Simple Vegan Meatballs

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Plate of noodles with marinara and easy 10-ingredient vegan meatballs

When I was in college I lived in a shady apartment complex in Wichita. The laundry room was in a separate building, which meant I had to lug my clothes back and forth in the rain or shine to ensure I didn’t run out of presentable clothing for work and school.

Society, why do you impose such harsh rules on us?

Well, that lasted about a month. Before long I was trucking it back to my dad’s house just 20 minutes away where he’d often cook me dinner while I was folding my socks.

(Just kidding. Who folds their socks? Ugh, Rhonda. You would.)

Cutting board featuring tempeh and seasonings to make delicious vegan tempeh meatballs

If your dad is anything like mine, he’s all about simple, hearty meals.

Spaghetti was one of his specialties. A little pasta, a lotta sauce, and a considerable amount of meatiness.

In fact, one evening (whilst doing laundry), I had two platefuls then promptly passed out on his couch from sheer exhaustion. My father proceeded to fold all of my clothes for me and wake me up with a kiss on the forehead reminding me it was time to go home.

Aren’t dads the best? Mine is.

Food processor with ingredients for making our homemade vegan meatballs recipe

I still love spaghetti and crave it almost weekly.

And the good news is, meatless meatballs can taste just as delicious and are even healthier than their meaty counterparts. Who knew?

Origin of Meatballs

These days, meatballs are enjoyed all over the world and come in many different forms. But it’s believed that the idea originated from Persian meatballs known as kofta.

Our plant-based take on meatballs most closely resembles the flavors of Italian-American meatballs which are made with breadcrumbs and herbs. The story of Italian-American meatballs says that Italian immigrants served them with spaghetti and tomato sauce to make the dish more filling without much additional cost.

Freshly rolled vegan tempeh meatballs resting on a parchment-lined cutting board

How to Make Tempeh Meatballs

These meatballs are based with tempeh, which is made from fermented soy beans.

I know, sounds suspicious. But think of nutritious soy beans processed in a way that makes it like tofu, but less processed. (More info here.) This not only means it’s firmer to work with, but also more nutritionally dense! One 4 ounce serving contains ~20 grams of protein.

WHAT? Now that’s a meatball.

Baking sheet featuring a batch of our perfect meatless vegan meatballs recipe

Plus, this recipe is simple with just 10 ingredients and roughly ~45 minutes total prep and cook time. That’s manageable, right? Even for the busy cook.

Vegan meatballs, pasta, parsley, and marinara for the perfect vegan meal

And the important part: What do they taste like? They’re

Warm
Savory
Tender on the inside
Firm with a crust on the outside
Italian herb-infused
Fresh
Simple
Satisfying
& PERFECT with marinara and pasta

Plates of pasta topped with marinara, vegan meatballs, parsley, and vegan parmesan cheese

This recipe would be the perfect special weeknight meal. Though it takes a little more time to prepare, it’s still simple in nature and yields an incredibly satisfying meal that’s wonderfully healthy and nutritionally dense. What more could you ask for?

While I can’t offer you laundry service while you enjoy this meal (thanks, dad), I can say it’s worth the effort and is sure to satisfy the whole family.

Close up shot of a plate loaded high with pasta, marinara, and homemade vegan meatballs
Holding up a marinara-dipped vegan meatball on a fork

We hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did! If you give it a try, be sure to let us know! Leave a comment, Pin it, or take a picture and tag it #minimalistbaker on Instagram. We genuinely love seeing what you cook up. Cheers!

Simple Vegan Meatballs

10-ingredient vegan meatballs with tons of flavor and simple preparation. Perfect atop pasta or on their own in your favorite marinara sauce.
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Plate of spaghetti noodles topped with marinara and Tempeh Meatballs
4.84 from 120 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 22 (meatballs)
Course Entree
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Italian-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 Month (freeze before baking)
Does it keep? 2-3 Days

Ingredients

FOR MEATBALLS

  • 1/2 cup white onion (minced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 Tbsp flaxseed meal (to make flax egg)
  • 2 ½ Tbsp water (to make flax egg)
  • 8 ounces tempeh* (or as recipe is written, sub 1 heaping cup rinsed and drained chickpeas for similar result)
  • 1/3 cup vegan parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp Italian seasonings (or 1/2 tsp each dried basil and oregano)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley (optional)
  • 1/2 cup vegan bread crumbs (gluten-free for GF eaters // or sub almond meal)
  • 2 Tbsp your favorite marinara or tomato sauce
  • Olive oil (for sautéing)
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)

FOR COATING

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C) and prepare flax egg in a small dish by mixing flaxseed meal and water and let it rest for a few minutes.
  • In a large, deep skillet, sauté onion and garlic in 1/2 Tbsp olive oil (as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) over medium heat until soft and translucent – about 3 minutes. Set aside.
  • Add tempeh to food processor and pulse to break down. Then add sautéed garlic, onion, and remaining ingredients (except olive oil) and mix, scraping down sides as needed. You want it to form into a moldable “dough.”
  • Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. The tempeh will come across as a little bitter, but once coated, baked and served with marinara it’s not nearly as apparent.
  • NOTE: Depending on how salty your vegan parmesan cheese is, you may need to add a little salt and pepper at this point. However, I didn’t find it necessary.
  • Scoop out 1 Tbsp amounts of dough and roll into balls. At this time, heat the same skillet you used earlier to medium heat.
  • Mix remaining bread crumbs and parmesan cheese together in a shallow dish. Add tempeh balls one or two at a time and roll to coat.
  • Add enough olive oil to form a thin layer on the bottom of your hot skillet, then add your coated tempeh balls in two batches, as to not crowd the pan. Brown for about 5 minutes total, shaking the pan to roll them around to brown all sides.
  • Add browned meatballs to a baking sheet and add to the oven to bake for about 15 minutes, or longer if desired for a crispier result.
  • At this time, prep any pasta your want to serve with your meatballs, as well as your favorite marinara sauce (I love this pizza sauce).
  • Once meatballs are deep golden brown and fairly firm to the touch, remove from oven.
  • To serve, top cooked pasta with meatballs and pour over marinara sauce. Top with another sprinkle of vegan parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to a few days, though best when fresh.

Video

Notes

*Though I haven’t tried it myself, you can steam or boil tempeh for ~15 minutes before use to neutralize its flavor. However, I didn’t find it necessary.
*Heavily adapted from One Green Planet
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.

Nutrition (1 of 22 servings)

Serving: 1 meatball Calories: 58 Carbohydrates: 4.1 g Protein: 3.3 g Fat: 3.6 g Saturated Fat: 0.6 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.8 g Monounsaturated Fat: 1.7 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 73 mg Potassium: 88 mg Fiber: 0.9 g Sugar: 0.7 g Vitamin A: 6 IU Vitamin C: 0.7 mg Calcium: 15.8 mg Iron: 0.5 mg

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  1. Ada says

    I’ve made this recipe a few times and love it, except I find that the balls really stick to the pan during browning and break apart. I’ve tried more/less oil, various heats, and a couple different pans (stainless steel, cast iron, enameled cast iron). Any tips for less stickage?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Ada, We’re so glad you enjoy it! We’d suggest trying more breadcrumbs. Hope that helps!

  2. Polly says

    Super yummy! Love your recipes–you are a go-to! Questions (sorry): is the serving size really 1 meatball? And the whole batch is 1400+ calories? Seems healthier than that. Thank you for confirming. I want to enter this accurately into MyFitnessPal. :)

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Polly, we’re so glad you enjoy it! You can enjoy as much as you want for 1 serving =) But for the nutrition calculation, it is for 1 meatball just for ease of calculating. The nutrition looks pretty accurate, but we’ll give it another look and modify anything if it’s off!

    • Polly says

      Thank you! I’ll admit, I loved the meatballs so much, I ate half the batch. I need to own up to it on MyFitnessPal!! And I should try to control myself next time!

  3. Lisa P says

    Delicious!!! This is my favorite vegan meatball recipe, and my non-vegan husband loves it, too. I make it nearly every week using chickpeas and your recipe for yeast-free cashew parmesan. Thank you!

  4. Lisa Peters says

    I absolutely love these meatballs. I always make them with chickpeas and a batch of your Yeast-Free Cashew Parmesan. We serve them with spaghetti or in a (vegan) meatball sub sandwich. So good!

    • Emily says

      These meatless balls were incredibly flavorful. The carnivorous people in my family tolerated them at first, then decided they actually liked them. The additional coating before pan frying is a necessary step; those who are tempted to skip it are missing out.

      I used non-vegan Parmesan, a real egg, and homemade sourdough breadcrumbs. I topped them with homemade marinara.

      Thank you for a great recipe. I’ll be keeping this one!

