This is the best high-protein Vegan Meatballs Recipe! Gluten-Free and allergy-free, these hearty meatless meatballs are packed with lentils, quinoa, and veggies! Baked, eggless, made without breadcrumbs, and perfectly seasoned with Italian herbs, this easy and kid-friendly recipe is great for a spaghetti dinner, subs or sandwiches, and paired with any sauce!
The meatiest meatless meatballs! This, my friends, is plant-based protein at its finest! No fake or mock meats here, these meatballs are packed with lentils and quinoa, flax eggs, and a touch of nutritional yeast if you really want to amp-up that protein level! No breadcrumbs, so they're naturally gluten-free, still packed with flavor and texture, making them perfect for a spaghetti dinner or a yummy meatball sub!
What are these meatballs made of that makes them so high protein? Let's break it down!
- Brown Lentils (2 Cups = 36 grams)
- Quinoa (1 Cup = 8 grams) *P.S. Did you know, quinoa is a seed, not a grain?
- Mushrooms (1 Cup = 4 grams)
- Flaxseed Meal (2 Tablespoons = 3 grams)
- Nutritional Yeast (2 Tablespoons = 4 grams) This is optional or you can add even more!
- Italian Seasoning
Not to mention, these vegetarian meatballs are packed with iron and fiber too! A completely well-rounded, whole food, plant-based recipe you'll feel good about feeding your family!
Meatballs Without Eggs or Breadcrumbs
You don't need eggs to bind these lentil meatballs together! The flax eggs you'll be making and the perfect eggless substitute! You don't even need any breadcrumbs. These are naturally gluten-free and the combination of lentils, quinoa, mushrooms, flax, etc. does the job of additional binding, moisture retention, and durability! That makes this recipe:
- Vegan & Vegetarian
- Allergy-free (Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, Peanut-Free, Wheat-Free, Sesame-Free, Corn-Free, Coconut-Free)
- Nutritional Complete & Protein-Packed
- Freezer-Friendly & Great for Meal Prep
How To Make Vegan Meatballs
Let's break this easy process down!
- Add all of your ingreindts to a food processor and pulse the mixture. You don't want a paste, you what texture, so just pulse the mixture enough that it sticks together!
- Now you'll want to chill your meatball "dough" in the fridge to allow the mixture to firm up a bit. You can place it in the freezer for 30-60 minutes or in the fridge for an hour or two. I left mine in the fridge overnight.
- After the dough chills, you'll want to shape your meatballs. Take about 2 tablespoons of the mixture and roll them in your hands. Space them out on a baking sheet or pan. You'll want to give them enough space so they don't end up steaming in the oven!
- Then you'll bake them in the oven for about 20 minutes, gently flip them, give them a little reshape as needed, and bake them again for another 20 minutes.
- Finally, let them cool and freeze them, cover them in sauce, serve them for dinner, whatever your meatball plans were!
Tips, Tricks, and Substitutions
- You CAN swap the quinoa with brown rice. You'll lose out on the protein, but if that's what you've got on hand, go for it!
- You must use BROWN (or Green) Lentils. Do not use red lentils.
- I used canned lentils, as well as, pre-cooked (microwave) quinoa. This was there was no excess water/moisture and the meatballs held up better. You can cook lentils from scratch and quinoa from scratch too. Just make sure you drain all excess liquid, let them dry out on paper towels, and cool before blending the "dough" mixture.
- You can season the meatballs however you'd like. I made them Italian-Style so I used an Italian seasoning which just included herbs like basil, rosemary, thyme, and oregano.
- If you don't add the nutritional yeast, you may want to add a tablespoon or two of starch (arrowroot, corn starch, etc.) to help absorb excess moisture.
- When baking the vegan meatballs, make sure you use a large enough pan so the balls of spaced out and there is ample airflow, at least an inch all around. Otherwise, they will steam and not crisp up on the outside (thus, they will fall apart!)
- You can also make the balls smaller than 2 tablespoons, depending on how you plan on serving them! Don't make them too large though, otherwise, they may fall apart.
