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Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a skillet over medium heat, cook mushrooms until almost all the liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, blend about half the walnuts to almost a powder consistency in a food processor.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine lentils, herbs, walnuts, mushrooms, egg, salt, and pepper. Stir until combined. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
When the mix is ready, form into balls and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve on spaghetti with marinara sauce and Parmesan cheese.
Meaty—with no meat at all—savory and oh-so-satisfying, these delicious, lentil-based vegetarian meatballs give regular meatballs a run for their money.
9 Vegetarian Meatball Recipes Because Vegballs Should Be a Thing
Meatballs are a tried-and-true comfort food and sound even better in the chilly winter months when all we need is something warm, stat. And since we don&rsquot think vegans/vegetarian/gluten-free folks should be deprived of such a hygge-producing dinner, we rounded up tons of meatless versions to choose from that will have everyone raving about vegballs (yeah, we&rsquore making it a thing!).
Many of them are still full of protein thanks to ingredients such as beans and quinoa, and with flavor combos like buffalo and coconut curry, we&rsquore dying to try them all. Throw &rsquoem over pasta or zoodles, put them in a soup, or serve as an appetizer. Your veg friends will thank you.
1. Coconut Curry Tempeh Meatballs
Part meatball, part falafel, these vegan tempeh balls get a Mediterranean twist thanks to chickpea flour. Combine tomato sauce, coconut milk, and curry powder to make a creamy sauce to soak them in.
2. Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Meatballs
Vegan Parmesan is kind of a game-changer for vegan/dairy-free eaters, and it kills it in these fresh vegballs. Imagine a caprese sandwich, but with sharp Parmesan in place of mozzarella. Panko crumbs bind the balls together, while flax egg and chickpeas thicken &rsquoem up.
3. Ricotta Zucchini Meatballs
Looking for a way to use up some extra zucchini floating around? These cheesy, veggie-packed balls mix the green veg with onions, ricotta, garlic, and panko bread crumbs.
4. Buffalo Cauliflower Meatballs
Buffalo sauce is always a winner in our book, and these spicy cauliflower-and-quinoa-based vegballs are no exception. Hot sauce, dairy-free butter, garlic, and chili powder do the trick. We love these on their own or served as an app on game day.
5. Eggplant Meatballs in Marinara
Why go through all the effort of making eggplant parm when you can whip up these meatballs instead? The recipe is vegetarian and gluten-free, and mimics the classic Italian dish by using Parmesan, gluten-free Italian bread crumbs, and fresh herbs.
6. Black Bean Meatballs
Use these hearty black bean balls as the base for your next Buddha bowl. The sweet-meets-tart tamarind sauce brings out big flavor, while flaxseeds and beans will keep you full all afternoon. Serve with broccoli, buckwheat, and red onion, or your favorite combo of grain + veggies.
7. Cauliflower and Quinoa Vegetarian Meatballs
We like this recipe because it&rsquos customizable and super versatile&mdashthe only ingredients you for sure need are cauliflower, eggs, olive oil, and salt. Choose between quinoa or brown rice, then add something to bind the ingredients: Oat flour, almond meal, or bread crumbs all work. Serve in a creamy masala sauce or add &rsquoem to a salad&hellip these vegballs would taste good with pretty much anything.
8. Spicy Asian Vegan Meatballs
Do you ever stand in front of an open cupboard, hoping a meal will magically appear? These spicy meatballs are kind of like that. Most of the ingredients are things you probably already have lying around, but somehow combine to bring on some major taste.
9. Italian Lentil Quinoa Balls
Meatless Mondays have never tasted so good. Cook green lentils and quinoa, and mix with sunflower seeds (blend them in a food processor first to make into a powder), olive oil, onion, and garlic, plus some fresh basil and Italian seasoning. Roll into balls and cook in a pan for 8-10 minutes. Hearty, Italian-style meatballs are all yours, veg friends.
Using the Traits feature has already again, sparked some fun conversation within our families. For example: not liking cilantro is a genetic trait! Do you think you have it? Both my parents do, since we get dirty looks every time we sprinkle cilantro! Keep reading for some of Alex and my interesting traits:
- Cleft chin: Yes. This was spot on!
- Male hair loss: No. Looks like his silver locks are here for a while.
- Cilantro aversion: No. Which explains why we eat so much cilantro!
- Bitter taste perception: Sensitive. Alex can taste bitter very strongly (and loves bitter flavors like coffeeand celery).
- Savory taste perception: Not sensitive. Meaning, Alex needs lots of savory in order to taste it…which is exactly the case with these Norwegian vegetarian meatballs with vegetarian gravy.
- Freckles: Yes! And it was spot on. I’ve never loved my freckles, but knowing they’re a genetic marker just like anything else makes them more interesting.
- Cilantro aversion: Also no, like Alex! Luckily he and I match here and make many delicious recipes with cilantro.
- Bitter taste perception: Extra sensitive. I’m a “taster” of bitter flavors. The Traits app predicted I’d shy away from Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and kale–but these are some of my favorite foods!
- Savory taste perception: Not sensitive…which also matches Alex! Luckily our palates are a perfect match, which helps to explain why we work so well together developing recipes.