  5. Colleen Sikorski says

    I have been searching for a vegetarian protein to eat with pasta dishes for a long time. This hit the spot. It took me longer than 15 minutes to prep (but I did have to make my own breadcrumbs and vegan parmesan while making this recipe). Having both of those things to go would significantly cut down on prep time. Overall, I can not recommend this recipe enough! I made it with chickpeas and loved the taste.

  6. Moersch says

    I searched for easy vegetarian meatballs and these are not it.
    While they may be great tasting and maybe even easy to make they contain ingredients that are not known to me and certainly not part of my stock ingredients on hand.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Moersch, sorry to hear that! We also have these and these. If vegetarian, not vegan, you could sub regular parmesan. If there are other ingredients you don’t have around, feel free to ask or search in the comments and we may be able to offer an alternative.

    • Nicole says

      These were great and very easy! I skipped the onion to save effort and my sensitive tummy, replaced the breadcrumbs with rolled oats ground in the food processor, and skipped coating them with breadcrumbs. After shaping, I dabbed my fingers in a little oil and gave the balls a once over, then sprinkled some vegan parm over them. I baked these in a large cast iron skillet with about a TBS of oil for 25 minutes and they were beautifully browned, crisp on the outside and perfect inside. I was so excited to make something other than fake bacon with the tempeh I had and my boyfriend loved it too, thank you Dana!

  7. Alli says

    This was INCREDIBLE for meatball subs! Would maybe use a little less salt for the vegan parm but everything else was spot on for me – so so delicious!! Definitely saving this recipe – thanks for sharing!!

  8. Anna says

    I used oatmeal instead of bread crumbs (that’s all I had!!) and they worked REALLY well. I loved the flavor and the consistency from the food processor was perfect. Great recipe! Thank you!

  9. Marina says

    This is my go-to recipe for a delicious pasta meal with vegan meatballs. Such a feel good meal. I use a can of chickpeas and only one garlic clove due to slight intolerance, but still very delicious!
    We have even made these in burger shapes for on a bun with some fresh vegetables.

      • Lorene says

        Once you get the onions and garlic sautéed, it’s pretty quick to combine and mix in the food processor. Add plenty of seasonings!

  10. Evalata says

    Hi Dana! I want to make a vegan Italian wedding soup which is traditionally with boiled (in the soup) tiny meatballs. Do you think that I can put these meatballs in the soup and let them stew with the veggies? Or will I have to add them directly to my plate once I have served the soup? Just wondering if they would fall apart if they stay in the pot. 🤔

    Many thanks!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Unfortunately that won’t work with these as they won’t hold up. I’ll have to hink on alternatives!

  11. Advith Natarajan says

    This vegan meatball recipe was amazing! We air-fried our meatballs instead of pan-frying and baking them and they turned out super crispy! We had some leftover olive garden breadsticks and cut them vertically almost like a cheesesteak! I will definitely be making this in the future!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Smart! Thanks for sharing, Advith! Next time would you mind adding a rating to your review? It’s super helpful to us and other readers! xo

  12. Maureen says

    Delicious! I used 1 c. chickpeas option. So much tastier than the faux meatballs. Would definitely make this again, thanks!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed them, Maureen! Thanks so much for the lovely review!

  13. Claire says

    I have made this recipe twice and it is one of my favourites! It is so delicious and works really well! ❤️

  14. Lydia says

    Loved this recipe. very easy and tasty. Always enjoy recipes that have a lot of protein in them. I doubled the batch and we ate almost all of them. Great lunch the next day. Thanks.

  15. Pat says

    Just made this recipe and I was so impressed! Lots of flavor and stayed together very well. I replaced the flax egg with Red Mill brand egg replacer. I also used chickpeas instead of tempeh, yielded about 10. Will definitely double next time for more leftovers!

  16. Hilah says

    I love this recipe!! I’ve made it many times. I also sauté chopped mushrooms with the onion and sometimes substitute the parm with nutritionist yeast! So delish:)

  17. Chloe Bergman-Ray says

    These came out so great! I substituted one regular egg and real parmesan cheese (since we aren’t vegan – at least not yet!) and they stuck together so well and have a delicious taste. Thank you !! Will make again.

  18. Carly says

    Hi!

    I love all of your recipes and was looking to try out a new vegetarian meatball recipe! I was wondering which you recommend between this one “Simple Vegan Meatballs,” and “The Best Vegan Meatballs” which is also on your blog. I see that they’re made with really different ingredients – what do you find is the difference in taste and texture between the two?

    Thanks for your help!!!

  19. Suzanne says

    Wow, these were SO good! So moist and flavorful. I was shocked that they could stick together so well without eggs. My husband did say they took longer to cook than the recipe said. He cooked them for at least 10 minutes longer because they were too mushy at first. I will definitely double the recipe next time as there wasn’t much left over after feeding a family of 4. Thanks for the great vegan recipe!

  20. Dean says

    I want to use a slow cooker and serve them
    For super bowl gathering . After I make the balls , before they go in oven I’m guessing
    Than how long in slow cooker
    Thanks

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      I haven’t tried these in the slow cooker, but I’m guessing you’d bake in the oven as instructed, then keep them on low with the lid cracked so steam can escape up to several hours. If you try it let us know how it goes!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      So sorry to hear that was your experience, Cori! Would you mind sharing what you disliked about it? We’d love to help troubleshoot, if possible.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Oh no! Sorry to hear they didn’t turn out for you. It sounds like maybe they needed more breadcrumbs or another dry ingredient?

  21. Elizabeth Hill says

    These meatless meat balls taste so good . There is so much flavor. I had one problem mine came out flats. Any suggestion on what I could of done wrong .

      • Leigh says

        I read this comment and thought hmmm, they must have done something very wrong for them to turn out flat! However, I have just made them and the same thing happened! I’ve made them before and they were firm and perfect. This time, I think I overworked the mixture making it too sloppy. I think this is the problem, even after forming nice balls, they just didn’t hold.

        • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

          Sorry to hear that, Leigh! But thank you for sharing. Hope it goes better next time! Let us know if you are still having issues.

  22. Susan May says

    These are my new favorite meatballs!! I used 1/4 C of egg beaters (instead of the flax egg) and 1 can of chickpeas-rinsed and drained (instead of the tempeh) since I had those items on hand. This is a keeper for sure!!!

  23. Joan says

    Love, love, love! Made these last night to go with a vegan sun-dried tomato pasta dish. Used chickpea and aquafaba (instead of tempeh and flax egg) and they turned out great! Husband is obsessed ??

  24. Pat says

    I’m wondering if I can stew the meatballs straight into some tomato sauce (without browning them in the pan and in the oven. Just straight from the processor to a stew).

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      They won’t hold their shape as well but let us know if you give it a try! What about brushing with sauce and then baking?

  25. Whitley says

    I made this with chickpeas instead of tempeh. I have an ordinary blender so I recommend blending the chickpeas, egg (or flax egg) and sauteed onion/garlic together, then putting mixture in a bowl and mixing the rest of the meatball ingredients in with a wooden spoon. Turned out great!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks for sharing, Whitley! Next time would you mind adding a rating to your review? It’s super helpful to us and other readers! xo

  26. Maddy says

    Really love this recipe and have made the meatballs for spaghetti a handful of times. Was wondering if anyone had any advice on making these for a party? Like in a Crock-Pot to eat with toothpicks.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Maddy! We aren’t sure how they would hold up in a crockpot, but if you do some experimenting, we would love to hear how it goes!

  27. Brianne says

    I made these last night, using my ninja blender instead of a food processor, tempeh straight out of the package, regular parmesean cheese, parmesean bread crumbs and the 1\4 cup fresh spinach. They were amazing! I served them as part of a Thanksgiving type feast, and they paired so well with mashed potatoes and gravy and cranberry sauce. They were also great just on their own. All of my meat eating friends went back for more, and my husband even asked me to make them again! So so good. I found that these required more of a squish into a ball shape, as opposed to rolling like cookie dough, but they stayed together really well in the pan. I was so impressed. I feel like these would be really great made as falafel too!

  28. Jessica Crandall says

    Thank you!
    I made the recipe subbing an egg for the flax, and used tempeh which I did not steam. The meatballs came out great. I will definitely make it again.

  29. Alexandra says

    These meatballs are the best! I have made the tempeh version many times and they are always perfect. My meat eating partner regularly requests them. I make them with an egg and Parmesan cheese as I’m vegetarian rather than vegan, I also add some dried chilli for some spiciness.

  30. Laurence says

    Best vegan meatballs recipe ever tried! They are full of flavours even though it doesn’t require much ingredients and way too easy for the DELICIOUSSS result. Now, when it’s time to make some vegan meatballs to pu on my spaghetti squash, I’m always using this recipe!

