Ginger Sesame Vegan “Meatballs”

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Bowl of vegan sesame ginger meatballs over brown rice and broccoli

If you’re a fan of our Best Vegan Meatballs, then we have a surprise for you! We’ve taken that recipe and given it a new and delicious spin: Ginger Sesame Vegan Meatballs! These beauties are crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and SO savory, gingery, and versatile. We could not stop eating them right off the pan! 

They freeze beautifully, making them perfect for prepping ahead to add to stir-fries, bowls, or a side of veggies! With just 9 ingredients required, it’s time to make (gluten-free and plant-based) meatballs!

Quinoa, black beans, mushrooms, sesame oil, maple syrup, ginger, garlic, green onions, and tamari

How to Make Ginger Sesame Vegan Meatballs

These whole food-based beauties begin with a savory base of chopped mushrooms sautéed in toasted sesame oil.

Pan of chopped mushrooms sautéed in sesame oil

Garlic, ginger, green onion, and tamari add even more savory goodness, while maple syrup provides flavor balance.

Pouring maple syrup over black beans, mushrooms, green onion, garlic, and ginger

Cooked quinoa and black beans are the grain + legume combo that forms the “meat” of the recipe.

Food processor with cooked quinoa over a black bean and mushroom mixture

After pulsing the bean and mushroom mixture in a food processor, it forms a wet dough that’s perfect for holding the quinoa together.

Vegan meatball dough mixture in a food processor

All that’s left to do is form the mixture into balls.

Quinoa and black bean "meatballs" on a parchment-lined baking sheet

And bake until golden brown!

Bowls of green onions, tamari, and sesame seeds beside a baking sheet of ginger sesame vegan meatballs

At this point, you can freeze them for later, or enjoy right away!

Top down shot of a bowl of sesame ginger vegan meatballs with broccoli over rice

We hope you LOVE these vegan meatballs. They’re:

Savory
Gingery
Tender on the inside
Crispy on the outside
Versatile
& SO Delicious!

While totally snack-able right off the pan, these “meatballs” also work beautifully as a meal with steamed broccoli or cauliflower, teriyaki sauce, and your favorite grain (brown rice, white rice, quinoa, coconut rice, millet).

More Plant-Based Quinoa Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Close up shot of a ginger sesame vegan meatball with a bite taken out

Ginger Sesame Vegan “Meatballs”

Vegan and gluten-free Ginger Sesame “Meatballs” that are crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and perfect for prepping ahead of time! Just 9 ingredients required!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Fork in a bowl of rice, broccoli, and ginger sesame vegan meatballs
4.65 from 14 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 15 (Meatballs)
Course Entree
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 3-4 Days

Ingredients

MEATBALLS

  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 8 oz. roughly chopped cremini mushrooms (~4 cups chopped)
  • 1 (15-oz.) can black beans (rinsed, drained, dried well // or ~1 ¾ cup homemade)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 stalks green onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 ½ Tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 ½ – 2 Tbsp tamari (or low-sodium soy sauce if not gluten-free // if soy-free, sub coconut aminos)
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup (or honey if not vegan // if using coconut aminos instead of tamari, use half the maple syrup)
  • 1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa (plus more if needed)