How to get AncestryDNA?
You can purchase AncestryDNA with Traits for yourself or as a gift for $119 ($99 basic kit + $19.99 for traits). Existing AncestryDNA customers can upgrade to this new feature for $19.99. Click here to order. And stay tuned for a huge Black Friday sale coming, too.
- 1/2 cup short-grain brown rice
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup dried French green lentils
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, roughly chopped (3 cups)
- 1/2 small red onion, roughly chopped (1/2 cup)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 1 1/2 cups fresh vegan breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Bring rice and enough water to cover by 3 inches to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat, season with 1 tablespoon salt, and simmer 20 minutes. Add lentils and continue to simmer until lentils are tender, about 27 minutes. Drain and let cool.
Meanwhile, pulse mushrooms and onion in food processor until minced. Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Add 1 tablespoon oil and mushroom mixture. Cook stirring occasionally until mushrooms have released most of their moisture and become golden around the edges of the pan, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl stir in flaxseed. Let sit at least 5 minutes. Mix in lentils, brown rice, breadcrumbs, and parsley. Stir, pressing mixture against side of bowl with spoon to break up some of the lentils until the mixture clumps together. Season with salt and pepper.
With wet hands, form mixture into 21 compact meatballs, each 1 1/2-inch in diameter. Chill at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
Wipe out skillet heat over medium high. Add remaining 3 tablespoons oil and meatballs. Cook turning frequently until browned all over, turning heat to medium if the pan starts to get too hot, about 10 minutes. Serve warm with pasta and sauce of your choice.
- Avocado Oil
- Veggies &ndash Onion, mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes.
- Garlic Cloves
- Seasoning &ndash Salt, pepper, Italian blend herbs
- Vegetarian Worcestershire Sauce
- Parmesan Cheese (optional)
- Sauté your aromatics &ndash In a skillet over medium heat, cook your onions and garlic.
- Make your meatball mixture &ndash In a food processor, add in sautéed mushrooms, seasoning, panko, chickpeas, tomatoes and Worcestershire sauce. Process until the mixture is like ground meat. Then add in whisked eggs.
- Cook &ndash After resting the mixture in the fridge for 15 mins, scoop out even amounts of meatball mix and add to a skillet, 2-3 mins per side, cooking in batches if needed.
- Add sauce &ndash once the meatballs are done add in the sauce, stirring occasionally until it bubbles. Simmer for another 8 mins.
- Garnish serve and enjoy!
What You’ll Need
The base starts with some TVP, or Textured Vegetable Protein, which sounds super technological and weird, but it’s kinda like dried bits of tofu. This gives our vegan meatballs that ground meat, crumbly texture.
Sidenote: If you’re looking for more TVP recipe ideas, check out our homemade vegan burgers or chili!
We also added a bit of vital wheat gluten to help bind them together and produce that subtle, stringy, meat-like consistency that REALLY takes these vegan meatballs to the next level.
If both of these products sound foreign to you, fret not. We find them at many mainstream grocery stores, usually Bob’s Red Mill brand, for a very good price. We mostly order them on Amazon because ordering things in my pajamas will always beat leaving the house. Always.
The farmers behind it all
Do you know the names of your farmers? Maybe for produce, but how about foods like…oats? Get this: the farmer of the oats used in this vegan spaghetti and meatballs recipe is Eldon Kebernik from Alberta, Canada. I just watched a video of him talking about his passion for organic farming! Kind of surreal, right?
This kind of magic comes from One Degree Organic, the only business I know that is this intentional and thoughtful in sourcing quality ingredients from family farmers. They bring food from a farm to your table so there’s only one degree of separation between you and person who grew your food. And they’re a family business too! My friend Sondra’s family runs it, and her son Andrew is very close in age to Larson. (Side note: Larson loves looking at his internet friend Andrew on their organic cereal boxes.)
Preheat oven to 350°. Working in 3 batches, pulse mushrooms in a food processor until no pieces are bigger than ¼". Transfer to a lightly oiled parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Wipe out and reserve food processor.
Add chickpeas to sheet and toss to combine. Bake, tossing once halfway through, until chickpeas are slightly darkened and mushrooms have shrunk and are browned, 35–40 minutes. Let cool. Keep oven on.
Meanwhile, bring chile, soy sauce, honey, and 1 Tbsp. vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened and foamy on top, about 10 minutes. Let cool.
Pulse eggs, ginger, garlic, panko, chopped scallion greens, ⅓ cup cilantro, and 3 Tbsp. oil in food processor until fully incorporated. Add chickpea-mushroom mixture and 1 tsp. salt and pulse until no pieces are bigger than ¼". Transfer chickpea mixture to a large bowl and chill at least 25 minutes to firm up.
Oil a new sheet of parchment and place on baking sheet. Roll chickpea mixture with your hands into golf-ball-size balls (about 1½"). Arrange balls on prepared sheet and brush with about one-quarter of spicy soy glaze mixture. Bake meatballs until firm and slightly darkened, 18–20 minutes.