  31. Sabrina says

    I made this today. We love it…. I used chickpeas… It was very tasty! Even, my five year old son said that it is tasteful…

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Great! Thanks for sharing, Sabrina! Next time would you mind adding a rating to your review? It’s super helpful to us and other readers! xo

  32. Kay says

    What a wonderful story about your father and you. He sounds like a dear man. You are one lucky woman. And I will try ur meatball recipe using garbanzo beans since I have so many (dried) in my food storage.

  33. Amy says

    Hi. Just made these wonderful “meatballs” with tempeh and flax egg as part of our first attempts to cook hearty vegan comfort foods after my boyfriend was diagnosed with cancer. I added turmeric and ginger to the garlic saute for nutrients and flavor. They turned out great! Topped with a spirulina spiked marinara sauce makes for a cancer fighting superfood meal. Thanks!

  34. Breanna says

    These are delicious!! My whole family loves them. However, I am having a lot of trouble with then falling apart and not sure what I’m doing wrong. I used chickpeas and an almond flour/gf bread crumb combo. Any ideas why I’m having so much trouble with making them into actual meat balls instead of weird squished lumps or them crumbling apart??

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks for sharing, Breanna! Sounds like they may just be a little too dry? Scale back on the almond flour / GF bread crumb combo next time!

      • Breanna Meo says

        Thank you! So I actually had ended up adding extra almond flour because the “dough” seemed to mushy and sticky to mold into ball. Is there something else I should have done instead to make it more moldable?

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

          I think you did the right thing! The other ingredient that I find helps with binding is puréed sundried tomatoes, which can be subbed for tomato sauce or added as needed for moisture. Hello flavor bomb.

  35. Magaly says

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I wanted to cook for lunch zucchini “pasta” with natural tomato sauce and I thought I would like to add some vegan “meat”balls. I enjoyed following your recipe a lot! I used chickpeas instead of Tempeh and made my own bread crumbs. I used a little bit more of seasonings. Everything worked out great, they were crunchy outside and the texture inside was a little bit like meat. I even heard my husband saying more than once “this is gooood” ???

  36. Alysia says

    I made the recipe as written. The flavor was amaaazing! However, the texture was kind of airy / disintegrate-y. I’m not sure what caused this.

  37. Beth says

    These turned out to be so delicious! (I did make the poor choice to substitute in seitan after being unable to find tempeh in any nearby grocery stores. It did not work well — the mixture was too sticky and loose and didn’t properly form into balls.) Besides my misguided attempt to substitute the tempeh, these were so flavorful and definitely a worthy plant-based alternative to traditional meatballs. Yum!

  38. Brooke says

    I was super excited to find this tempeh recipe & even more excited when I tasted them! YUM!
    The three changes I made are: I used egg instead of the flax, I didn’t put the vegan cheese in the coating and I made 8 large meatballs instead of so many small. These were easy to make and delicious. (I even convinced my meat loving hubs to try and he said they were good – that’s HUGE!)
    Thanks for the amazing recipe!

  39. cis says

    Unfortunately, had some tempeh the other day and my tummy bloated up like crazy!
    Don’t think I can take it at the moment (or anymore)
    And yet, I would probably have been ok with high quality meat (not that I eat it often at all…)
    Go figure…

  40. Margot says

    Hi!
    This is the second tempeh-based meatballs recipe that I try. The first one was meh, yours is amazing!
    I substituted the flax seed with real egg, didn’t coat them and only fried them (I was careful not to make them too big then).
    Their taste really reminded me of traditional meatballs. It’s not the same, but it feels “meaty”. The parmesan really does a lot of the job (I used a good farmhouse parmesan that is stronger than storebought one)

    However it’s good to note that when I tried to freeze the leftovers I had of raw “meat”balls in order to cook them only 2 days later the taste was a lot milder, so I would advise not to. They were OK, but they didn’t have that “wow” effect.

    Thanks again for this recipe, and sorry for the broken english.

    • Margot says

      (so my version is vegetarian, not vegan! I’ll try the vegan version later, but I already had the non-vegan ingredients so)

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Margot, thank you for the kind review and for sharing your experience! Happy cooking!

  41. Cathy says

    My son is living with us while saving for a house. He is a vegetarian. My husband has stage 3 kidney disease and his nephrologist really recommends a plant based diet. With those factors in mind, I am always on the hunt for good recipes. I had planned on fixing spaghetti and meatballs but forgot to pick up some vegan meatballs when shopping. My husband was thrilled (he continues to say the vegetarian meals I fix would be perfect with some meat!). Undeterred, I looked online for a vegetarian meatball recipe. I happened on this one. While I did not have the tempeh, I did have chickpeas so I subbed those. My son said that these were better than any store bought premade that he has had before. More importantly, my husband liked them…not just tolerated them, but LIKED them! Definitely a keeper in our house (and I bought your cookbook for more inspiration!).

    • Kim Kacer says

      On the kidney disease, please look into “slippery elm bark” and alpha-lipoic acid @300mg max/day I like the Jarrow Brand. See if that won’t mitigate your husband’s kidney disease a bit.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Vicky, we like to use the Tofurky or Lightlife brands and have found them at Whole Foods and other health food stores. Hope that helps!

  42. Rachel Hill says

    I love Amy’s frozen vegan meatballs, and wanted to try to make my own – your recipe was perfect! Thanks for sharing. :)

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jojo! I would recommend just freezing them WITHOUT baking, and then just baking them at 350 or 375 until golden brown and hot. Hope that helps!

  43. Stefanie says

    I am super excited to try these, however I can’t have nutritional yeast… any recommendations for substitutions?

    Thanks!

  44. Emily Garcia says

    I just made these and they were absolutely incredible. I did steam my tempeh as suggested for 15 min. I doubled the recipe and instead of another 8 oz tempeh I did about 2 c cauliflower and broccoli rice mix to add some veggies for my toddler. After sautéing the onions and garlic I added the veggies for a couple min so they were soft. I used the almond flour option and Dana’s recipe for Parmesan cheese. Thank you Dana- your recipes never disappoint!

  45. Amanda says

    These look great! I was wondering if you think these could be made without a food processor by just combining/mixing the ingredients in a bowl? (I don’t have a good processor). Thank you!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Amanda! Another reader used a potato masher instead of a food processor and had success. That might be something you want to try?

  46. Mick Barr says

    OK so I followed the recipe perfectly. And I found the mixture to be a bit dry so it added 2 tablespoons of marinara sauce and couple tablespoons water. They looked great when I put them in the oil to fry them. But once in the oil they started to fall apart. I think maybe because I was playing them with a spatula rather than just rolling around in the frying pan. Second batch I didn’t touch I just moved this is Brian Perron around and they stayed together . Then when I transferred them to the baking sheet bake them everything was good. But then when I put them in the marinara sauce afterwords they started to disintegrate again. Any thoughts? The ones that stay together tasted OK but didn’t look so good. Any thoughts?

  47. Jesse says

    I was super hesitant about making these since isn’t never worked with tempeh before, but these looked so goo I had to try! Made them tonight and they turned out amazing!!! Even the carnivore bf loves them ?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yay! We’re so glad to hear that, Jesse! If you wouldn’t mind leaving a star review as well, that would help us out a ton :D

  48. Kyttin Richards says

    I’ve made this several times, and LOVE it, to the extent I wanna double up on making it, however in that size, I’m unable to cook all of them at the same time…any tips on preserving remaining mix while waiting for the first batch to bake?? Can I just pop it in the fridge???

  49. Loren says

    Hi! I just came across your recipe and I am excited to try these tonight. My first time making vegan meatballs, I used chickpeas and they pretty mch fell apart. I never thought to use tempeh, the consistency is a lot more firmer and should hold better. My question to you is how much is a ‘batch’ of flax egg? I understand how to make flax egg (1tbsp flax to 1.5 tbsp water) but I am curious as to how much I would need for this recipe? Would 1:1.5 be enough? Thank you.

  50. Jo says

    So I made these, they were quite difficult to fry because they turned squishy and the coating would fall off if not careful. I made it with chickpeas, not tempeh. I will admit they could have gone wrong due to my aversion of accurate measuring, but I’ve been cooking a long time so I tend to eye my ingredients. The taste was great, but I need veggie meatballs that are truly easy. Any chance you have a recipe that results in crispy veg balls without the frying step?

  51. Cristina says

    I love this recipe! I usually make them into a “meatball” sub sandwich with sauce and mozzarella so I don’t bother rolling in extra breadcrumbs before cooking. They come out great every time and I keep coming back to this recipe over and over. I don’t modify anything except leaving off the last step of rolling in breadcrumbs. Thanks for the great recipe!!

