This post may include affiliate links; for details, see our disclosure policy.

This vegetarian meatloaf is hearty and pleases even the most passionate of meat eaters! It’s a family favorite dinner party recipe.

Vegetarian Meatloaf

Every now and then you come across a recipe that is a cut above the rest – one that makes everything you’ve made before pale in comparison. We present: our Vegetarian Meatloaf recipe! This vegetarian meatloaf is made entirely of nuts, rice, mushrooms, onions, herbs, and cheese. Somehow, it all melds into an appearance and texture just like a meatloaf. And it tastes AMAZING. As in, better than the meat version. It’s perfect for dinner parties, as a vegetarian Thanksgiving main dish or for Christmas dinner. Ready to get started?

How does this vegetarian meatloaf have the flavor & texture of meat?

This meatloaf is incredibly hearty, the perfect vegetarian recipe for meat lovers. My mom is a huge carnivore, and she absolutely adores this recipe! She even requests to make it every time that we come home for a visit. (Literally.) It’s kind of mind-boggling how tasty this vegetarian meatloaf turns out. You’d almost swear from the texture that it’s an actual meatloaf! Here are some of the secrets:

  1. Mushrooms: Once the meatloaf is cooked, you won’t know there are any mushrooms. But they are essential to the savory flavor and a chewy texture.
  2. Toasted nuts. Another secret is a mixture of cashews and walnuts that are toasted in the oven until golden and fragrant. Combined with the sautéed mushrooms, toasted nuts add a subtle meaty flavor to the dish and give this nut loaf some texture.
  3. Swiss cheese & cottage cheese: Swiss cheese brings a subtle meatiness and cottage cheese brings in the perfect texture complement.
Vegetarian Meatloaf

How to make vegetarian meatloaf

This vegetarian meatloaf recipe requires a bit of time to make, but the end result is totally worth it! To make this veggie meatloaf, here are the basic steps (or go to the full recipe below):

  1. Cook the rice: Cook the brown rice. You can easily do this in advance, which cuts down on prep time.
  2. Toast the nuts: Toast walnuts and cashews in the oven, until golden brown.
  3. Saute the onion and mushrooms: Sauté mushrooms, onion, and garlic with herbs and spices.
  4. Mix: Combine the rice, nuts, and mushroom mixture with chopped parsley, cottage cheese, Swiss cheese, beaten eggs, salt, and pepper.
  5. Bake: Butter a loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and butter it again. Pour in the mixture and bake about 1 hour at 375 degrees, or until golden brown.

And that’s it! The veggie meatloaf will need to cool for about 20 minutes before being sliced, but it’s best enjoyed warm!

Storing vegetarian meatloaf

This vegetarian meatloaf stores very well as leftovers! Here’s what to do:

  • Refrigerate. Leftovers can be stored for a 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator.
  • Freeze. This vegetarian meatloaf freezes perfectly! Slice it into pieces and place it in a sealable container in the freezer. Reheat the meatloaf in a 375F oven.

Meatloaf sides

If you’re entertaining and looking for dinner party recipes, this crowd-pleasing vegetarian meatloaf is a fantastic fit for a dinner party. Our family makes it often over the holidays, as a vegetarian Thanksgiving recipe or for Christmas dinner. It always pleases meat eaters: even my meat and potatoes grandparents! Here are a few side dishes to serve with meatloaf:

This vegetarian meatloaf recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten free.

Note: We’ve get to find a way to make this into a vegan meatloaf. The eggs and cheese are crucial for adding flavor to this dish and holding everything together. If there’s a vegan meatloaf recipe you particularly enjoy, let us know in the comments! We hope to create a vegan meatloaf in the future!

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Vegetarian Meatloaf

Best Vegetarian Meatloaf

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 8 to 10 1x


This vegetarian meatloaf is hearty and pleases even the most passionate of meat eaters! It’s a family favorite dinner party recipe.


  • 1 ½ cups cooked brown rice 
  • 1 ½ cups walnuts
  • ½ cup cashews
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 ounces shiitake mushrooms
  • 3 ounces baby bella mushrooms (aka cremini)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 12 ounces Swiss cheese, grated
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Prepare the brown rice using Stovetop Brown Rice or Instant Pot Brown Rice. (You’ll need ½ cup dry rice to yield 1 ½ cups cooked; or you cook 1 cup dry rice and save the leftovers.)
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  3. Place 1 ½ cup walnuts and ½ cup cashews on a baking sheet and toast for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned. Allow to cool.
  4. Meanwhile, finely chop 1 onion and mince 3 cloves garlic. Clean and finely chop the mushrooms. Finely chop the 2 tablespoons fresh parsley. When the nuts have cooled, finely chop them with a knife or in a food processor.
  5. In a large skillet, heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, 1 teaspoon marjoram, 1 teaspoon thyme, and 1 teaspoon sage. Cook about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms are golden. Transfer to a large bowl.
  6. In a small bowl, lightly beat together 4 eggs.
  7. In the large bowl, combine the onion and mushroom mixture with the toasted walnuts and cashews, parsley, 1 ½ cups cooked rice, 1 cup cottage cheese, 12 ounces Swiss cheese, beaten eggs, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
  8. Butter a 9-inch loaf pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, and butter it again. Pour the mixture from the bowl into the pan.
  9. Bake 1 hour until golden brown. Let cool in pan for 20 minutes, then invert loaf and remove from pan. Slice into pieces and serve warm. Leftovers can be stored for a few day in the refrigerator or a few months in the freezer (cut into pieces). Reheat in a 375F oven.


