These delicious vegetarian meatballs are packed full of lentils and quinoa! They have the perfect texture and will please any meat eater! Vegan, plant-based, nut-free, soy-free.
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.
- 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.