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Vegan Meatballs

5 from 59 votes

These healthy vegan meatballs are completely delicious and easy to make, with just 5 ingredients and NO eggs required!

Vegan Meatball Recipe
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The best vegan meatball recipe

Both kids and adults love the hearty texture and savory flavor of the homemade vegan meatballs, packed with more than seven grams of protein per serving.

Make up a batch for a quick weeknight dinner or your next vegan pasta night.

The best part of the recipe? Unlike many other vegan meatball recipes, this one needs no oil, no mushrooms or flax eggs, no flour, soy, or nuts, and no meat substitutes!

Also try this Vegan Chocolate Cake

Vegan Black Bean Balls

Vegan meatball flavors

Italian meatballs: For an Italian style version, add up to a teaspoon each of dried oregano and parsley flakes. You can also add a sprinkle of dried basil and substitute the oats with an equal amount of toasted or panko breadcrumbs.

Cheese meatballs: Add one or two tablespoons of vegan Parmesan or Romano cheese before blending the ingredients. Or press a small piece from a block of vegan cheese into the center of each ball after rolling.

Teriyaki meatballs: Add a fourth of a teaspoon of powdered ginger to the dry ingredients. After baking or frying, cover the vegan black bean balls with your favorite teriyaki sauce. Garnish with sesame seeds and chopped green onions.

Vegan sausage meatballs: Before blending the meatball ingredients, add a teaspoon of fennel seeds, a half teaspoon of dried basil, and a shake of black pepper.

Vegan sweet and sour meatballs: As with the teriyaki version above, add a fourth of a teaspoon of powdered ginger. Cover the finished balls in bottled or homemade sweet and sour sauce. Stir in diced pineapple and cooked bell peppers if desired.

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Plant Based Meatballs Recipe

Vegan spaghetti and meatballs

For classic vegan pasta and meatballs, put a pot of water on to boil while the bean balls are in the oven. I like to salt the water, but it’s not required.

Once boiling, throw in your pasta of choice and cook according to the package directions, draining when the noodles are al dente. For best results, do not rinse.

Heat up either jarred or homemade tomato sauce, and stir it with the pasta. Either stir in the vegan meatballs (my preferred method so they get coated with marinara sauce) or add them individually on top of each plate before serving.

Not a tomato fan? Use Vegan Alfredo Sauce or this Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce instead.

Black Bean Balls (Vegetarian)

Ways to use vegan meatballs

Serve the meatless balls on top of spaghetti.

Turn them into a vegan sub sandwich, hero, or hoagie.

Serve with rice, mashed potatoes, quinoa, or Vegan Mac and Cheese.

Add the black bean balls to stir fries or curry recipes.

Mix with Tofu Scramble for a high protein breakfast.

You can even make vegan meatball sliders or add a pinch of nutmeg for vegan Swedish meatballs and cover them with homemade Mushroom Gravy.

Homemade Vegan Meatball Ingredients

Ingredients for the black bean meatballs

You will need the following five ingredients: cooked or canned beans, quick oats or almond flour, chopped onion, salt, and minced garlic or garlic powder.

Is it okay to substitute a different bean? These can be made with black beans, white beans (such as cannellini or great northern beans), or pinto beans. Kidney beans technically work but I found the taste to be a bit earthy. If you experiment with chickpeas or lentils, be sure to report back with results!

Are these grain free or gluten free meatballs? The recipe calls for either almond flour (or almond meal) or quick oats. If using almond flour, they are grain free and gluten free. Quick oats are naturally gluten free but often share factory equipment with wheat products. If you or someone you are serving the bean balls to has a gluten allergy, you can buy “certified gluten free” oats to avoid any cross contamination.

Can I substitute rolled oats or white flour? To make the meatballs with rolled oats, pulse the oats a few times in the food processor before adding all of the other ingredients. No other changes are needed. If substituting flour for the oats, start with one fourth cup of flour and only add more if the mixture is too soft.