  52. Mark Royer says

    What do you think about substituting ground walnuts for the bread crumbs? Certainly a lot more heart healthy yumminess but I was wondering about the texture and moisture/possible dryness. I am definitely going to try this recipe but don’t want to screw it up and waste all these ingredients. Thanks.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Mark! While we haven’t tried using walnuts in place of the bread crumbs, another reader had success with almond meal! If you give it a try though, report back on how it goes! Stay tuned as we have a new vegan meatball recipe coming out in the coming weeks :D

  53. Doug says

    I made the chickpea version and they were very good, probably the best vegan meatballs that I have ever made. They were far better than any of the lentil versions I have made in the past. I will definitely try the tempeh version. We love tempeh, but had recently used ours for some tacos.

  54. Lyn G says

    Best vegan “meat”balls I’ve made so far! I substituted Grapenuts for the breadcrumbs, didn’t do the last step (rolling them in breadcrumb/parm mixture) and omitted oil.. and they still were amazing! (The longer they bake, the firmer they get)

  55. Anisha says

    Hi,
    This recipe sounds great. I have been thinking of a meatless meatball recipe, but didn’t know such a thing ever existed! I am a vegetarian and my son (18 going on 40), is now such a picky eater. He used to eat everything as a baby and my friends with babies were jealous of me. But that has passed, and he now lives on pizzas and plain pasta. I am going to try it today and let you know how it turned out. I suppose I could use actual cheese because I eat dairy – just no meat.
    Oh I’m so excited!

  56. Pamela Skinberg says

    Woo hoo! These were great. I didn’t find the tempeh bitter as much as tangy, and it was just fine. The texture, the consistency, everything was perfect. I used some thyme and some basil for seasoning, and I also used a little bit of my Lizano Salso (a Costa Rican condiment which is not salsa, more like a vegan worcestershire sauce in addition to the marinara sauce. It added a wonderful depth of flavour and a bit of colour.

    The balls held together perfectly through the sauteeing and baking, and were nice and crunchy but not dry in the dish. Game-changer. Thank you!!

  57. Marie says

    Hi Dana,

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I made it tonight with chickpeas and it was amazing!!! Had it with zucchini “spaghetti” and everyone loved it! Wondered if it’s possible to make these ahead of time and freeze them?

    Very grateful to you!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Marie! We’re glad you enjoyed the recipe! I think they would freeze well and would recommend just freezing them WITHOUT baking, and then just baking them at 350 or 375 until golden brown and hot. Hope that helps!

  58. judy says

    Made these tonight, per recipe. Turned out terrific, just needed to bake them a little longer. My husband loved them. I had some quinoa, mushroom and walnut meatballs at Cashew in Chattanooga this weekend so while looking for a similar recipe, I came across these, and though different, were great and quick to make. So many great recipes Dana, thank you.

  59. Maria L says

    Made these vegan meatballs for dinner last night using canned and drained chickpeas. (We try to avoid soy.) My family commented that of all the vegan meatballs I’ve made so far, these were the BEST!!! I used them on top of spaghetti squash with some tomato and basil marinara sauce —- so delicious!

    Since we’re avoiding oil, I baked these on parchment paper for about 30-35 minutes, turning them over after 15 minutes. These were so tasty right out of the oven! Had to tell myself to stop eating as I would have been too full to sit down for dinner. Lol

    Major thumbs up on this recipe, Dana!

  60. Pip Shoemaker says

    I normally buzz past the story part on recipes to the i gredie ts first (although they do look incredible).

    After noting the grocery list I cannot find your Instructions. The section is plastered with a giant knorr ad? Visiting on an iPad

    Where are the directions?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Pip! I’ll pass along your feedback to the team regarding the ad – sorry you had some trouble with that. If you email us at support@minimalistbaker.com, I’d be happy to email you the directions. Lastly, would you mind emailing us a screenshot of what you’re seeing so we can solve the issue? Thanks!

  61. Donna says

    Hi! I made the meatballs your dad made….so great! Now I’m craving meatloaf….think this will translate?

  62. Michelle says

    Made these for dinner last night. They really were delicious. I’ve only tried cooking with tempeh once before and it was a total mess. This time I took the boiling first step and that worked great.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Zoe! While we haven’t tried without using a food processor, you may be able to do it in a blender? If you give it a try, report back on how it goes!

  63. Esther says

    I’ve made these using chickpeas twice and they turned out great both times. They are tender but they don’t fall apart. The second time I’ve made them I’ve used different nuts for parmesan and it turned out just as good

  64. Jasmine says

    I love this recipe. I use chickpeas instead of temper and, almond meal instead of bread crumbs; works perfectly. Easy to make, delicious and nutritious. My 3 year old loves it too. Thank you for sharing!

  65. Lisa says

    I’m not vegan, i am a total meatball whore, and am equally obsessed with cheese stuff. That said, I just plain can’t get over how great these are.

    First of all, the vegan parm is shockingly similar to its dairy counterpart.

    Secondly, the MEATBALLS themselves. I’m half Italian and grew up with my grandma’s Sunday gravy and meatballs – these are not the same, but I can honestly say I’d be just as happy to eat these. I even made them for my father, the reigning meatball sub king, with Daiya provolone slices, and he was blown away. Next time I make these will be with your mozz recipe.

    Thanks so much for what you do. When I need a vegan recipe, yours are the first I perouse, hands down.

  66. Spenser Rush says

    I made them subbing chickpeas for tempeh and they taste great but they flattened out when I baked them :( any tips?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Kris! You can add the flax egg to the food processor in Step 2 when you add all of the remaining ingredients. I agree, it is not super clear so I will adjust the directions for future recipe makers. Happy Cooking!

  67. Bonnie Harnden says

    Excited to try this – love your recipes! I was wondering, my family always makes meatballs in a slow-cooker for the holidays (traditional – in a jam sauce). Do you think these might hold up in a slow cooker after I bake them? Also wondering if I could make ahead and freeze?

  68. Princess Anthony says

    Excellent recipe! The meat balls were dilicious, I used a habanero seasoning to spice it up. My girlfriend who is not vegan loved them!
    Thanks

  69. Mandy F. says

    Hi!

    I was wondering, is there anything I can use instead of tempeh? Can’t really have that much soy :'(

    Thanks! :D

    MF

  70. Shannon says

    I just gave this paired with some spaghetti squash, marinara, and extra nut parmesan to some of my clients (I’m a personal chef) and have gotten back RAVE reviews. I will definitely be keeping this in my rotation. I think I made them a tiny bit bigger than in the recipe, but it was fine. I baked them for about 18 minutes.

  71. Maryann says

    These are good, but unfortunately fall apart is put in tomato sauce because they fall apart. You can only put sauce on them. I only made about a dozen meatballs with this recipe.

  72. Megan says

    Love the anecdote about your dad! Reminds me of my dad:) These look amazing! I want to try to make barbecue meatballs… i.e. vegetarian meatballs in barbecue sauce… so hopefully they turn out well!

  73. Kim says

    These vegan ‘meatballs’ are a staple in our house. We LOVE them, the kids love them, and even our meat-eating friends can’t get enough. For those who have asked – I tried them in a slow cooker, they still taste amazing but tend to break apart as they cook/you stir – I prefer them fresh from the oven for the crispiness.

  74. Corey says

    Made these for the second time tonight and love! I omitted the parsley and bumped up the herbs a tad, a tablespoon. Used the tempeh and chickpea breadcrumbs since I’m gluten free. Served with sauce over chickpea pasta, sprinkle of vegan parm! Satiating and easy. Thanks for this recipe!

  75. Cari-Lenn Miles says

    I made these last night for my hubby and I. I couldn’t wait to taste it. I knew it would be scrumpdiliumtious! Thank you for sharing your gift. Sooooo delish!

  76. Lynne says

    I just made these (with non-vegan egg and cheese) and I love them! I wanted a tasty high-protein veggie ball and this does it. Thank you so much. One discovery – I found that the parmesan for the coating had to be finely grated or it wouldn’t stick.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Nick! We haven’t tried it, so we can’t say for sure! If you try it out, let us know how it goes!

  77. Andy L says

    Really delicious! Made this with chickpeas, a little crumbly when I made it so I added a little bit more of the pasta sauce- turned out amazing and I will definitely make this again!

  78. Jessica says

    simply amazing! put these on top of zoodles with vegan pesto and it was delicious! i will most definitely be making these again. i also used nutritional yeast for my cheesey umami flavor and it worked perfectly :)

  79. Rebecca says

    I made these tonight, and was really impressed by how nicely they rolled into a little ball shape. It seems like they would be pretty easy to modify into something that looks a lot like chicken nuggets. Any ideas on flavorings to head in that direction? I’m happily vegan for just about two months now, and am looking for ways to move my three kiddos in that direction. Thanks!

