Mouthwatering vegan meatballs filled with protein, iron and veggies. These are so versatile and perfect for pasta, sandwiches, as an appetizer or alone!
This recipe was originally published on 9/19/16
A meatball is really a round burger in my book. And since I am burger obsessed, I needed a good vegan meatball go-to in my back pocket. So here we go, filled with goodness, easy to throw together and perfect for the freezer!
There are many processed fake meat products out there that make vegan meatballs, but since we like to mostly focus on a more whole foods based diet, I needed to find a way to get a texture and flavor we loved with whole foods.
Because we are Italian food fanatics, I made these with an Italian flair (kinda like my husband ;)) and they turned out so good! We love the texture just as much as the flavor!
The idea for this recipe came from my lentil veggie burger recipe. It's simple with actual veggies and I love how it is easily made gluten free using gluten free oats. The combination of oats, lentils and mushrooms give these a great texture. And the added sunflower seeds give them a little extra oomph!
Can you freeze vegan meatballs?
This is what I love most, how great these freeze and can be pulled out for quick meals on busy nights. You can freeze them raw, but I found I like them best if I partially cook them, then freeze.
Here is how I prep them for the freezer after I allow them to cool completely:
- wrap them in parchment paper
- then wrap in tin foil
- store in a ziplock freezer bag or airtight container
How do you cook frozen veggie meatballs?
Once you are ready to eat the frozen meatballs, take them out of the freezer and allow them to defrost to room temperature. Then cook them the rest of the way like it says in the instructions.
I like to write the date I froze them and how long they still need to cook and at what temperature so I have it easily ready to go!
What should I serve with meatballs?
These vegan meatballs are so versatile! You can do so many things with them. Here are some of my favorite ideas:
- over pasta
- as an appetizer dipped in marinara
- in a vegan meatball sandwich
- in a wrap
- sprinkled with my famous grateable vegan parmesan
- as a slider in mini slider buns
- cut up over pizza
- as the meat portion in vegan lasagna
- mixed in with red pepper pasta
How to Make Vegan Meatballs
These meatballs are fairly simple to make and can be made without a food processor if you prefer and don't mind the chunkier texture.
- Saute the veggies
- Pulse everything in a food processor (or simply mash with your hands)
- Shape into balls
The Best Vegan Meatballs Recipe
- 2 cups chopped mushrooms
- 1 ½ cups chopped kale
- ¾ cup chopped yellow or sweet onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- drizzle of your favorite oil for sautéing veggies ,or veggie broth if not using oil
- 1 ½ cups precooked lentils
- 1 cup rolled oats , gluten free if needed (see note)
- ½ cup almond flour
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- 4 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C
- Saute mushrooms, kale, onion and garlic in a drizzle of oil or veggie broth until soft and no liquid remains. Set aside to cool.
- Once cooled a bit, add them to a food processor and pulse a few times to get them chopped into small pieces. If you chopped them pretty finely before, you can simply add them to the processor and move to the next step.
- Put lentils, oats, almond flour, sunflower seeds, oregano, smoked paprika, salt and pepper in the food processor and pulse until crumbly. Be careful not to overdo it. You can also skip the processor all together and just use your hands to mash them up and have a chunkier texture.
- Allow mixture to set about 5-10 minutes so the oats can soak in some liquid (you can also do this after you shape into balls as well). I use this time to clean up a bit
- Shape into 2-inch balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
- Bake for 25 minutes, flip and bake 10 more minutes, or until they are browned on top.
- Allow to cool so the texture settles and serve with almost anything!
- This recipe makes about 16 balls, serving size is 4 meatballs.
- You may need a little bit more oats if your mixture ends up too wet, which can happen depending on how much liquid is in the veggies you saute. You want most of it to evaporate.
- If there is a nut allergy, you can sub more oats for the almond meal.
- You can also use spinach or swiss chard in place of the kale.
- To freeze for the best result, I half bake them, then freeze wrapped in parchment paper, then foil then put them in an airtight container. Once ready to eat, I defrost to room temperature then bake them the rest of the way. You could also freeze raw but you may have to reshape them a bit once they defrost.
Recipe by Veggies Don’t Bite, visit our site for more great plant-based recipes.
Nutrition and metric information should be considered an estimate.
Great texture! Works wonderfully with spinach instead of kale & a little extra oats instead of the almond flour... perfect with spaghetti & tomato sauce! 🙂
So happy you liked it Amanda!
Wow, wow, wow! I used cooked brown rice in place of the cooked lentils only because I was avoiding a trip to the grocery store, and it still turned out perfectly. My 2 year old son devoured a whole meatball, and I won’t tell you how many I did. The flavors and texture don’t leave anything to be desired.
Ah! So happy you liked them Anne!! Thank you so much for letting me know!
M’y don became a vegan 3 days ago so I am very happy for your website full of ideas and will probably buy your book. I have a question regarding the vegan meatballs recipe, I would like to do it this afternoon so is it ok to use old fashioned oats if I don’t have the rolled oats?
Sorry not from this country so maybe it’s the same but I am not sure:)
Hi Frederique! No problem at all! Yes, you can use old fashioned oats, they are the same thing as rolled oats. Let me know how they turn out!
These look amazing and with spaghetti and tomato sauce it's just the perfect meal!
Do you use regular oats or quick oats? Thanks! I’m excited to try this recipe!
Hi Kiron! Thanks so much for giving it a try. I use regular oats.
Hello! These look so yummy! I have a question, what type of kale did you use? Dino or Curly? And did you tightly pack the kale or loosely pack? Thank you!!! I've missed meatball subs since cutting out red meat! Looking forward to these!!
Thank you Katie! I used dino but I've also tried curly. Either one works but in my experience it's getting good quality kale. I've had bad kale before and it's just not good. lol. I usually pack my kale on the tighter side. Just let the mixture set so the oats soak up some liquid. And once you bake let them cool a bit. That all helps with texture. Let me know how it goes!!
Thank you very much for quick reply! My husband works out of town during week, these look ideal for him!! I will post back with results!!
Mine travels during the week too!!! Hope it works out!
linda sabla lyden
Okay..................i loved the Korean stew with carrots and chickpeas...so rich and savory....so I'm going to try more of your recipes...thank you lots
Thank you so much Linda! I'm so happy you liked the Korean stew. Please let me know if you try anything else!
This looks amazing!! I unfortunately still react to gluten free oats...could I use potato flour or coconut flour instead?
Hi Ashley! Thank you so much! The oats help absorb the liquid and aid in texture. I have not tried it with anything else but you could try subbing with almond meal. I'm not sure what potato or coconut flour would do texture wise, but you could try it! Let me know what you end up doing and how it works!
I believe flaxseed meal can be used as oats. It gives a similar consistency. Coconut is too dry and almond is too crumbly. Flaxseed absorbs water and creates the oaty-gluten chewy texture that oats does. Sorry to be a third wheeler 🙈😹
Thanks Flora! You can definitely put in some flax but I wouldn't sub it for the entire amount of the oats. It is similar for sure but it wouldn't give the same structure the oats would and the end texture would be a little different too. But I bet a combo of flax and almond would work!