Meatless Meatballs Recipe

Plant based meatballs FAQ

Can I use dried beans instead of canned? If you would rather cook your own beans to save money or skip the can, use about one and a half cups of cooked beans. This will equal the amount of beans in one standard 15 ounce can of beans.

Can you freeze vegan meatballs? You can. Let the bean balls cool before transferring leftovers to an airtight covered container. Store in the refrigerator for four or five days or the freezer for up to three months. When ready to eat, just thaw and reheat the frozen meatballs on the stovetop or in the microwave or oven.

Do they taste exactly like traditional meatballs? The balls are actually not supposed to taste like meaty non vegan meat balls at all. The recipe is delicious in its own right, not as an inferior stand in for the real thing. Just like Trader Joes Meatless Meatballs and IKEA plant balls have their own distinct texture and flavor, so do these.

Don’t want to call them meatballs since there is no meat? Simply name them black bean balls or bites, vegan meatless balls, or veggie balls instead.

Where can I buy vegan meatballs? If you are looking for a vegan version that does taste like ground beef meatballs, I have heard good things from both vegetarians and omnivores about Impossible, Gardein, Beyond, and Morningstar Farms Meatless Meatballs.

Look for vegan meatball brands at Whole Foods, Target, Costco, and many regular grocery stores. Beyond Meatballs and Impossible Meatballs are also available at some restaurants, including select Starbucks and Subway locations.

Vegan Spaghetti And Meatballs

How to make vegan meatballs

Gather all of your ingredients, and drain and rinse the beans very well.

If you’re making baked meatballs instead of fried, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking tray with parchment paper for easy clean up.

Combine everything in a food processor, scraping down the sides as needed. Stop processing when the mixture still has some texture but no large pieces remain.

Roll into balls. I like smaller meatballs, because they cook more evenly.

Either pan fry in a little oil, or place the balls on the prepared baking tray and cook on the oven’s center rack for 10 minutes, then turn each vegetarian meatball and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the desired texture is reached.

Readers also love this plant based Coconut Curry

Vegetarian Meatballs

Nutrition facts for vegetarian meatballs

This healthy vegan recipe is high protein, low calorie, high fiber, and cholesterol free.

The bean balls are also high in iron and potassium, low in fat and saturated fat, and they have no added sugar.

Full nutrition facts and Weight Watchers points are included below.

The meatballs were adapted from this Veggie Burger Recipe.

Above, watch the vegan meatball recipe video

How To Make The Best Vegan Meat Balls
Pin it now to save for laterPin Recipe

Vegan Meatballs

This healthy recipe for vegan meatballs is great for lunch or dinner. Eat them covered in gravy or on top of spaghetti.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Yield 14 – 16 meatballs
5 from 59 votes

Ingredients

  • 1 can pinto or black beans
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup quick oats or almond flour
  • 1 tsp minced garlic or 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • see the flavor options listed above

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F if baking instead of frying. Drain and rinse the beans very well. Combine everything in a food processor until evenly blended – stop while it still has some texture but no large pieces remain. Roll into balls (small meatballs cook much more evenly), and either pan fry in a little oil, or place on a parchment-lined baking tray and cook on the center rack for 10 minutes, then turn each ball and bake an additional 10 minutes or until desired texture is reached.
    View Nutrition Facts

Notes

For dessert, make these Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies.
 

Have you made this recipe?

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Published on March 6, 2022

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25 Comments

Leave a comment or reviewLeave a rating
  1. Loni says

    5 stars
    Hi Katie! Can this be made without garlic and onions? I know it will impact the flavor, but will the texture hold up? I am, unfortunately, recently allergic to garlic and onions but I would love to have a vegan meatball as I’m 1 year plant based and miss the occasional meatball meal!

  2. Tracey Eisenberg Holmes says

    So, I don’t often comment. I made these today with the following subs: white kidney beans, 1/4 oat flour and 2 tbsp coconut flour. I rolled into balls with wet hands, flattened into tiny little patties and pan fried in a bit of olive oil in a non-stick pan. I added 1 tsp each of oregano and basil as well. they are lovely and I highly recommend. My subs were to have a bit of fun, but it shows the versatility of the recipe. Thanks Katie.