  80. Cassia says

    Just made these! Used chickpeas instead. They were so good! I made some zucchini pasta and I’m so excited about the vegan Parmesan! This recipe is a keeper!

  81. Kelley says

    I made these tonight for dinner.. delicious! I followed the recipe exactly as written and they turned out great!

  82. Aavichu says

    Just made these with chickpeas. Very tasty indeed! Another person had a texture problem when making the chickpea version but mine turned out fine. I used the whole can of chickpeas and just upped the other ingredients correspondingly, adding breadcrumbs until I had the right dough consistency. Nice with a tangy Arabiatta sauce on a roll as a meatball sandwich.

  83. Miranda says

    These are *the* best vegan meatballs I have ever made (and I’ve made many, many, many)!! I still love some other recipes (your lentil ones, the Isa Does It tempeh ones) but these just knocked everything else out of the park. I think the key is using the food processor to really soften these babies up, and then not forgetting to pan-fry them before heading to the oven (I accidentally did those with the lentil ones!). Seriously amazing — flavors were spot-on and the smell is intoxicating. The texture is just right, too, and these balls didn’t crumble on me and fall apart like all the others. I will be making these for many days to come!! Thank you, Dana, for this absolutely perfect recipe!

  84. April El says

    These turned out amazing. I cannot believe how good they are and will absolutely be making them again. Thanks for the great recipe!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Linda! It is to be added with the “remaining ingredients.” But, I saw that could be confusing so I added a note. Thanks!

  85. Sherri says

    I mean it is Nationals Meatball Day! Love your website. Every recipe has been spot on delicious, including this one. Thank you! Cheers!

  86. Monique says

    These are amazing!
    I’m recently vegetarian and this was literally the first recipe I tried and I’m in love. I used chickpeas instead of tempeh as I couldn’t find any and they turned out amazing.
    My family loves them too and they are avid meat eaters!
    I’m totally gonna make them again.

  87. KInara says

    Oh. My. Heck. I made these for dinner with spaghetti and a big salad with your vegan caesar dressing. Fantastic and surprisingly meaty. The texture was similar to turkey meatballs but the flavor was incredible.

  88. Dara says

    Hi Dana! I am OBSESSED with these meatballs and have been making them every Sunday for dinner for my fam! I have a question for you, would I be able to prepare the meatballs (but not cook them) and then keep them in the fridge overnight? We’re traveling for my dad’s birthday and I really want to make these for my parents, but I just thought it would be easier to have them already made up when we got there. So I’d just have to fry them and bake. Do you think that would work? Thank you!!

  89. Alexandra says

    These were soooo delicious! I made them with tempeh last week and am keen to try the sundried tomato meatball recipe next! I added extra chilli and a little more of the other spices but otherwise followed the recipe exactly.

  90. Aubrey says

    While comments about how good a recipe looks are nice, I always find it more helpful to know of those who tried it and what they thought. So I’m writing this to say I made these meatballs tonight and they were AMAZING! I have made vegan meatballs before and every problem that I’ve ever had making them was solved with this recipe here. I followed it exactly and the flavoring was perfect and the meatballs held together. I served it over a mix of spaghetti, zucchini noodles, homemade sauce and vegan parmesan to top. They are to die for! I will be making these in batches, putting them in a jar and freezing them for nights where I just want to whip something amazing together. It’ll definitely be added to my staple recipes.

    Thanks so much for the delightful dish!

  91. darby says

    These were awesome! (and probably would’ve been even MORE awesome if I had all of the ingredients… ahaha)

    I *thought* I had chickpeas since I always have some on hand, but i didn’t! I also didn’t have tempeh, so I found a can of white beans and used 3/4 cup of those and 1/4 cup of walnuts.. I figure tempeh and chickpeas are slightly dry so I wanted to add something dry to the beans…

    Still turned out amazing! Your recipe made them well-seasoned, crispy outside, totally meat-like (which I don’t need but it was almost weird rolling them. totally felt like hamburger – which now grosses me out so I was SO HAPPY it was just beans!!) and boyfriend was pretty jazzed about ’em! He wasn’t into plant substitutions at first, but after bring “Brave” and trying some of your recipes he actually loves whatever I make now. score!

    LOVE your recipes as always. What a fun way to jazz up boring old spaghetti night (and not feel so poor). I chopped up the remainder of my onion and tossed it into my sauce, a can of olives, a bell pepper and it was a hearty, healthy and DELICIOUS meal – and SUPER easy!

  92. Lisa says

    Thank you for this recipe! Best vegetarian meatball Ive tried! I omitted the oil, and just baked them instead of frying first to save a step and actually forgot to to roll them in the extra coating (whoops!) But they turned out great! Cant wait to try more of your recipes!

  93. Charlie Goyer says

    It took a little more than expected, but wow, totally worth it ! I didn’t have parsley so I put sun dried tomates instead. Add a little parprika and italian spices… mmmmmh.
    I used the leftovers as a burger… that I ate right away cause it semelle just soooo delicious. Hihi !
    Thank you some much for the recipe. Just discovered your blog and love it already !
    ++ Great pictures, good job.

  94. Alicia says

    Hi! My boyfriend and I LOVE these, they are so delicious I crave them all the time. The only problem is that whenever I put them in the skillet to fry they start to fall apart. What am I doing wrong, yours look perfect!

  95. Erin says

    Just wondering; why use chickpeas as a substitute for tempeh instead of tofu? I haven’t tried tempeh, but from what I read it’d seem tofu would make for a better substitute. (Feel free to correct me if I’m horribly off the mark with my assumptions)

    • Emily says

      I use chickpeas because I can’t eat soy. Tempeh or tofu or anything that derives from soybeans creates a really nasty hormonal imbalance that makes the condition I have worse.

  96. Nik says

    These are excellent! I made two batches… I realized my second batch was better than the first. For anyone who might be interested, a tip: the hotter the oil (without smoking), the less soaked they get (and the less likely they are to crumble) My first batch, I had the oil on medium-low (which was too low, I think) and they did crumble a little bit in the oven. My second batch, I put the oil up to medium and let it heat up. This also allows you to fry them for less time (3 minutes rather than 5) and, I think, made it so that they set up better because they were not soaked with oil through the center.

    Great recipe! Will definitely make again!

  97. TJ says

    I realized last night that I have made these 5 or 6 times & I don’t think I’ve ever left a comment. Thank You for this amazing recipe! My husband & I tried countless recipes for vegan (& gluten-free) “meat”-balls but we’re always frustrated. They fell apart, didn’t cook easily or simply didn’t taste good. Not so with these. We LOVE them! I’ve always made them with garbanzo beans because we always have them on hand. (We buy bulk organic dried beans, soak overnight, cook the next day in a slow cooker & then store in 1-cup increments in freezer…) I’ve used both plain tomato sauce & pasta sauce – each worked beautifully. I’ve also used fresh or dried parsley. Both work great. Up until last night I’d always used Parma! cheese in & on these. Last night I still rolled them in Parma! but I used Follow Your Heart shreds (sold in a plastic cup-like container) & that was really good too! Leftovers also freeze really well. I just put the meatballs (no sauce) in a bag & pull out what I need. They really keep their form & texture. Very belated Thanks for this AWESOME recipe!

  98. kelly says

    I’ve made this recipe twice so far and I’m about to make another batch tonight! They’re SO GOOD. They take a bit of work to assemble (yet I make double batches) but they’re worth it. I make my meals ahead of time and these freeze very well. Thank you!

  99. jill says

    Really really great! I’m definitely not vegan (made with an egg & real cheese) and made them with the chickpeas. Just trying to eat less meat. My 3 & 5 year Olds gobbled them up to. Thank you :)

  100. Angela says

    Do you think I would be able to use a blender instead of a processor?
    I’m very interested in trying this

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      I would think so, but I haven’t tried it that way. Let me know if you give it a try!

    • Neri says

      I used chickpeas and they turned out just fine with a blender.
      Loved the recipe, will definetly do this again, thanks!

  101. Shantel says

    These were so good! I used black eyed peas instead of the tempeh or chickpeas and they turned out great! I did have to add some more bread crumbs but that may have been from the different bean I used, it was still yummy and tasted very good! and this is from someone who still occasionally eats meat ;0)

  102. Teri Jo says

    I made these meatballs and absolutely loved them! I used chickpeas in mine and they stayed together wonderfully. Would this be able to be used in lasagna? Maybe brown it first and then later it in the pasta, sauce, & cheese?

  103. Sierra says

    Hi Dana-

    First off, I just wanted to say that I adore your website, recipes, and photography. You make being Vegan a breeze. ;D

    Secondly, I want to admit that for some odd reason, these meatballs didn’t turn out very tasty to me or my boyfriend. I wouldn’t necessarily blame it on the tempeh, because they didn’t taste very bitter. The problem was actually a lack of flavor and too much of a bread-y taste/texture. Do you have any idea as to why that may have happened? I’m going to try to make these again tonight, so any advice would be MUCH appreciated. I know it has nothing to do with you, as I am not the best cook in the world and probably messed up at some point.