When you think of meatballs, what's the first dish that comes to mind? Spaghetti and meatballs! Serve these delicious lentil meatballs over some gluten-free spaghetti (or any pasta!) for one of the coziest family meals! You can also serve them in a gluten-free bun for that classic meatballs sub (add some vegan cheese on top!). Eating them plain with the homemade sauce (recipe below) is honestly all you need for a delicious entree on its own or even over a salad!
You can serve them with any type of sauce too; white, red, mild, or spicy. Leave them plain without sauce or cut them up for a toddler-friendly and protein-packed lunch or dinner finger food!
Freezing and Storage Tips
- Store the baked meatballs in the fridge for 5-7 days. You can store them plain or covered in the sauce you use (if covered in the sauce, they may get mushy). Reheat them in the microwave to warm.
- Freeze the baked meatballs in a single layer on a baking sheet before adding them to a storage container or freezer bag altogether. They can be frozen for 3-5 months.
- To reheat the frozen meatballs, you can thaw them in the fridge overnight before adding them to a sauce on the stove to warm or pop them in the microwave before adding them to a sandwich, salad, or pasta. Alternatively, you can place frozen meatballs on a baking sheet straight from the freezer and warm them in the oven at 375° until warmed all the way through.
Easy Vegan Meatball Recipe
Vegan Meatballs Recipe (Gluten-Free, Allergy-Free)
This is the best high-protein Vegan Meatballs Recipe! Gluten-Free and allergy-free, these hearty meatless meatballs are packed with lentils, quinoa, and veggies! Baked eggless, made without breadcrumbs, and perfectly seasoned with Italian herbs, this easy and kid-friendly recipe is great for a spaghetti dinner, subs or sandwiches, and paired with any sauce!
- Prep Time: 30 Minutes
- Cook Time: 40 Minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Yield: 16 Meatballs 1x
- Category: Main
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: Italian
- 2 TB Milled Flax Seed + 4 TB Water
- 2 Cups Cooked Brown Lentils (drained, rinsed, patted dried)
- 1 Cup Cooked Quinoa (drained, rinsed, patted dried)
- 1 Cup Chopped Baby Portabello Mushrooms
- ½ Cup Minced Vadalia Onion
- 1 Tsp Minced Garlic
- 2-3 TB Nutritional Yeast (optional)
- 1 ½ Tsp Italian Herb Seasoning (or other seasonings)
- Salt and Pepper (to taste)
- Mix together the flax and water in a small bowl and set aside to gel while you prep the rest of the meatball ingredients.
- Pat dry the cooked lentils and quinoa so there is no excess moisture. Chop the onions and mushrooms.
- Add all the meatball ingredients to a large food processor, add the flax eggs, then pulse the mixture until combined. There should be texture, but the mixture should stick together when you press it with your hands. Chill the dough for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F and grease a large 9x13 inch baking pan or lined baking sheet.
- With the chilled meatball dough, roll about 14-16 meatballs using your hands. They should be about 2 tablespoons each. Space them out on the baking sheet with enough room between for air flow.
- Bake the meatballs in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, gently flip them, reshaped as needed, and bake them for another 20 minutes.
- Remove the meatballs and let them cool a bit. They firm up the longer they sit and cool.
- In the meantime you can heat the sauce ingredients on the stove, season to taste, and pour over the meatballs or serve to your choosing.
- Serving Size: 2-3 Meatballs
Keywords: lentils, quinoa, lentil meatballs, quinoa meatballs, Italian meatballs, vegan meatballs, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, grain-free, allergy-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, nut-free, peanut-free, corn-free, sesame-free, coconut-free, sugar-free, oil-free, kid-friendly
So good, so hearty, so delicious! Vegan Italian lentil quinoa meatballs PACKED will all the goodness you could possibly want and all the comfort you crave! Plant-based and meat-eaters can enjoy a classic Italian gluten-free spaghetti dinner enjoying the exact same plate with no complaints!
More Gluten-Free Vegan Italian Classics:
- Mom's Best Classic Gluten-Free Vegan Baked Ziti
- Gluten-Free Stuffed Shells with Vegan Almond Ricotta
- Easy Lightened-Up Penne alla Vodka
- Classic Baked Gluten-Free Vegan Manicotti
- Gluten-Free Fettuccine Alfredo
So tell me:
+ Favorite way to eat meatballs? Honestly, I would opt for a meatball sub over spaghetti!
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