Vegan Meatballs

Delicious, heart-healthy Vegan Meatballs for the plant-based spaghetti dinner of your dreams! Gluten-free option and kid-friendly.

plate of vegan meatballs with fork

plate of vegan meatballs with fork

We’re makin’ meatballzzzz!

If I had to choose one dinner recipe that we make *most* often, it would be these here vegan meatballs. Considering Jeff eats like ten per sitting, I like to make a double batch so we can have plenty of leftovers and some to freeze for lunches.

Bean balls, vegetarian meatballs, plant based meatballs…whatever you call ’em, know that these gems will hit the dinner jackpot every time!

food processor with meatball ingredientsfood processor with meatball ingredientsIngredients in vegetarian meatballs

Flax: we’re making a “flax egg” to bind the mixture together. You can also use a real egg if you’re not vegan.

Walnuts: toasted for delicious nutty flavor and crunchy texture. No one wants a mushy meatball!

Mushrooms: for that meaty texture and an additional flavor boost.

Onion and garlic: essential for flavor town!

Beans: you can use pinto beans or chickpeas here, which make up the base of this recipe.

Italian seasoning: an easy blend to season the meatballs. You could also use a mixture of dried oregano and basil if you don’t have Italian seasoning on hand.

Nutritional yeast: I love adding this for cheezy flavor, but you can leave it out if it’s not in your pantry.

Breadcrumbs: these are essential to help the meatballs hold their shape and stick together. I like panko the best! Italian-style adds extra flavor but plain breadcrumbs work just fine.

Marinara: go with a marinara you love for serving. My favorite is Vero Gusto or Rao’s.

sheet pan of mushrooms and walnutssheet pan of mushrooms and walnutsHow to make vegan spaghetti and meatballs

First, we toast our walnuts and mushrooms to bring out more umami flavor. Next, we whisk together the ground flax and water to create a plant based binder.

Then we combine the mushrooms and walnuts with the beans, onion, garlic and seasoning in a food processor so everything is uniformly broken down. Next, we dump the mixture into a mixing bowl and stir in the flax egg and breadcrumbs.

Lastly, we roll the mixture into golf-ball sized balls. These meatballs are baked in the oven on their own, without sauce, for crisp, bean ball perfection. Once they’re done baking, we’ll pair them with the sauce and noodles.

sheet pan of uncooked meatballssheet pan of uncooked meatballsHow to make gluten-free meatballs

Adapting this recipe to be gluten-free is super easy. I actually used gluten-free panko breadcrumbs when I tested the recipe and it worked out swimmingly.

Just make sure you use a gluten-free pasta made with rice, corn, beans, or quinoa for example instead of wheat pasta, and that’s it!

How to store leftover meatballs

Store leftover meatballs separately from noodles and sauce in an air tight container for up to five days in the refrigerator. I simply reheat them in the microwave with sauce and noodles when I’m ready to eat them.

up close cooked meatballsup close cooked meatballsHow to freeze meatballs

These freeze really well. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place leftover meatballs on the sheet in an even layer. Freeze and then transfer frozen balls to a baggie and freeze for up to three months.

To reheat, place them in the refrigerator overnight or reheat from frozen in the microwave.

What to serve with meatballs

These are of course stupendous with noodle and marinara for classic spaghetti and meatballs, but they’re great on their own, too kinda like a a veggie burger of sorts.

They’re also fab with marinara smushed into a bun and topped with cheese if you’re feeling extra (hello, meatball subs).

We’ve even crumbled them on top of pizza. So good.

white plate of spaghetti with red sauce on gray linen

white plate of spaghetti with red sauce on gray linen
Dinner is calling!
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Description

Delicious, heart-healthy Vegan Meatballs for the plant-based spaghetti dinner of your dreams! Gluten-free and kid-friendly.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced
  • 115oz can pinto beans or chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup Italian-style breadcrumbs (I used Italian-style gluten-free panko)

For serving:

  • 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce (plus more if desired)
  • 1 lb spaghetti (whole grain or gluten-free if necessary)

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Place walnuts and mushrooms on lined/sprayed baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Once done, remove from oven and leave oven on.
  2. Combine flax and water in a small bowl, stir, and set aside.
  3. Place garlic and onion in food processor and pulse a few times until chopped. Add beans, Italian seasoning, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and cooked mushrooms and walnuts (they will be hot, that’s okay) and pulse until everything is chopped and mixture will hold together. There should be some texture– it shouldn’t look pureed.
  4. Dump mixture into a bowl and stir in flax mixture and bread crumbs.
  5. Roll mixture into 20 balls (a bit larger than a golf ball). Place on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Flip and bake for another 20 minutes.
  6. Serve with pasta and marinara, if desired.

Notes

How to freeze meatballs

TO FREEZE: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place leftover meatballs on the sheet in an even layer. Freeze and then transfer frozen balls to a baggie and freeze for up to three months.

To reheat, place them in the refrigerator overnight or reheat from frozen in the microwave.

Keywords: vegan meatballs, bean balls, vegan spaghetti and meatballs