Adapted from Martha Stewart

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Vegetarian Meatloaf, Meatloaf, Vegetarian, Nuts, Cashews, Walnuts, Cheese, Dinner Party Recipes, Entertaining

Looking for comfort food recipes? 

Aside from this vegetarian meatloaf, here are a few of our favorite comfort food recipes:

Last updated September 2019

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


    1. I have just made this with less than half of the cheese and I 7sed feta instead of cottage cheese
      No salt ….it’s wonderful and tasty

      1. Feta is incredibly high in salt, so although you didn’t add salt separately, you still got loads from your feta cheese.

      1. Thank you for a great recipe. I subbed tofu for the mushrooms as my husband really dislikes them. The loaf came out of the oven nicely browned but really juicy. I will be making it again. Awesome taste.

      1. This vegetarian meatloaf freezes perfectly! Slice it into pieces and place it in a sealable container in the freezer. Reheat the meatloaf in a 375F oven.

  1. That looks really great, I will definitely make this–I make a walnut-lentil version but this sounds better.

    1. My local store had regular white mushrooms an crimini mushrooms. Will this work or should I wait for shiitake mushrooms too?

        1. I halved the salt because was gonna give to baby, didn’t have cottage cheese, substituted with greek yogurt, no Swiss cheese – used a large handful of mozzarella I had. It smelled incredible while baking in the oven and still tasted great despite the few changes! My 11mo really loved it too!

        1. Hi Bryan! This recipe is vegetarian, which means it uses no meat products. If you’re looking for recipes with no animal products like eggs and cheese, look for recipes tagged “vegan”.

  2. YUM! This is similar to the pumpkin seed croquettes that my sister and I made for our vegan Thanksgiving! Thank you for sharing!

  3. So yummy. I made this (nervously) tonight and was worried about how it would taste since it makes so much. It exceeded my expectations! My meat-loving boyfriend declared it better than his meatloaf, which by the way, is delicious, as he went back for extra servings. I cut back a bit on the Swiss cheese to about 8oz. We’re (OK, I am) trying to start doing meatless-Mondays and am glad to have this on rotation. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. About 28 grams of fat (8 saturated) per serving. To go with 28 grams of protein. This is definitely one of the more hearty vegetarian dishes!

  4. Thanks for the quick reply. Yes it does look hearty. Is it possible to see the rest of the nutrient info like carbs, cholesterol, calorie, sodium, fiber, etc. Thanks

    1. I ran it though again with low-fat cheese (which is what we used). This is also for 8 servings, but it probably could be close to 10:

      Nutrition Facts
      Serving Size 163 g
      Amount Per Serving
      Calories 431 Calories from Fat 227

      Total Fat 25.3g
      Saturated Fat 3.4g
      Cholesterol 108mg
      Sodium 471mg
      Total Carbohydrates 37.5g
      Dietary Fiber 3.9g
      Sugars 2.1g
      Protein 17.4g
      Vitamin A 5% • Vitamin C 5%
      Calcium 8% • Iron 16%
      Nutrition Grade A-
      * Based on a 2000 calorie diet

    2. It’s also full of good for you natural ingredients too :) Our eating philosophy is to not worry as much about the nutrition facts as the ingredients, so we try to make sure we’re eating lots of natural foods (though of course we’d save something like this for occasional consumption). Also the loaf is pretty large, so you may be able to squeeze more than 8 servings out of it if necessary. Enjoy!!

  5. I was skeptical about this – I don’t usually like vegetarian fake-out versions of meat dishes. But this is a fantastic receipt! My husband talked about it constantly, made all of our neighbors and his co-workers try it, ate the leftovers every day for a week, and then asked me to make it again the next weekend. I think this will become a regular in our house!

    1. I can’t have peanuts or cashews. I’m not really sure about walnuts. I haven’t eaten many of them to know for sure. Are they essential to this recipe? Can I sub anything?

See More Comments