Plant-Based (Vegan) Meatballs
Plant-Based Vegan Meatballs – A healthy vegan meatballs recipe made with quinoa and cauliflower rice for a perfect texture that you won’t believe is meatless! Serve with your sauce of choice for an easy weeknight dinner.
Let’s be honest, we could probably all benefit from a healthier diet.
Foods that are low on the glycemic index and include lean fats are shown to have lots of healthy benefits. While for most people it’s not necessary to adhere to any one strict set of dietary restrictions, it is great for just about everyone’s overall well-being to incorporate as many of these types of ingredients as possible in daily meals.
Meatless “meatballs” are a terrific addition to any healthy meal plan! They can be made vegan or vegetarian-friendly, but are tasty enough to be enjoyed by meat eaters and non-meat eaters alike.
Made with quinoa and cauliflower, these gluten free and low carb no-meat-meatballs are packed with a bevy of healthful nutrients. In fact, this Magic Vegan Meatballs Recipe was created for a friend whose husband decided to try a vegan diet to lower his cholesterol.
Both of our families absolutely loved the firm yet moist, perfect meatball-like texture. I hope you give them a try for your next Meatless Meal Plan!
Deliciously Magical Plant-Based Vegan Meatballs
Although the words vegan and meatballs don’t normally go together, these little orbs are tender, tasty, and make a wonderful meat substitute in all kinds of vegetarian and vegan sauce.
A combination of the just the right gluten free ingredients, and using a food processor for a ground meat-like consistency, creates the perfect base for healthy vegan meatballs with a light spongy bite. They are baked until slightly browned, making a lovely crust that holds up wonderfully to being coated in luscious sauces and gravies.
The texture is reminiscent of soft beef (or veal) meatballs… Believe it or not, once they are stirred into the sauce, you won’t even know the difference!
What Ingredients You Need to Make the Best Meatless Meatballs
This fantastic Magic Vegan Meatballs recipe requires only a handful of healthy ingredients, many of which are pantry staples.
Here is what you need:
- Dried quinoa
- Rice flour or potato starch
- Italian seasoning – or any combination of dried herbs
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Ground flax seeds to make vegan – you can use eggs for a vegetarian meatballs recipe
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
We used Italian seasonings in the vegan meatballs we made for this post, pictured above with a zesty tomato sauce; however, you should feel free to use whatever spices work best with the sauce you plan to serve.
Keep reading for our sauce suggestions!
How to Make Our Easy Plant-Based Meatballs Recipe
First, set out a food processor and set a medium sauce pot over high heat.
Next, make the quinoa. Pour the quinoa in the sauce pot, along with 2 cups of water, and 1 ½ teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until the water has absorbed and the quinoa is nice and fluffy. Remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl make “flax eggs” by combining 3 tablespoons of ground flax seeds with 9 tablespoons water. Stir and allow the mixture to thicken for 15 minutes.
Then, place the fresh cauliflower florets in the food processor. Pulse into fine cauliflower rice. Then measure out 2 cups of cauli-rice.
Once the quinoa is soft and fluffy, pour the cauliflower rice over the top and stir to combine. Cover the pot for another few minutes to steam the cauliflower rice.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Set out a large rimmed baking sheet, and drizzle the olive oil over the sheet.
Pour the quinoa and cauliflower mixture into the food processor. Add the rice flour, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and onion powder, then pulse into a thick paste. Then add in the flax “eggs” and pulse to combine. The mixture should look very smooth.
Use a 1 ½ tablespoon scoop to portion the balls out equally. Roll them tightly in your hands and place on the baking sheet.
Pro Tip: Keep your hands slightly damp during the meatball forming process by occasionally running under cool water. This will help keep the mixture from sticking to your hands.
Get the Complete (Printable) Plant-Based (Vegan) Meatballs Recipe Below. Enjoy!
Once all the meatballs are formed, bake for 8 minutes. Flip them over, then bake another 7 minutes.
While the vegan meatballs are baking, warm your sauce of choice in a large skillet on the stovetop. Add the hot meatballs to the sauce, stirring to coat.
Serve warm with your favorite side dishes.
Vegan Meatballs will keep well in the fridge for up to 4 days, and can be frozen for up to 3 months.
What Sauces Can You Serve with this Plant-Based (Vegan) Meatballs Recipe?
These versatile Magic Vegan meatless meatballs are excellent for cooking with all of the same sauces and sides you’d enjoy with traditional meatballs.
Here are some of our suggestions:
- Italian: Use the Italian seasonings we recommend in this recipe and stir the meatballs into flavorful marinara or pesto sauces. Serve with your choice of wheat or gluten-free pasta, or try with healthy and yummy spaghetti squash.
- Indian: Substitute the suggested seasonings with your favorite Indian spices and coat the meatballs in a rich vegan coconut yellow curry or madras curry base. Spoon over a bed of white rice or more cauliflower rice.
- East Asian: Likewise, you can use the seasonings and sauce recipe for these Slow Cooker Asian Meatballs. I’d wait until just before eating to add the hot vegan meatballs to the sauce. I love the sweet and salty balance in this dish, and like to serve over cauliflower rice or jasmine rice.
- Party Meatballs: Use the spices for the meatballs and make the tangy, spicy barbecue sauce in this Slow Cooker Cocktail Meatballs recipe. Again, I suggest waiting until the end of the sauce cooking process to add the vegan meatballs. These are great for potlucks and parties!
Let us know in the comments what dishes you try with our healthy vegan meatballs recipe!
Looking for More Delicious Vegan Dinners?
- Chunky Vegan Chili
- Cheesy Vegan Quinoa Grits
- Vegan Creamy Golden Vegetable Soup
- Irresistible Red Lentil Curry
- Quinoa Lentil Salad
- Other Vegan Recipes
Plant-Based (Vegan) Meatballs Recipe
- Set out a food processor. Then set a medium sauce pot over high heat.
- Pour the quinoa in the sauce pot, along with 2 cups of water, and 1 ½ teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the water has absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy. Remove from heat.
- Meanwhile in a small bowl, make “flax eggs” by combining 3 tablespoons of ground flax seeds with 9 tablespoons water. Stir and allow the mixture to thicken for 15 minutes.
- Place fresh 2 ½ – 3 cups cauliflower florets in the food processor. Pulse into fine cauliflower rice. Then measure out 2 cups of cauli-rice.
- Once the quinoa is soft and fluffy, pour the cauliflower rice over the top. Stir to combine and cover the pot for another 5 minutes to steam the cauliflower rice.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Set out a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over the sheet.
- Pour the quinoa and cauliflower mixture into the food processor. Add the rice flour, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and onion powder. Pulse into a thick paste. Then add in the flax eggs and pulse to combine. The mixture should look very smooth.
- Use a 1 ½ tablespoon scoop to portion the balls out equally. Roll them tightly in your hands and place on the baking sheet.
- Once all the meatballs are formed, bake for 8 minutes. Flip them over, then bake another 7 minutes.
- Warm your sauce of choice in a large skillet. Add the hot meatballs to the sauce. Stir to coat and serve warm.