Easy Vegan Meatloaf Bites | Great For Appetizers! | Oil Free
I don’t know about you but Dillon and I are SO ready for post-pandemic life; we’re looking forward to going to parties and entertaining at home again. I doubt we’re alone in this, am I right?
Dillon will confirm that I’m someone who likes to plan, prepare, and organize, so in anticipation of upcoming social gatherings, we’re working on a series of videos focusing on making little hors d'oeuvres, finger foods, appetizers, and potluck staples.
You and I both know that everything is cuter is bites, so today we’re making some vegan, oil-free “Meatloaf Bites” that are so easy for serving and entertaining.
We enjoyed making this lentil-based meatloaf in small muffin-sized portions because each bite has that delicious, crunchy crust, which is one of the highlights of any meat(less) loaf. You’ll see what I’m talking about in the video:
Meer-Kwah or Mirepoix?
Dillon is the first one to exclaim, “I’m not a chef!” when he mispronounces a culinary term. It’s hilarious! But then he’ll turn around and cook something that knocks my socks off, like these Meatloaf Bites, and I immediately go back to caring less what he calls it.
This recipe starts by chopping up a mushroom mirepoix. Mirepoix (in case you don’t know) is a culinary term for diced carrots, celery, and onions mixed together. I don’t know why they needed to call something so simple a fancy French name?? But there you have it.
Mirepoix is a fantastic way to begin many savory dishes; the flavors complement and enhance nearly every other ingredient.
You know how much we love garlic, so naturally, we’re going to throw a couple of heaping tablespoonfuls in but because this recipe is reminiscent of a meat-based dish, we want to make sure we bump up the Umami flavor as well by adding in some chopped mushrooms.
If you’re not familiar with the term “Umami” (pronounced “ooh mommy”), it means “essence of deliciousness” in Japanese and is considered one of the core five tastes including sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. The taste is often described as “the meaty, savory deliciousness that deepens flavor”. Mushrooms are well-known as a meat-free way to impart this savory quality to recipes, so naturally we wanted them in this recipe.
Lots of big culinary terms getting thrown around today, right? You’ll almost be a chef yourself after finishing this blog!
Sidenote: You’ll want to make sure you chop up the mushroom mirepoix fairly small; it’ll help impart all the good flavors without leaving big chunks of vegetables in the final dish, which we don’t want. Our goal is for all the flavors to come together into one delicious and savory bite-sized experience.
Now, Sauté Away!
Sometimes when we tell people who don’t know about the whole food plant-based SOS-free lifestyle that we don’t use oil to sauté our vegetables, they look at us like we have three heads; the look on their face is truly priceless! But it’s true; oil is not required to make things taste good.
Oil isn’t what pulls the flavors from your favorite veggies into dishes, HEAT is! All you need is enough liquid in the pan to keep the veggies from sticking and add small amounts throughout cooking as needed to keep the veggies moving freely in your pan.
This is by far one of the EASIEST ways to cut saturated fat from your diet and start improving your health. Your taste buds really won’t notice but your body definitely will, in a very good way.
Because we’re wanting to bump up the savory flavors in this recipe, we recommend sauteéing with vegetable stock instead of water but if you don’t have any on hand, water will work just fine.
Once the veggies are cooked through, stir in the spices. We used a full teaspoon of cayenne pepper in the recipe because we do like it spicy, but feel free to adjust (or omit) this according to your taste preference.
We also used Italian seasoning because we think the flavor is complimentary but you could switch that out for poultry seasoning, curry powder, taco seasoning, or anything else to put your unique spin on it. We try to make all our recipes versatile and customizable.
After using water instead of oil to sauté, the liberal use of herbs, spices, and seasonings is our second favorite hack to make our meals healthier by eliminating added salt. When you have strong, bold flavors going on in a bite, it makes you miss the salt a lot less.
We have a few popular seasoning blends in our store such as Stardust,Fiesta Fire Blend, and Everything Bagel. We’re continuously working on developing new blends and expanding our product line, so be sure to come back frequently to see what’s new.
We also always announce new product releases via email, so if you want to be among the first to know about the exciting new things we’re cooking up, make sure you sign up for our emails by scrolling down to the bottom of this page.
For The Love of Lentils
We’ll finish our meatless meatloaf bites by cooking up a big batch of lentils.
We cook our lentils like we cook pasta; simply add them to a pot of boiling water, cook for 20 minutes, and strain. We don’t worry about measuring out the perfect amount of water for the lentils to soak up; we just throw the lentils in and strain them after they get tender and they’re perfect every time.
We eat lentils all week long so we make more than the 3 cups called for in the recipe. We do enjoy cooking but during the week, we want to be in the kitchen as little as we have to and batch cooking comes in handy for that. If you’re already making something then it’s just as easy to make twice as much of it and save time later.
Finishing The Bites
This recipe calls for a cup of oats pulsed in the food processor but you may want to add some non-pulsed oats in to soak up any remaining liquid and enhance the texture. After stirring in all the ingredients, the recipe should have a dough-like consistency and be dry enough to hold its shape. Simply divide the dough into some handy-dandy silicone muffin molds like the ones we use in the video and bake at 400℉ for 45 minutes. Make sure you let them cool for at least 15-20 minutes before popping them out of the molds.
Finally, we take the flavors to the next level by spreading some of our WYW Tomato Ketchup and WYW BBQ Sauceon top. It’s traditional to spread the sauce and pop them back in the oven to caramelize the sauce for an extra layer of flavor but we just couldn’t wait so we just put the sauce on top and tucked right in.
Either way, we thought these healthy vegan Meatloaf Bites were 100% delicious and we hope you’ll enjoy them too! Tag us on Instagram @wyw_community after you cook a batch and let us know what you think. Catch you next time! Xoxo Reebs
We still call these by their ancient namesake even though these bites are completely vegan!
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 3-4 mushrooms (we used baby bellas)
- 3 cups cooked lentils
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 2 tablespoons mustard
- 1 cup rolled oats, pulsed in food processor
- ½-1 cup rolled oats, as needed
Preheat oven to 400℉.
Saute the onions, carrots, celery, and mushrooms until tender and most of the liquid is cooked off.
Add the saute mixture and the rest of the ingredients into a large bowl and mix very well until incorporated. Add enough rolled oats to create a dry mixture.
Scoop the mixture out into a 4x3 silicone muffin pan.
Bake for 45 minutes or until solid. .