FOR SERVING optional

Instructions

  • If you haven’t done so, cook quinoa and set aside to cool. To prepare 1 cup cooked quinoa: Add 1/3 heaping cup (65 g) dry quinoa to a small saucepan and toast for 2-3 minutes over medium heat. Then add 2/3 cup (160 ml) water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Then fluff with a fork, remove from the heat, and crack the lid so the quinoa can cool.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat with the sesame oil. Once hot, add the mushrooms and sauté for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are lightly browned and have released most of their moisture.
  • Drain and rinse the black beans, then dry in a clean kitchen towel.
  • To the sautéed mushrooms, add the black beans, garlic, green onion, ginger, and tamari (or soy sauce or coconut aminos). Sauté for 3-4 minutes, or until slightly softened, stirring frequently. Set aside to cool slightly.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C) and set out a baking sheet.
  • Transfer the mixture to a food processor and pulse until no large pieces of beans or mushrooms remain, being careful not to overmix into a paste.
  • Add 1 cup (185 g) cooked and cooled quinoa (adjust amount if altering batch size) and the maple syrup (or agave or honey). Pulse to combine until a textured dough forms, again being careful not to overmix.
  • Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more tamari for saltiness/depth of flavor, sesame oil for nuttiness, or maple syrup for balance. If it’s too wet, add more quinoa and pulse to combine.
  • Scoop out 1 ½-Tbsp portions of dough and gently shape into round balls using wet hands. Recipe as written makes ~15 meatballs. Add formed meatballs to a bare or parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 15 minutes. Then flip to ensure even baking and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown and slightly dry to the touch.
  • These "meatballs" are delicious served with steamed or roasted broccoli, sesame seeds, teriyaki sauce, and your grain of choice (brown rice, white rice, quinoa, coconut rice, millet // or cauliflower rice for grain-free).
  • Leftovers will keep up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator or 1 month in the freezer. To reheat cooked meatballs from frozen, place on a baking sheet and bake at 400 F (200 C) for 10-12 minutes.

Video

Notes

*Prep time does not include cooking and cooling quinoa.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with the lesser amount of tamari.
*Adapted from our Best Vegan Meatballs and Half-Baked Harvest’s Weeknight Sticky Ginger Sesame Chicken Meatballs.

Nutrition (1 of 15 servings)

Serving: 1 meatball Calories: 63 Carbohydrates: 10.3 g Protein: 3 g Fat: 1.4 g Saturated Fat: 0.2 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 181 mg Potassium: 175 mg Fiber: 2.7 g Sugar: 1.5 g Vitamin A: 97 IU Vitamin C: 1.2 mg Calcium: 21.3 mg Iron: 0.8 mg

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  1. Stephanie W. says

    Made using all listed ingredients as listed. Only change was mistakenly adding cooked quinoa to food processor. Overall I found the recipe lacking in texture and durability; favor was fair. Cooked coated with a teriyaki sauce I had in the fridge which I think helped. I may try again adding chopped walnuts or less processed chunks of mushroom and adding a binding agent like flax egg.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Stephanie, sorry to hear it didn’t turn out as you were hoping! Adding the quinoa to the food processor would definitely cause it to be a different texture. We love your idea of adding walnuts. We’d love to hear how it goes next time!

  2. Chelsea says

    I froze these before baking them but now see that might have been a mistake, judging by the frozen reheating directions.

    Are there other frozen instructions you’d recommend? Should I just plan to thaw before baking and bake like normal?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Chelsea, they should be fine cooked from frozen too! We’d just suggest baking a little longer than the recipe specifies. Hope that helps!

  3. Sabrina says

    Just made these following the recipe exactly and they were delicious and very easy to make. I coated them in the homemade teriyaki sauce which was equally as delicious. Thank you!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Woohoo! So glad you enjoyed this recipe, Sabrina. Thanks so much for the wonderful review!

  4. Brooklyn Bird says

    I made these the other day and they were AMAZING!! The dough turned out a little bit wet for me (I might not have dried the beans enough, plus I went a little heavy on the tamari because I love that flavor), so I added a bit of peanut butter powder to thicken the dough. It sounds crazy, but peanut butter powder is my secret ingredient in soooo many Asian-inspired recipes! I use it in Asian sauces (e.g., teriyaki, curry, etc.) all the time to thicken without flour or cornstarch and to add a nice, nutty flavor. It tasted great and made the texture perfect in these vegan meatballs as well :) Thanks for sharing!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yay! Thanks so much for the lovely review and for sharing your creative modifications, Brooklyn. So glad you enjoyed!

