Meatballs are a tried-and-true comfort food and sound even better in the chilly winter months when all we need is something warm, stat. And since we don’t think vegans/vegetarian/gluten-free folks should be deprived of such a hygge-producing dinner, we rounded up tons of meatless versions to choose from that will have everyone raving about vegballs (yeah, we’re making it a thing!).
Many of them are still full of protein thanks to ingredients such as beans and quinoa, and with flavor combos like buffalo and coconut curry, we’re dying to try them all. Throw ’em over pasta or zoodles, put them in a soup, or serve as an appetizer. Your veg friends will thank you.
1. Coconut Curry Tempeh Meatballs
Part meatball, part falafel, these vegan tempeh balls get a Mediterranean twist thanks to chickpea flour. Combine tomato sauce, coconut milk, and curry powder to make a creamy sauce to soak them in.
2. Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Meatballs
Vegan Parmesan is kind of a game-changer for vegan/dairy-free eaters, and it kills it in these fresh vegballs. Imagine a caprese sandwich, but with sharp Parmesan in place of mozzarella. Panko crumbs bind the balls together, while flax egg and chickpeas thicken ’em up.
3. Ricotta Zucchini Meatballs
Looking for a way to use up some extra zucchini floating around? These cheesy, veggie-packed balls mix the green veg with onions, ricotta, garlic, and panko bread crumbs.
4. Buffalo Cauliflower Meatballs
Buffalo sauce is always a winner in our book, and these spicy cauliflower-and-quinoa-based vegballs are no exception. Hot sauce, dairy-free butter, garlic, and chili powder do the trick. We love these on their own or served as an app on game day.
5. Eggplant Meatballs in Marinara
Why go through all the effort of making eggplant parm when you can whip up these meatballs instead? The recipe is vegetarian and gluten-free, and mimics the classic Italian dish by using Parmesan, gluten-free Italian bread crumbs, and fresh herbs.
6. Black Bean Meatballs
Use these hearty black bean balls as the base for your next Buddha bowl. The sweet-meets-tart tamarind sauce brings out big flavor, while flaxseeds and beans will keep you full all afternoon. Serve with broccoli, buckwheat, and red onion, or your favorite combo of grain + veggies.
7. Cauliflower and Quinoa Vegetarian Meatballs
We like this recipe because it’s customizable and super versatile—the only ingredients you for sure need are cauliflower, eggs, olive oil, and salt. Choose between quinoa or brown rice, then add something to bind the ingredients: Oat flour, almond meal, or bread crumbs all work. Serve in a creamy masala sauce or add ’em to a salad… these vegballs would taste good with pretty much anything.
8. Spicy Asian Vegan Meatballs
Do you ever stand in front of an open cupboard, hoping a meal will magically appear? These spicy meatballs are kind of like that. Most of the ingredients are things you probably already have lying around, but somehow combine to bring on some major taste.
9. Italian Lentil Quinoa Balls
Meatless Mondays have never tasted so good. Cook green lentils and quinoa, and mix with sunflower seeds (blend them in a food processor first to make into a powder), olive oil, onion, and garlic, plus some fresh basil and Italian seasoning. Roll into balls and cook in a pan for 8-10 minutes. Hearty, Italian-style meatballs are all yours, veg friends.