    Much love!
    Sierra

  104. Ellen Lederman says

    This is now my favorite meatball recipe! Love the texture and taste. Have tried balls with nuts and mushrooms, but now prefer this. What a great way to use tempeh (being a bitterness wimp, I did steam it for 5 minutes). tempeh is great—full of protein, minimally processed, and fermented to boot.

    They even held together, unlike other veggie balls!

    We only got 17—yours must have been really small to have gotten 22 and your fingers very nimble! Half were on pasta—froze the other half and will make a meatball sub.

    And Dana, since this recipe is so fantastic and your photography is so stunning and the quality of your writing is so good, you are forgiven for not calling them by a cutesy name like “neatballs!” :) I can live with them being called meatballs—I know they are vegan!

  105. Laura E. says

    Your site has been such a blessing to us in our journey to eating plant-based/vegan/healthy foods. Thank you so much! I thought I’d never have spaghetti and meatballs again, and that has been such a heartbreaker. These are delicious!

  106. liz says

    I’ve made these meatballs twice. My family and I LOVED them! I added some sautéed mushrooms to the recipe – a great addition. Thanks again!

  107. Jason says

    OMG this was amazing. I made it last night for spaghetti and everyone loved it. Had a few left over today and crumpled them up for pizza- which is to die for right now. I did add red pepper flakes and fennel seed to get a bit hotter “meatball” flavor. This recipe (like most of your recipes that I have tried) is a total keeper.

    BTW this was my first time cooking tempe and I did not steam it before hand. I just used it straight from the package and did not notice any bitterness.

    Keep it up gurl,
    Jaylo

  108. Beth says

    How do thsee freeze & reheat?? This vegetarian mom of a 4 year old with a dairy allergy DESPERATELY needs easy weeknight meals!!!! So excited to try these!!!

  109. Monica C. says

    I absolutely LOVE these meatballs! I already made these on three consecutive Sundays for our Italian dinner night and my husband and I adore them! I made them with tempeh and served them with a homemade red sauce over Explore Asian black bean speghetti. We are vegans and follow the Eat to Live lifestyle (so I don’t add the salt and just a quick spray of oil on the pan) and they are sooooo yummy! Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe!

  110. Jule says

    I made these with chickpeas instead of tempeh and I kind of never want to have pasta again…unless I have these meatballs to go with it. These were delicious and so perfect with a simple tomato sauce and noodles. Yummy!!

  111. Nanette says

    I made these and they are awesome, I would have never thought to blend tempeh, but it worked great! They were delicious and they kept their shape. Thanks for the great recipe!

  112. Jessica says

    Tried making these last night and it turned out great. These are so rich in flavour and super filling. My boyfriend said they reminded him of falafels but I’ve never had one so I don’t know. Anyway, I will be adding this to my recipe box for sure. Thank you!

  113. Jeaane says

    These are wonderful, crispy, meaty and take on the Italian seasoning nicely. Very satisfying. My husband and I ate several with spaghetti and marinara. I saved half dozen more and ate the next day – yum. They freeze well too

  114. Kelsey says

    I often find that on a lot of recipes people will comment saying “this looks really good!!” But then there is never much follow up as to whether or not it was really good… so that’s why I’m writing this review. I made these today and they are FABULOUS!!! Actually really do remind me of regular meatballs. Maybe more like turkey meatballs than beef though. Since going vegan I have often thought about my true love – a meatballs sub (or grinder which they call it where I now reside (new england)) and this really hit that spot. Put it on a gf hot dog roll and topped with some kale, leftover coating, and pasta sauce and WOW I am in heaven. So good… must try for everyone wondering if it’s good! Although I must add this took me more around 2 hours or more to make start to finish.

  115. Collett says

    Me and the love made these with Spaghetti squash last night and it was amazing!
    we tried the spaghetti squash lasagna (my first time trying the squash “noodles”) but im not too hott on the ricotta.
    So getting to enjoy spaghetti squash with my favorite meatballs was pretty special to me!!

  116. Liz says

    I love your recipes. Thank you for doing what you do! Just a note that the directions for this recipe never mention when exactly to put the flax egg in the mix. When mine were finished cooking I looked over at the flax egg and realized why mine didn’t shape the way they were supposed to.

  117. Maria says

    Our family has recently become mostly vegetarian and I was craving spaghetti and meatballs. This recipe looked very promising so I tried it. It was great! The “dough” was a great consistency for rolling, the coating was delicious, and the balls were nice and crispy. Two things: we’re not vegan so I used regular Parmesan cheese and I had a box of panko bread crumbs so I used those. My daughter didn’t like the tempeh flavor so I’m going to try chickpeas instead next time. Thank you!

  118. Ken says

    Ok while these are very nice and awesome, they are in NO MEANS healthier than their meat counterpart. Don’t beguile yourself that way.

    They’re delicious though.

    • Kelsey says

      Actually, I would have to say that these are MUCH healthier than the meat counterpart. First off, there is no meat, and that right there makes it much healthier than the fat in meat. Second, it uses real ingredients, and fats in the form of plants. Tempeh is fermented and so it is great for the gut. Soy beans and rice together make a complete protein, so there’s that as well. Nutritional yeast is a great form of b vitamins. Flax is also wonderful source of nutrients. Parsley is also very healthy as it clears out toxins. Pretty healthy in fact I ate 5 and feel awesome! Not at all weighed down like I would with meat.

  119. Eric says

    These were terrific. The flavor reminded me of the Amy’s quarter pound veggie burgers that I ate all the time in college. I’ll be making these all the time now and will probably try flattening as a veggie burger. The only thing I did differently is I used an additional flax egg to dip the balls before the coating.

  120. sc says

    Have you tried this in soups? I was trying to find a veggie meatball that could stand-up to being in a soup. All my attempts have fallen apart. I really want a good Italian Wedding soup meatball

  121. Kimi says

    We loved these meatless balls! since we were messing around with your versions of italian we also did up the chickpea bolognese… those dried up and did not do so much for us(vegetarian husband and vegan/veg/raw wife)… but the balls are in rotation… was also soooo satisfied with the carrots as pasta… great idea! keep up the great work… we really count on you! =^..^=

  122. Devyn says

    For me, personally, this dish was only okay. I don’t know what it was but the meatballs were pretty mushy on the inside and felt undercooked, despite cooking them 20 minutes. Although meatballs are a bit soft, these were just dough. The flavor was alright but the texture needs tweaking!

    Thank you!

  123. David says

    I love the concept for these meatballs! However, something didn’t work for me and they would not hold together. As a previous commenter mentioned, my dough was more of a humus consistency. I see someone else used extra bread crumbs to hold their dough together better. I would love to try this again. BTW, I used the garbanzo bean substitution instead of tempeh. Other than additional bread crumbs, do you have any other suggestions?

  124. Alex says

    I just made a batch of these and they are so good! I was pretty reserved in my expectations because I’m not usually a major tempeh lover, but they taste really really great. I boiled the tempeh for 15 minutes before starting to take the bitterness out. I also didn’t have a food processor, so I just used a potato masher, and it worked really with the warm, softened tempeh – I was still able to get a smooth consistency.

  125. Alex says

    I just made a batch of these and they are so good! I was pretty reserved in my expectations because I’m not usually a major tempeh lover, but they taste really really great. I boiled the tempeh for 15 minutes before starting to take the bitterness out. I also didn’t have a food processor, so I just used a potato masher, and it worked really with the warm, softened tempeh – I was still able to get a smooth consistency.

  126. Shae says

    Honestly this recipe has been a lifesaver for me, since going vegan I have craved a hearty pasta dish, and this certainly delivered. It is packed with flavour, and is super satisfying! Thanks Dana

  127. Jennifer says

    Made this with almond meal instead of bread crumbs last week for family and it was hands down the best meatball recipe I’ve ever made. I usually do a lentil based meatball but they require a million ingredients, a better part of an hour, and are just “good.” This one took no time and was amazing! So glad I found this recipe. Also, so glad to see the chickpea version you just put up! Thank you!

  128. Nancy says

    I was wondering about the part where it says, “Mix remaining bread crumbs and parmesan cheese together in a shallow dish.” I figured these two were among the “remaining ingredients” that were added along with the sauteed onion and garlic, but can you tell me the quantities they are divided into? I have twice added the full amount into the processor before realizing that I was supposed to leave some to coat.

    P.S. It’s a wonderful recipe!! We are addicted. I use chickpeas (because I always have them around) as well as almond meal instead of breadcrumbs – the texture is perfect and we are addicted!

