahead for a few easy meals during the week. You can freeze them too! I would recommend waiting to add the marinara to those that you plan to freeze. Allow them to cool to room temperature, seal in an airtight container then defrost and reheat with marinara in the oven when ready to serve.

Vegan Italian Meatloaf Cups

Yield: 12 cups

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

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Ingredients:

  • 2 (14-ounce) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cup rolled oats
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon vegan worcestershire sauce*
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast**
  • 1/4 cup chickpea flour (or oat flour)
  • 1/4 cup + 1/2 cup marinara sauce, divided
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt & pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, mash pinto beans with a fork or potato masher. Careful not to over mash, we aren’t looking for refried beans, but a nice chunky texture.

To the bowl, add finely chopped onion, oats, minced garlic, vegan Worcestershire, nutritional yeast, chickpea flour, 1/4 cup marinara, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

Scoop bean mixture into a muffin tin that has been lightly greased or sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 15-17 minutes, until edges are starting to brown. Top each muffin with a spoonful of marinara then return to oven for another 10-12 minutes, until muffins are firm and set. Allow to cool for several minutes, as they will firm up even more, before serving.

*Annie’s makes a delicious vegan worcestershire sauce. I have made them without the worcestershire and they are still good but I would include it for best results.

**The nutritional yeast offers a slightly cheesy flavor but I know not everyone likes it. If you want to leave it out, replace it with extra chickpea flour and maybe add another teaspoon of worcestershire for flavor.

I would recommend waiting to add the marinara to the cups that you plan to freeze. Allow them to cool to room temperature, seal in an airtight container then defrost and reheat with marinara in the oven (at 350°F for about 10-15 mins) when ready to serve.

Minimally adapted from Peas and Thank You

Did you try this recipe? Please let me know how it turned out by leaving a comment below or sharing a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #makingthymeforhealth. I love hearing your feedback