  3. Colleen says

    These look great! Do you know if they will hold up if after baked I let them simmer in my homemade sugo.? I’ve tried a few other recipes and they tend to fall apart.

    • CCK Media Team says

      Hmm we haven’t tried simmering them in sauce, but they DO hold up when mixed into tomato sauce (and we weren’t exactly gentle with the stirring). So they are somewhat durable for sure and hopefully will work for your idea. Be sure to report back if you try!

  4. Lynnsey says

    These look good, I’m going to give them a try. I may add some Marmite for more umami flavour.
    On a side note, I wish people who haven’t yet tried the recipe would stop leaving comments.

    • CCK Media Team says

      You might be able to, but we think the texture would be kind of mushy. As long as you don’t mind the texture issues, you can do it.

      • Castledark says

        5 stars
        yep i did it in a vitamix.
        just with careful pulsing.

        i stopped before it ALL got pulsed tho,
        which worked great
        cos i poured it all outa the blender jug
        & into a bowl
        then i mixed it all together
        so the well pulsed pureed bits
        were evenly dispersed thru out the
        still-a-bit-lumpety-bumpety bits.

        which made for a nice mixed texture!

        and Man! they tasted Goooooooooood!

        but Hang on…was that even the point i was trying to make?
        what was that Veronica lady’s question again??
        ahahaaaaaahaa

  5. Lori says

    I just made these last night and they are amazing! I added a small pkg of cremini mushrooms to one can black beans and garlic, onion, oregano & basil. Yummy!
    Thanks for the idea!

    • Shannon Cormier says

      Love mushrooms! Thanks for the idea. And I like the idea Katie and someone above had of dicing red pepper & celery into the mix. Making these tonight for meatball subs. Let you know how it goes.
      Btw, if you haven’t tried Katie’s protein bars, YOU ARE MISSING OUT!

  6. Allyn says

    Hi, I made these. I used black beans, pinto beans and beluga lentils. I used the oats, minced onion and minced garlic. For spices, worschester sauce, dried chive, smoked salt, herbs de Provence and back pepper.
    I used an emulsion blender. I found them very easy to work with and roll into cohesive balls. I fried them in butter and olive oil. They browned lovely and stayed together beautifully in the tomato Sauce. The flavour was great, but the texture is way off. I will try them again with rice or stale bread.
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. dawn says

    5 stars
    Holy cow, I was a skeptic, but these are fabulous. Not, they do not taste like meat, but that is fine, they are super yummy. I put mine in the air fryer after I baked them just to crisp them up a bit. I can’t wait to buy more beans!

  8. Mom of 3 says

    5 stars
    This is an absolutely wonderful recipe. I am not vegan but one of my teens is and everyone – vegetarian or not – loved the vegan meatballs!

  9. Liza says

    5 stars
    These look delicious! But I don’t have a raw onion and I want to make them tonight. Do you think I could use sautéed onions (that’s where my onion went yesterday)?
    Thank you!

    • CCK Media Team says

      We think it would work but haven’t tried so really can’t say for sure. Be sure to report back if you try!

  10. DJ says

    So I did these in the oven with black beans.. maybe that was a mistake. They came out pasty and I cooked them way longer than the time on the recipe. Going to try the same recipe and pan fry them and see if there’s a difference

    ** Did the Italian style recipe with bread crumbs and oregano/parsley and garlic, Parmesan, basil

  11. Chandra says

    5 stars
    This was simple and versatile. I doubled the recipe using pinto beans and added half a tablespoon Italian seasoning, half teaspoon red pepper flakes, half teaspoon black pepper, one teaspoon dried basil, one teaspoon fennel seeds to add to spaghetti and marinara. Baking them right now but the mixture tastes good, hearty, and meaty.

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