Meanwhile, toss celery (with leaves) and remaining scallions, ½ cup cilantro leaves, and 2 Tbsp. vinegar in a medium bowl season with salt.
Arrange meatballs on a platter and drizzle with sauce. Scatter celery salad over. Serve remaining sauce alongside.
Do Ahead: Soy glaze can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Meatballs can be formed 2 days ahead. Cover with plastic wrap on a rimmed baking sheet and chill.
How would you rate Vegetarian Meatballs with Soy-Honey Glaze?
I made these for my daughter who is on her way to becoming vegetarian. I followed the recipe exact and I think they are delicious. I am sure she will be asking me to make them again.
I made these and they were amazeballs. But I didn't really follow the recipe. Since fresh shitake mushrooms are $$ I used 1/3 lb fresh shitake mushrooms, 100 gm dried shitakes, and 1/2 lb brown mushrooms. I soaked the dried ones, sliced all the mushrooms roasted them with the chickpeas, and the finely chopped ginger and garlic and a generous squirt of sesame oil (a few tbsps?). Then I threw the roasted stuff in to the food processor with the green stuff and chopped to 1/4" chunks. In a mixing bowl I mixed 3 eggs with 2 TBSP each white miso paste and tahini. Then added the chopped stuff with 1/2C gluten free panko. I founded I needed to add about 3/4 C of the mushroom soaking liquid to get it to the consistency of ground meat. I chilled it overnight, then rolled into 1 1/2" balls and rolled these in panko. I then lightly oiled a cookie sheet with sesame oil and sprayed the tops of the balls with cooking spray. Baked at 425 F for 20 mins, turning once, until nicely browned all the way around.
I made a half recipe but used 2 eggs, for a slightly wetter mixture, and let it chill overnight in a bowl covered in plastic wrap. When I baked them, I set the oven to 325 instead of 350 and checked them after 15 minutes and keeping close eye on them until they were done. Previous comments made me weary of dry meatballs so I think these steps helped keep them moist and flavorful. They definitely aren't the consistency of meatballs but I really enjoyed them.
For all the work the results are less than marginal. The oven temp is too high, there is too much salt in the recipe, the texture is more like a matza ball than a meat ball and the sauce over the balls is burnt at this temperature. I agree that it’s too expensive, not worth the effort and lacking in flavour and texture
I enjoyed the flavour of these, but found texture just ever so slightly lacking. I may have pulsed the mushrooms a little too much. Overall they very aromatic and the sauce is super complementary to the savouriness of the meatballs. Served rather randomly with boiled new potatoes and a quick stir fry of broccoli, zucchini and chilies because CSA boxes make us do weird things for supper - but hey the potatoes soaked up the soy honey glaze really well and everything was fantastic.
I think your oven temp or time is wrong. I followed this recipe exactly and ended up with the most dry, burnt veggie balls imaginable. I was really excited by this recipe because it seemed promising and I love the celery salad that went on top. In the end, after almost 2 hours of prep/cook/chilling time, I was humiliated by the outcome and threw half of it away.
Made these tonight. Followed recipe exactly and they came out wonderful. Very flavorful!
Andy, I followed the recipe exactly and they came out wonderful, just as you wrote it.
This recipe yields approximately 8 balls. Rather expensive since the shiitake mushrooms alone were $13.16 at Trader Joes. The garbanzos are a little dry and grainy, but overall the sweet and sour with the crunchy greens were needed for adding another layer of flavor and texture. Followed the recipe, maybe they will be better tomorrow. I think a nice yoghurt /leben dip would have helped the dryness.
I am making this now but wondering what about salt?
Looks good. Trying to minimize grains so I was trying to figure out the overall carbs per ball. Anyone has made this that can tell me how many balls the recipe yields? I will review again with my experience once I try it.
This recipe IS vegetarian, but because their is egg - it is NOT vegan. The other commenter is incorrect.
There is a one star review below from a person who says BA is “shortsighted” for posting a vegetarian recipe which contains eggs. This person clearly doesn’t understand the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan recipe. Furthermore, there are plenty of egg substitutes, both homemade and commercial that would allow someone to turn the recipe into a vegan recipe. Looks like Anonymous is the one with egg on their face )
Wanted to make these, but these are NOT vegetarian as they have eggs in them. Boo. And, short sighted on BA's part.
Hy-Vee Recipes and Ideas
If you're looking to incorporate a vegetarian meal into your dinner rotation, look no further. You won't notice the difference between our lentil and garbanzo bean "meatball" recipe and your standard recipe. Serve over spaghetti squash for additional fiber.
Servings and Ingredients
Things To Grab
- Medium skillet
- Food processor
- Large baking sheet
- Aluminum foil
- Hy-Vee nonstick cooking spray
- Kitchen thermometer
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic cook until softened. Remove from heat cool slightly. Combine onion mixture, garbanzo beans, lentils, walnuts, parsley, panko, cumin, salt, and black pepper in a good processor. Cover and process until combined. Form mixture into 30 balls. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with foil spray with nonstick spray. Arrange meatballs 1-inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes or until heated through (165 degrees). Serve with pasta sauce over spaghetti squash. Sprinkle with cheese and, if desired, garnish with basil.