Vegan Meatballs

The BEST vegan meatballs! Made with mushrooms, walnuts, and black beans, they're crisp on the outside, tender in the middle, and full of savory flavor.

Vegan meatballs

These vegan meatballs are the best I’ve tried. They’re intensely flavorful, made with roasted mushrooms, a mix of savory spices, and balsamic vinegar for tang. They also have the perfect texture–crisp and charred on the outside and firm-yet-tender in the middle. Top them onto pasta, stuff them into subs, or serve them over polenta with a scoop of marinara. There are so many ways to enjoy these delicious vegan meatballs!

Vegan meatball recipe ingredients

Vegan Meatballs Recipe Ingredients

To be clear, these vegan meatballs don’t taste just like meat. They’re made with whole foods, plant-based ingredients, and when you eat them, you can tell. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t tasty! They have a satisfying texture and a great savory flavor.

Here’s what you’ll need to make them:

  • Mushrooms – A blend of shiitakes and creminis gives these meatballs their meaty texture and umami flavor.
  • Walnuts – They add richness and keep the meatballs from getting too mushy!
  • Black beans – For plant-based protein.
  • Onion and garlic – For savory depth of flavor.
  • Fennel seeds, cumin, smoked paprika, and ground sage – This mix of spices makes the meatballs SO flavorful! The paprika adds smokiness, the cumin adds earthiness, and the fennel and sage add classic Italian flavors.
  • Tomato paste and balsamic vinegar – For tang.
  • Tamari – I love using tamari or soy sauce when I cook mushrooms. It brings out their rich, umami flavor.
  • Panko bread crumbs, whole rolled oats, and ground flaxseed – They bind the meatballs together. To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free panko and certified gluten-free oats.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil and avocado oil – I like to use olive oil in the meatballs and avocado oil in the pan. If you want to simplify, you can use avocado oil for both.
  • And salt and pepper – To make all the flavors pop!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Roasted mushrooms on a baking sheet

How to Make Vegan Meatballs

The first step in this vegan meatball recipe is roasting the mushrooms. It concentrates their umami flavor and gives them a satisfying meaty texture.

Stem and slice the mushrooms, and toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast at 425°F for 20 minutes, or until slightly shriveled around the edges.

Walnuts, onion, garlic, salt, smoked paprika, cumin, pepper, ground sage, and fennel seed in a food processor

Next, pulse together the walnuts, onion, garlic, and spices in a food processor. Your goal here is to break down the walnuts and onions.

Finely chopped onion and spice mixture in a food processor

You want them to be coarsely ground before you add more ingredients to the food processor.

Vegan meatballs ingredients in a food processor

Then, add the roasted mushrooms, black beans, oats, olive oil, tomato paste, flax, tamari, and balsamic. 

Finely chopped vegan meatballs ingredients in a food processor

Pulse until the mixture is well-combined but still has some texture. There should still be some larger bean and mushroom pieces.

Vegan meatballs on a baking sheet with scoop

Next, form the meatballs. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and fold in the panko. Use a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop to portion it out. Then, use your hands to roll it into balls.

Vegan meatballs in skillet with oil next to dried spaghetti and jar of marinara

Finally, cook the meatballs. Start by searing them in a cast-iron skillet until they’re well-browned. It should take about 5 minutes over medium-high heat to brown them on all sides.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until the vegan meatballs are firm and lightly crisp around the edges. Enjoy!

Vegan meatballs in marinara sauce in skillet

How to Serve Vegan Meatballs

These meatless meatballs are a fantastic vegan meal! Here are our favorite ways to serve them:

Leftover meatballs keep well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. For longer storage, stash them in the freezer for up to 3 months. They reheat nicely in the microwave or a 400°F oven.

Vegan meatballs recipe

More Favorite Vegan Recipes

If you love these veggie balls, try one of these hearty vegan recipes next:

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Vegan Meatballs

rate this recipe:
4.84 from 31 votes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Serves 4 to 6
This vegan meatballs recipe is SO delicious and easy to make! The hearty veggie balls are crisp on the outside, tender in the middle, and full of rich, savory flavor. Great on pasta, in subs, and more!

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces mixed cremini and shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for sprinkling
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground sage
  • cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup whole rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
  • Avocado oil, for the pan
  • Marinara sauce, for serving (for store bought, we love Rao's)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place the mushrooms on the baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Spread evenly on the baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, or until slightly shriveled around the edges.
  • In a food processor, place the walnuts, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, fennel seed, cumin, paprika, and sage. Pulse until coarsely ground, then add the roasted mushrooms, black beans, oats, olive oil, tomato paste, flaxseed, tamari, and balsamic vinegar. Pulse until the mixture is well-combined but still has a few larger bean and mushroom chunks remaining.
  • Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and fold in the panko. Use a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop to portion the mixture, then use your hands to roll it into balls.
  • Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and coat the bottom with avocado oil. Add the vegan meatballs and cook, rotating the balls as they brown, until browned all around, about 5 minutes.
  • Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until the vegan meatballs are firm and lightly crisp around the edges.
  • Serve with marinara.

37 comments

4.84 from 31 votes (21 ratings without comment)

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Cody
    07.04.2024

    Tasty but extremely delicate as noted by another reviewer. We subbed the panko for cooked quinoa, left out the oats, and used chia seeds as a binder (about 2 Tbsp) to lower the glycemic impact. Either way it should be flattened out into patties for a delicious patty that can be flipped and browned evenly. It is good alone or would make a good vegan sandwich patty.

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Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.