  129. Jen Robins says

    Really really good “meat” balls, I like the flavor and the consistency was great, the parsley made it a lot better, along with fresh basil and oregano. Meat balls have been the only thing I’ve really wanted meat wise since I became a vegetarian, these definitely quenched that craving, I decided to use the Garbanzo beans, you couldn’t really taste them but I thought that was a interesting use. My Aunt and Uncle also really liked them and they’re not vegetarians, they really liked the taste, and said the smell and flavor was “Amazing”. I would most defiantly make them again.

  130. Laura Irving says

    I made this for dinner and found them to be very dry. Any suggestions to make them less dry? The taste is great

  131. Bambi says

    I plan to make these tonight. I’m really excited because the kids have been begging for meatballs. I’ve been putting them off because the recipe I grew up with is walnut-based but my youngest is allergic to nuts (haven’t found one yet that he can tolerate :-|). He also doesn’t do good with the heavily processed soy products (so no store-bought vegan meatballs) but does ok with non-GMO tofu so should do fine with the tempeh. Yay! Thank you so much for this recipe so I can fulfill the wishes of my older two kids without leaving the youngest out!

    • Chloe says

      ok, so I used only nutritional yeast and it worked perfectly! I loved the taste and texture so much! my non-vegan family also thought they were really yummy :D great recipe and thank you for sharing!

  132. krystal says

    These were delicious (we had them for dinner last night and I’m eating the leftovers for lunch). I substituted one and a quarter cups of cooked lentils for the tempeh and they came out great. Flavorful and not at all dry. This is my new “meat”ball.

  133. Constance says

    I made these using tempeh and almond meal instead of bread crumbs. They’re super tasty and very easy to cook! No crumbling at all while being seared in the pan. A bit dry on their own but once paired with a well sauced pasta, they’re perfect. Thanks for another great recipe!

  134. Diane Pagel says

    I’ve made this a number of times now, using chickpeas instead of tempeh, and almond meal as my coating. My new go-to recipe. So easy. So good.

  135. Kristina Hays says

    Made these today and have to say – they were delicious! Everything I make from your website is genius. You make this new vegan adventure so much fun! My husband eats at a Vegan cafe at Google everyday at lunch and he said that these recipes give them a run for their money.

  136. Tracy says

    I didn’t have Tempeh so I used Chickpeas. Used sweet onion instead of white. Forgot the garlic. Even with my alterations it turned out great! To dry them up a bit more I added breadcrumbs to the “batter” until they were more moldable. When I say breadcrumbs, I mean literally just oven dried bread that I put in the processor. Even my 3 year old loved them! I served with a red sauce and pasta. PERFECT!!

  137. Tiff says

    Hey, could I use regular bread crumbs, regular cheese and regular eggs too? Would it turn out the same? I’m pescatarian, so maybe even shrimp? They do have a similar texture…

  138. Lara says

    Hi!!! I’ve been craving homemade vegan spaghetti and meaballs and came across your recipe. Quick question for the sauce that you linked into this recipe, how do you prepare it for the spaghetti? I’m not much of a cook but I’ve been cracking that shell a bit more lately hence my question >.< Thank you and can't wait to try this!

  139. Maurita says

    Hello! So I just came across these and made them, they were amazing!! I didn’t steam it and it was my first time working with tempeh, so I just have one question! The outside of the meatball was firm and crisp, I cooked it for a while extra in the oven even to crisp them more. BUT the inside was mushy seeming. Is that how it’s suppose to be??
    Thanks!
    :)

  140. Marisa says

    I made this last night- with the chickpeas instead of the tempeh. It turned out amazing!!
    My husband and 10 year old daughter both gave it two thumbs up. Delicious!!

    • Barbara says

      Dear Marisa,
      Did you hand chop the chick peas? I can imagine them getting overly pureed in a food processor. thank you! I play on trying this recipe but don’t want to deal with the tempeh, and chick peas are MUCH less expensive, of course!

  141. Kristine says

    HOLY SMOKES!! These are PHENOMENAL!!!! I just made a batch ‘cocktail size’ to serve as hors d’ oeuvres and I’m afraid I’m going to eat them all before everyone gets here!! They are so flavorful with the vegan parm exploding onto your tastebuds!! Thank you so much for my new favorite party dish!! They look beautiful too!! Absolutely superb!!

  142. Kayla says

    I made these with your Vegan Garlic Pasta recipe and it was delicious! Meatballs are something I’ve really missed since becoming vegan and this recipe fills that void! Thank you :)

  143. Kristen says

    Hi, These sound great, I am new to the vegetarian diet. Can I simmer these in the sauce or will they fall apart?? Thanks!!

    • diana says

      They seem pretty put together but I usually heat the sauce in a separate pan and pour it over the meatballs once they are done.

        • diana says

          No problem! And that’s awesome that you are exploring being a vegetarian! I’ve been one for 22 years and I’ll never go back! :) Here’s my pinterest page if you’d like some more ideas.

          I love the Minimalist Baker, I’ve tried quite a few of their recipes.

  144. Karen says

    Hey Dana,

    Concerned that the tempeh would not be deliciously flavourful I opted to use Surata Tempeh – Italiano flavoured. (I love tempeh but it needs to be well seasoned.) Surata is available all over Oregon (well at least I think so). I use all of the other ingredients including the parsley. I think the Italiano seasoning increased what was bound to be delicious anyway. Since it was the second time cooking Tempeh for my mum I was delighted to see her pleasure when she bit into them. Thank you for the great recipes.

  145. Lauren says

    I’ve made these a couple of times now and even my meat eater fiancé has specifically asked for them! I absolutely adore these, thank you!!

  146. diana says

    Wow! These meatballs are AMAZING! And I have been a vegetarian for 22 years now, and these blew out any other meatball. These are my favorite meatballs ever! And I love the healthy ingredients. My only complaint, why can’t I make them in a few minutes?!? ;) I would seriously eat these every single day. My husband and kids loved these too. Thanks so much for sharing!

  147. Katie says

    These turned out good. The bitter taste isn’t great, but at least isn’t too overpowering (just noticeable…and not that great). Yet people who enjoy bitter tastes will perfectly enjoy these. Oh! And the vegan parm was super yummy. I tried walnuts as the nut before, but used cashews like Dana said, and that is so much better!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks for sharing, Katie! To get around the bitter taste altogether next time, just go with chickpeas!! xoxo

  148. Alex says

    These were turned out PERFECT!!! I usually am not that into tempeh but I loved the taste as well! Thanks so much! This recipe is a keeper!

  149. Rosey says

    LOVE this recipe! Have made it twice. Carnivore husband likes it too. He has no idea he is eating tempeh :) I made it almost oil free too by sauteing the onions and garlic in water, an oil mister for browning the meatballs, and using parchment paper for baking

  150. Eileen says

    Wow, this was amazing! I was worried when my kitchen started smelling like my childhood & thought I might be disappointed by these meatballs. A keeper! Many thanks!

  151. Natalie says

    These “meat”balls are amazing! Before trying this recipe, I had only found one vegan meatball recipe I loved (bean based), and had tried tempeh on several occasions with unappetizing results. The bean based “meat”ball were delicious, but lacked the very specific texture meatballs have. These tempeh “meat”balls are the most perfect texture! They feel like meatballs, and break apart like meatballs! An absolute triumph! I am HOOKED!

    Also—I definitely recommend boiling the tempeh for 10 minutes before hand. This is the first time I tried this method, and the first time I actually enjoyed it!! This is a must to lessen that “tempeh taste”.

    Thank you for this magnificent recipe :)

  152. Kristin says

    This recipe sounds excellent, can’t wait to try.

    Do you know by chance if they would freeze well — and if so, any special instructions? I’d love to make a double or triple batch and have ready-to-go for 4 or 5 dinners over the next couple months.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      I think they would! I would recommend just freezing them WITHOUT baking, and then just baking them at 350 or 375 until golden brown and hot. Hope that helps!

  153. Lauren says

    Made these and like Emily, served them over spaghetti squash with marinara and wow, SO GOOD! Tempeh can be tricky to cook with IMO but these turned out so full of flavor! And were a cinch to make :)

  154. Nikki @ Active Vegetarian says

    I have made “meat”balls many times before, mostly using lentils – I like the idea of tempeh instead :)

  155. Kristin says

    I eat a **mostly** plant based diet, but there are a few weaknesses that I can’t seem to give up – meatballs being one of them! I’m not expecting vegan meatballs to taste like meat, but I have been searching for something that tastes great! These look awesome – I’ll be trying them this weekend!!