  5. Laura says

    Made this exactly according to the recipe and unfortunately, it wasn’t one of my favorites. It had good flavor and I appreciated all the nutritious protein packed ingredients, but nothing really wowed me about it, and I had been expecting a bit more toothsome, meatball-y texture than I got. I don’t plan to make it again, but thank you for the recipe. I can probably count on one hand the number of your recipes that aren’t for me, so this just happened to be one of them is all.

  6. Amber says

    First, I make this as written. I’ve actually made it twice now.
    LOVE IT! I may add some ground ginger as another commenter mentioned, that’ll kick up the ginger flavor a bit more.

    They’re soft but eat just fine!

    Second, I use the small ice cream scooper to make these and get about 25 balls from it. I think that size scooper is about a tablespoon and a half?

  7. VickiM says

    You done it again! Other than using liquid aminos (and MORE of them), I made these exactly as in the recipe. You have created a monster. I can’t stop eating them, including straight out of the fridge today, no reheating. :) I was a bit worried, because the mixture didn’t seem that flavorful to me before baking, but in the end, the flavors just needed more time together and the seasoning is indeed fantastic. (I hate bland food and do like a lot of flavor.) When I was baking them and went to flip them after 15 min, they were still a bit too soft and stuck to the parchment. I did what I could to flip, and they were fine when done baking (no sticking). So, they probably just needed a little more time before flipping. These will go on my list of top-top recipes, along with your Best Vegan Burger.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Whoop! We’re so glad you enjoy both recipes, Vicki! Thank you so much for sharing your experience! xo

  8. Bettina says

    These are really yummy. Question:. Mine turned out really soft. I followed the recipe closely and used 2 Tbs of tamari. I don’t think reducing that to 1½ would fix them. Any thoughts?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Bettina, these will be soft in the center, but should be crispy on the outside! Increasing the bake time or temperature will help them crisp up more on the outside. Hope that helps!

  9. Emily says

    These were really good and the flavors are awesome. We really enjoyed it. The recipe was a bit labor intensive which is typical with any vegan burger/meatball recipe. In the future, I think I would double the recipe and freeze half of them for later. Thanks again for a tasty recipe!

  10. Asha says

    Hello! These look great, and I am wondering if I can substitute quinoa for brown rice, or something else, because I am allergic to quinoa? Thanks so much!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Asha! Yes! We haven’t tried it but we think brown rice would work well here. Let us know how it goes!

  11. VICKY says

    These turned out wonderful! Such an interesting flavor! Super crispy too, I think the convection oven helped for that, I also made them with pinto beans since I was out of black beans. The kids loved them too, success! thank you MB!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Tanya, we think tofu would contribute too much moisture, preventing them from getting crispy on the outside. But let us know if you give it a try!

  12. Linda says

    My husband made this recipe for me exactly as written and it was DELICIOUS!!! I didn’t bother to take pictures because it looked exactly like the ones on the blog. It is savory, moist, and exactly what I was looking for. I might add some powdered ginger next time, in addition to the fresh ginger to kick up that flavor, but that is just personal preference for lots of ginger. Thanks for another amazing recipe.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Sydney, we haven’t tested with date syrup, but it might work! Otherwise, we’d suggest subbing the tamari for coconut aminos and then you could get away with not adding sweetener. Hope that helps!

  13. Steff says

    This was super good! Used shiitake mushrooms and served with basmati rice and brussel sprouts steamed and browned in a ginger garlic olive oil. I don’t have a food processor and my blender immediately started to turn it into paste, but I had no trouble forming and baking the meatballs even with quite a few large pieces of beans/mushrooms/garlic/ginger. Next time, I’ll just mash with a fork a bit and skip the blender altogether. I’m not a fan of the traditional meatballs with tomato sauce, but this will be in regular rotation!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Steff! Thank you for the lovely review and for sharing your method! xo

  14. Elisa says

    For the Black beans, can you sub kidney beans? I’m used to black turtle beans that are smaller than what you show. I think black turtle would not give as good a texture.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Adrienne, we haven’t tested it, but think cooked and cooled brown rice would work. Let us know if you try it!

