These delicious vegetarian meatballs are packed full of lentils and quinoa! They have the perfect texture and will please any meat-eater! Vegan, nut-free, soy-free.
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Now that my husband and I are both vegan, I’m trying to veganize all of our favorite meals.
When I saw my husband popping quinoa meatballs into his mouth right out of the skillet when he thought I wasn’t looking, I knew this recipe was a keeper!
These vegetarian meatballs taste so similar to regular meatballs that you won’t even miss the meat! They’re jam-packed with flavor and texture, they’re seriously delicious!
It’s definitely one of our favorite vegan recipes that I make every month!
What Are Meatless Meatballs?
Meatless meatballs don’t contain any animal-based products. Typical vegetarian meatballs are made from lentils, chickpeas, tofu, beans, rice, quinoa, or oats. There are so many options but this is my favorite variation. Vegetarian meatballs also usually have a binder of a flax egg or chia egg to hold it together. Meatless meatballs can have just as much flavor, texture, and plant-based protein as the animal-based version.
I prefer a flavorful vegetarian meatball that is firm and has substance to it, no mushy meatballs for me! I also prefer to bake the quinoa meatballs instead of sauteing them because I try not to cook with oil if I can help it.
How to Make Vegetarian Meatballs
Lentil quinoa meatballs are really easy to make, they’re packed with protein, and they bear a striking resemblance to real meatballs. They’re delicate, with big Italian flavor and baked to toasty perfection.
They’re made of simple ingredients that taste delicious and are good for you!
- Ground flaxseed
- Italian seasonings
- Sunflower seeds
- Salt & pepper
Start by cooking the quinoa and lentils separately and set them aside until later. Next, mix the flax egg together and put it in the fridge to set up. Add all the ingredients to a food processor and blend until you have a chunky mixture. Form the mixture into 12 large or 24 small vegetarian meatballs and then bake them to tasty perfection!
These quinoa meatballs are so delicious coated in marinara and swimming in hot noodles, it’s definitely one of our favorite vegan dinners!
Quinoa Meatballs Substitutions
I’ve also made these lentil quinoa meatballs with almond flour or pumpkin seeds in place of the blended sunflower seeds. The almond flour gives them a delicious nutty flavor, but sunflower seeds are very inexpensive so I usually will use those instead of the almond flour.
These lentil quinoa meatballs definitely satisfied my craving for spaghetti and meatballs, and Travis really loved them, so this recipe is definitely going into my meal plan rotation. I hope your family loves them just as much as we do!
Frozen Vegetarian Meatballs
If you have any leftovers, you can freeze the vegetarian meatballs on a baking tray (make sure there is space between each meatball) and then put them already frozen into a freezer-safe container. If you put all of the lentil meatballs into a container together and then freeze them you will end up with a big clump of meatballs.
Or you can use the leftover quinoa meatballs for vegan meatball subs with lots of tomato sauce, vegan cheese, and toasty rolls. It’s health-ish comfort food that will please everyone!
More Vegan Lentil Recipes You Might Like
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Vegan Italian Lentil Quinoa MeatBalls
- 1/4 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed & drained
- 3/4 cup uncooked green lentils, rinsed & drained
- 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
- 3 Tbsp water
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, ground to a fine powder (or pumpkin seeds)
- 1/2 cup yellow onion, minced
- 1/2 cup gluten-free old fashioned oats (or gluten-free bread crumbs)
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp Italian seasonings
- 1/4 cup fresh basil
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Cook the quinoa and lentils separately, set aside.
- Combine flaxseed and water in a small bowl, stir to combine and put it in the fridge to set up for 10 minutes.
- Blend the sunflower seeds to a fine powder.
- Add the cooked lentils, sunflower seed powder, onions, basil, Italian seasonings, oats, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and cooked quinoa to a food processor. Pulse it a few times until everything is combined. You want a chunky consistency, be careful not to blend the mixture too much.
- Pour the flax egg into the mixture and pulse it a few more times to mix it in.
- The mixture will be slightly sticky. I've found that the easiest way to mold the meatballs is to roll a heaping spoonful of the mixture in between your two palms. Form the mixture into 10-12 golfball-sized (or 24 mini) "meatballs."
- Place the lentil meatballs on a parchment lined tray and bake for 15-20 (flipping once halfway through) or until both sides are lightly browned.
- Serve "meatballs" over pasta or zucchini noodles with your favorite marinara sauce.
- Optional: Right before baking the meatballs, you can brush a light layer of olive oil over each meatball to give them a little more color while roasting.