  156. Emily says

    Made these for dinner tonight and they were amazing! Sooooo good over spaghetti squash and veggie pasta sauce – and of course topped with your vegan parm! Keep rockin’ those recipes!! :)

  157. Melissa says

    What do you use for the nutrition analysis of your recipes? I’ve wondered that ever since I started following your blog a long long time ago! I’m a registered dietitian, so I always appreciate that you put that info there, and I’m curious if you use specific computer software or something more like My Fitness Pal.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      I like using CalorieCount.com’s recipe analysis tool. It does, of course, produce estimates, and we note that on the blog. But I’m fairly happy with the results!

  158. Lola says

    I never thought to make vegetarian meat balls, what a great idea! I am going to try this today, only I couldn’t find tempeh in our local supermarket so I am using tofu, hope that still works. Thanks for the great recipe! I love your blog and often pin your recipes so I can try them out later!

  159. Laura says

    Thank you Dana for such a tasty ‘meatball’. My daughters and I ate them with some homemade marinara sauce over a bed of zucchini noodles!! YUMMMMMYYYYYY.
    I can’t buy tempeh here so I used chickpeas and they held together quite well.

  160. Lisa says

    Another winner. These are fabulous! Pasta is my serious comfort food and these meatballs round out the meal. I love that they have tempeh, flax, nutritional yeast and cashews in them.

  161. Kelsey says

    Hi there! I am wondering if I can form the meatballs ahead of time (couple of hours) and then fry/bake them later on. Should they go in the fridge or stay at room temp, if it’s even possible? And if it is possible, would a regular egg hold better than a flax egg for that? Thanks!

  162. Leah Musgrove says

    Gonna try these next week… can I bake these? I fail miserably at sauteing & frying & even grilling. Pity me.

  163. Laura says

    Hi. First of all, I envy you for having such a dad.
    Secondly, you just gave me a wonderful way to use up that left-over tempeh from yesterday’s sandwiches. In my experience, tempeh is bitter if it is not cooked. Even grilling it slightly will solve the bitterness issue.
    I’m pinning and printing your recipe.
    Thanks.

  164. Evelyn says

    I am so excited to try these!!! My first attempt at vegan meatballs didn’t turn out well but your recipes are always amazing :)

    My experience with tempeh is limited. You don’t have to steam it first? How would that change the consistency? I trust you of course, I was just curious because I’ve always been told to steam it for ten minutes beforehand.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      If you steam it beforehand, it does lessen the bitter taste (as I’ve been told). Of course, I’m always trying to expedite things, so I didn’t! Otherwise, you could sub chickpeas interchangeably in this recipe for a faster prep time. If you’re concerned with the bitter taste tempeh can have, definitely steam it for 10-15 minutes before adding to the food processor. Hope that helps, and good luck!

  165. Leigha @ The Yooper Girl says

    YES yes yes. I’ve been wanting to go vegan but I can’t give up spaghetti – problem solved! Thank you Dana! I’ve been wanting to try tempeh too. Your dad sounds like a wonderful man!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      He is! I’m grateful for him every day.

      I think the hard thing about going plant-based for me has been rethinking how to get enough protein. Tempeh makes it so easy though, as does tofu. I’m also eating more legumes, nuts and seeds now than I ever did before!

      Good luck with this recipe! Let me know how it turns out!

  166. Nora @ Savory Nothings says

    Ha, I did the carrying fresh laundry through rain as well, I’m so
    glad these days are over!
    This looks and sounds so delicious – I have never dared to cook with Tempeh so far but I just light have to finally try it!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      It’s a little more tricky than tofu in some ways, but easier in others (firmer texture). If it’s your first time, I’d recommend steaming it for 10-15 minutes before adding it to the food processor to lessen the bitter taste it can take on. Then it will really absorb the other flavors of the dish and make it more delicious! Good luck!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yep! Just add them in the food processor (rinsed and well drained) where I mention adding in the tempeh. Somebody already made them this way (I saw on Instagram) and they had success! Good luck!

      • Cyndee says

        I just tried making these today with chickpeas. Unfortunately, I did not have success. The mix came out too hummus-like and it was difficult to work with – the meatballs didn’t hold their shape. They came out looking like meatball cookies LOL. By the way, the mixture WAS tasty, and I added a bit of fennel seeds, thyme and paprika to give it a bit more herb kick. I’ll try with tempeh next time around.

  167. Bird says

    hubba hubba. Now you’re talkin my language. I have been making them with lentils which is fabulous, but I would like to switch it up a bit, tempeh is unheard of in these parts but chickpeas, now there is an idea!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Chickpeas, lentils, tempeh, I think they would all work in this recipe with slightly different textures/flavors. Tempeh is definitely the sturdiest of the three which makes them hold together better. But chickpeas would be tasty as well! Lentil meatballs are next on my list :D

  168. Hannah R. says

    I added this to this week’s dinner plans right away:) Can’t wait! Also, this made me want to go and visit my Dad! What a sweet story.

  169. Cheryl says

    Oh wow! These sound awesome and oh so simple, which is a must most of the time. I make some killer meatballs with seitan but that requires um… planning ahead. A lot. Which I hate. A lot. So these are my new favorite! I’d love for you to try your hand at a soy-free meatball, too! Maybe made with lentils? Nom.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks, Cheryl! I’ll add a soy-free variation to my list. Chickpeas would act nicely in this recipe, so give that a try in the meantime!

  170. Biz says

    I’ll have to give this a try. Just for me though. One time my husband called me and asked what was for dinner. I told him “spaghetti squash and quinoa meatballs.” He just laughed.

    I got home, got to cooking, and 20 minutes later came out with spaghetti squash with quinoa meatballs. He immediately went to Twitter and said “my wife told me we were having spaghetti squash and quinoa meatballs for dinner. I thought she was kidding. She wasn’t.” :D

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      haha, it’s still worth a shot! Maybe you’ll convert him with these magical vegan balls ;D

  171. jaime // the briny says

    I’ve been curious about making meatballs with tempeh and have been afraid they’d fall apart or be crumbly or just plain weirdballs. thanks for posting these, and for quelling my fears–they look awesome!

  172. Emilie@TheCleverCarrot says

    OMG your laundry… I laughed. Well, not at you but because I can totally relate. In our first apartment, we lived in this ‘up and coming’ area in nyc with only one place to do laundry. Then it closed. We didn’t have a car. So I would drag my laundry back and forth on the 7 train to the nearest laundromat. You should’ve seen how ridiculous I looked dragging a sack of clothes down the street! I would drop it off at one of those places that do it for you… only to get it back with stains all over everything! Needless to say, you are lucky that you lived near your dad. Sweet moments and efficiency!
    These meatballs look killer and I love pasta- crave it every day! x

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Ugh, on the train? The WORST! I think you’re the one who deserves laundry pity ;D Hope you’ve upgraded since then!

  173. Ellen Lederman says

    Sounds wonderful. I’ve grown to love tempeh (I do steam it a little first.) I’ve graduated from using stuff like TVP/Morningstar crumbles, so this will be perfect. I can picture it as a meatball sub as well (we don’t do a lot of bread, but a little isn’t good to kill us).

    And thanks for admitting to a craving for pasta! So many people think it can’t be part of a healthy diet. I don’t just want to live on steamed veggies just because I am a whole foods plant based vegan! My new love: black bean pasta. Made from nothing but organic black beans. With the black bean pasta and the tempeh meatballs, no one could question whether a vegan meal has enough protein.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Of course I love pasta! It’s something I try to limit in our diet, but I crave it just about every other week, when my body is wanting something other than veggies to the max. Glad you agree. Hope you give this a try, Ellen!

  174. Ashley says

    These looks so good! I have yet to try making a vegetarian meatball, but these have inspired me to do so for dinner tonight.

  175. Katie @ Beyond the Clothing says

    I love the story about your Dad. I have a dad like that. They really are the greatest.

    I’ve always been quite the carnivore but these look obscenely tempting. I might have to actually go buy tempeh… Where in the store is it? haha

    Thank you for sharing! Looks delicious.

    • Megan says

      Publix — with the produce in the organic section, sometimes by the juice
      Walmart may have it in the produce section on the bottom shelf underneath fresh herbs
      Kroger – organic section

  176. molly yeh says

    i have an ex boyfriend whose mom made meatless meatballs that were OUT OF THIS WORLD and i’ve since tried asking him for the recipe… no dice. UGH. so thank you for these. and for that cute bit about your dad, that is the best :)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      I think you have the right to know that recipe. Just sayin’. Hope this fits the bill in the meantime, friend! Also, can I come live on your farm? Kthanksbye

  177. The Blonde Chef says

    I really enjoyed the back-story to this post, and LOVE that these meatballs back a nutritional punch! Great recipe!

  178. Maryea {happy healthy mama} says

    I’ve made many different kinds of vegan/vegetarian “meat”balls, but never with tempeh. Love it!