  15. The Vegan Goddess says

    I’ll probably try this Thursday and am looking forward to it.

    Did you process the sesame seeds in a food processor to get them that tiny? I have regular sesame seeds that would need to be processed to get them that fine.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi! We sprinkled whole sesame seeds on top of the meatballs as a garnish after baking. Perhaps it’s the outer ring of the quinoa you’re seeing that kind of looks like sesame seeds? Hope that helps!

  16. Maddie says

    I’m interested in trying this delicious recipe. Could I cook them in an air fryer instead of the oven? If so, would the cooking temperature or time need to be changed? Thanks

  17. Vanessa says

    Yesterday I was looking for a vegan teriyaki meatball recipe and then this recipe popped into my inbox at the right time! Can’t wait to try these “meatballs”. I know they’ll be fantastic – your Thai quinoa meatballs from your cookbook are already one of my faves! :)

        • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

          Hmm, possibly! Mushrooms add depth of flavor that we don’t think zucchini would, but if you cooked it long enough to get it browned, it might be okay. Let us know if you try it out!

          • Nithya says

            Hi! I love your recipes… I made the meatball mixture tonight to prep ahead for the rest of the week. I puréed the ingredients into a paste despite the recipe warning me not to do that. Help! Any tips on what to do? It does roll into a ball but is a little sticky. I am thinking about either stirring in some extra quinoa or whole wheat bread crumbs.

          • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

            Hi Nithya! Either extra quinoa or breadcrumbs could definitely help salvage the consistency, hope you found a useful solution!

  18. Stacie Smith says

    I love the recipe. Haven’t made it yet. I’m thinking about substituting blackstrap molasses for the honey/ maple syrup. What do you think?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Stacie, we don’t think it would taste the same. If you try it, we’d suggest maybe only using it to replace 1/2-1 teaspoon of the maple. Hope that helps!

  19. Sharone says

    This looks amazing! I’d love to try it.
    What can I swap for the quinoa? I’m one of those who’s sensitive to it. Is it there to help with binding everything or other function?
    Would rice be too sticky? Or if I’m ok with an egg/gf flour mix will that work?
    Thank you!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Sharone, we think cooked and cooled brown rice might work in place of the quinoa. Let us know if you try it!

  20. Laura says

    This looks really great. The only kind of mushrooms I can eat are the white champion de paris kind (white supermarket kind). Do you think they are a reasonable substitute for the cremini mushrooms? Would you flavor them more? Thank you!

  21. pixierita says

    These sound right up our alley except for one thing: can the sweetener (maple syrup) be omitted? We don’t use much sweetener of any kind in our food (unless it’s a dessert or baked item), and we’d rather leave it out if we could.
    Is it necessary for moisture, or structure? If so, could we just add some of the bean liquid instead?
    I appreciate you time!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi, the maple syrup helps balance out the flavor of the tamari. If you use coconut aminos instead of tamari, you could probably leave out the maple. Let us know how it goes!

      • pixierita says

        But if I do not want to balance the flavors, as I like the savory flavor of tamari and find coconut aminos way too sweet, I can leave the maple syrup out completely without making the recipe too dry, right? I don’t want to ruin the texture.
        Thank you!

  22. Joy says

    Question-I can’t have the majority of beans (low fodmap diet), w/the exception of a small serving of chick peas. What can I substitute for the black beans in this recipe? Looking forward to making this recipe. Thanks in advance.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Joy, we don’t think the flavor will be the same with chickpeas, but it could work! You may also need to add more liquid since they are drier. Let us know if you try it!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Lindsey, the ginger does add a lot of flavor here. But you could try more garlic. Hope that helps!