There are few foods that go as well together like spaghetti and meatballs. In this recipe, we will be making a vegan, oil-free, gluten-free version of meatballs from 8 simple ingredients that taste amazing and are packed with plant-based proteins! Whether you’re vegan or looking for a clean source of protein these meatless meatballs go great on your favourite pasta or served on a kaiser roll.
Prepare the Vegan Meatballs
When mimicking meat I believe it’s important to get the texture just right. To do that we are going to turn to a fermented soybean product called tempeh which is packed with plant-based proteins and fibre. An 80g serving of tempeh has over 16g of protein. If you have never tried tempeh before it’s got the same texture and consistency as cooked ground beef. It’s also perfect for our recipe because it will take on the flavours that we season it with.
Add Flavours to Vegan Meatballs
When I think of the flavour profile of the meatballs. I think of the tenderness, savoury, and smoky flavour that comes with every bite. Tempeh by itself tastes plain which makes it easy to flavour. First, we are going to caramelize the onions and the mushrooms in some tamari and liquid smoke. This allows the onions and mushrooms to soak up all the flavour for later when we blend it up with the tempeh.
While mushrooms give the “meatballs” a “meaty” flavour and tender bite while tamari and liquid smoke give the “meatballs” that savoury and smokiness. You can stir fry the onions and mushrooms in a little bit of water on medium high heat. Add small increment of water when the pan dries out. It gives a beautiful caramelization to the mushrooms and onions. Add in tamari and liquid smoke. Hmm~ I could smell the aroma just thinking about it.
Making the “meat” in Vegan Meatballs
We use a food processor to blend up the ingredients and create the “meatballs”. The unexpected ingredient here is the oatmeal flour. Through experimentation, I have found oat flour to be a great binding agent that helps the “meatballs” keep their shape.
Ground “Meat” Texture
I use my food processor’s pulse function to better control how quickly I blend the “meat” up. It’s important to not over blend the “meat” because this can lead to it turning into a paste. The picture below is the consistency we are going for:
Roll it up!
Now it’s time to make the “meat” into “meatballs.” I recommend using a 1/8 cup to spoon out the “ground beef” and using a wet hand to roll the “meatballs.” Dipping your hands in water helps prevent the “meat” from sticking to your hands.
Baking the “Meatballs”
We are going to bake these “meatballs” for 20 minutes until they are golden brown. I used a silicon baking matt because it keeps the moisture inside the “meat” without having to use oil.
You will make roughly around 15 delicious “meatballs”! I would recommend using a silicon matt if you have one in hand because it keeps the moisture inside the food when cooking with oil-free recipes.
“Meatballs” & Spaghettis anyone?
Seasoned tempeh, fresh basil and tomatoes on spaghetti – a nutritional twist to a family classic.
These meatless “meatballs” can go everywhere traditional meatballs go. They’re great on pasta, or in a sandwich with a tomato-basil marinara sauce.
These Vegan Meatballs are:
I hope you enjoyed this recipe as much as I did. If you ever decide to make this recipe and share it on Facebook or Instagram. Don’t forget to tag me @onehungrymonkey or #onehungrymonkey. I would love to see your delicious creations. Never miss a recipe by signing up to our email list!
Best Vegan Meatballs
- 250 g tempeh
- 1/4 cup oat flour
- 100 g cremini mushrooms
- 1/2 yellow onion medium size
- 1/4 cup tomato sauce
- 1 tbsp gluten free tamari
- 4 drops liquid smoke
- 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
- Food Process
- Frying Pan
- Silicon Matt
Prepare the oven in the background
- Preheat the oven to 175℃/350°F.
Stir fry the mushrooms and onions
- Dice onions and mushrooms.
- Start to sauté the onions in a 1/8th cup of water in a medium frying pan for about 3 minutes. Add tiny amounts of water if the pan drys out.
- Add the tamari and mushrooms into the pan once the onions are slightly cooked. Stir fry for 3 minutes until everything is caramelized. Stir frequently and add water as necessary. Then set aside
Prepare the "meatballs"
- Add the tempeh, caramelized mushrooms/onions, tomato sauce, tamari, liquid smoke, 1/4 cup oat flour and salt into the food processor.
- Use the pulse function to blend up the tempeh until it blends into a ground meat texture.
- Damp your hand with water, using a 1/8 cup to scoop out the tempeh and roll them into "meatballs".
- Lay out the "meatballs" onto a silicon matt.
Cook the meatballs
- Bake in the for 20 minutes on 175℃/350°F, flip the "meatballs" at 10 minutes point. The meatballs should come out deep golden brown and fairly hard to touch.
Serve with pasta (optional)
- To serve, top pasta/ spaghetti with "meatballs" and marinara sauce, sprinkle vegan parmesan and fresh parsley.
- Keep leftover "meatballs" in an airtight container. It will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Break up the tempeh into smaller pieces makes it easier to blend in the food processor.
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