The Best Vegan Meatballs

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Skillet filled with gluten-free vegan homemade "meatballs" in marinara sauce

Friends, this feels big. Vegan meatballs made with real food that are full of flavor, don’t fall apart, aren’t mushy, and are easy to make! Let’s do this!

Ingredients for making quinoa black bean vegan meatballs

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.

How to Make Vegan Meatballs

This 10-ingredient recipe starts with black beans that have been baked to dry them out – this is important, as it helps prevent the meatballs from becoming mushy.

The beans are then blended with herbs, spices, and sautéed garlic and shallot for layers of flavor.

Blender filled with ingredients for making perfect vegan meatballs

Next comes the cooked and cooled quinoa, more herbs, tomato paste, and vegan Worcestershire (which is optional, but it adds more depth of flavor). Pulse a few more times and you’re ready to form your meatballs! After a quick chill in the refrigerator, it’s time to cook (and eat)!

Food processor with ingredients for making our vegan meatballs recipe
Browning vegan meatballs in a cast-iron skillet

To cook the meatballs, we went for a stovetop-oven combo. A quick sauté in the skillet you used to cook the onions and garlic in provides a crusty outer texture, while a bake in the oven dries them out a bit and ensures they’re cooked through the center.

At the end, for even more flavor, you can add your favorite marinara sauce and cook for another 5-10 minutes or until bubbly. Swoon. Then it’s meal time!

Using a spoon to grab a vegan meatball and marinara sauce

We hope you LOVE these meatballs! They’re:

Firm but tender
Not mushy
Packed with flavor
Made with wholesome ingredients
Protein- + Fiber-packed
& Incredibly delicious

These meatballs are delicious on their own, but they would also pair well with just about any pasta, like our Simple Chickpea Bolognese or 30-Minute Cashew Alfredo or Chili Garlic Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower. I could also see them working well on things like pizza and even sub sandwiches! Melt a little Vegan Mozzarella on top and you’re in business!

If you try this recipe, leave a comment, rate it, and tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram so we can see what you cook up. Cheers, friends!

Dinner plate filled with delicious homemade vegan meatballs

The Best Vegan Meatballs

Tender, flavorful, 10-ingredient vegan meatballs made with quinoa and black beans! Infused with fresh herbs, tomato paste, and spices for big flavor. The perfect meatless meatball for pasta, sandwiches, and more!
Author Minimalist Baker
Plate of our delicious Vegan Meatballs in marinara sauce topped with parsley
4.82 from 187 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 12 (meatballs)
Course Entree
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Italian-Inspired, Oil-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 4-5 Days



  • 1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa* (ensure it’s cooked + completely cooled before using)
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans* (rinsed, drained, dried)
  • 2 Tbsp water (or sub olive or avocado oil)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 cup diced shallot
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (plus more to taste)
  • 2 1/2 tsp fresh oregano (or sub half the amount in dried)
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flake (reduce for less heat)
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds (optional)
  • 1/2 cup vegan parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh basil or parsley (we mixed both // plus more for serving)
  • 1-2 Tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce (optional // adds depth of flavor // ensure gluten-free for GF eaters)

FOR SERVING (optional)


  • If you haven’t prepared your quinoa yet, do so now (make sure it’s cooked and cooled completely before use). 1/3 cup uncooked quinoa will yield ~1 cup cooked. *Prep/cook time does not include preparing quinoa.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C). Add rinsed, dried black beans to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until beans appear cracked and feel dry to the touch (see beans in food processor photo). Remove beans from the oven and then increase oven heat to 375 degrees F (190C).
  • Heat a large (oven-safe) skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add water (or oil), garlic, and shallot. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until slightly softened, stirring frequently. Remove from heat (and reserve pan for later use).
  • Add black beans to a food processor along with garlic, shallot, sea salt, oregano, red pepper flake, and fennel (optional) and pulse into a loose meal (DON’T overmix). Then add cooked/cooled quinoa, vegan parmesan cheese, tomato paste, fresh basil or parsley, and Worcestershire (optional). Pulse to combine until a textured dough forms (you’re not looking for a purée, but it should be semi-tacky).
  • Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more salt for saltiness/depth of flavor, red pepper flake for heat, herbs for earthiness, or Worcestershire (optional) for more depth of flavor. If it’s too tacky or wet, add more vegan parmesan cheese and pulse to combine (we added a bit more).
  • Scoop out heaping 1 1/2 Tbsp amounts (using this scoop or a Tablespoon) and gently form into small balls using your hands. Add to a plate and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  • Heat an oven-safe metal or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the meatballs and sauté for a few minutes, gently turning the meatballs to get a slight crust on either side. Then transfer to the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown on the edges and slightly dry to the touch. 
  • These meatballs are delicious as is, or you can add some marinara to the pan and heat over medium heat for 5 minutes (or until bubbling / hot) to infuse more flavor.
  • Serve with marinara and additional vegan parmesan cheese (optional)! These are also delicious atop any pasta. Leftover meatballs keep for 4-5 days in the refrigerator or 1 month in the freezer. Reheat in the microwave or in a 375-degree F (190 C) oven until warmed through.



*1 15-ounce (425 g) can black beans yields ~1 1/4 cup beans (after draining excess liquid).
*Prep/cook time does not include preparing quinoa.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 of 12 meatballs calculated without optional or serving ingredients.

Nutrition (1 of 12 servings)

Serving: 1 Meatballs Calories: 67.4 Carbohydrates: 10 g Protein: 3.3 g Fat: 1.9 g Saturated Fat: 0.3 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 184.5 mg Potassium: 172 mg Fiber: 2.7 g Sugar: 1.1 g Vitamin A: 70 IU Vitamin C: 2 mg Calcium: 23 mg Iron: 1.1 mg

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My Rating:

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Lailah, we haven’t tried that, but it looks like a couple other readers have done so with success. We would suggest starting with less as the flavor is more intense.

  1. Dan says

    I just made these, and they really are pretty much perfect. Veggie balls can be challenging… sticky, crumbly, not tasty… but these were none of those. Recipe was perfect, and balls were yummo!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Dan. We are so glad you enjoyed them! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  2. Oded Amir says

    I love love love these damn meatballs!!!
    I make them with the marinara sauce linked to the recipe and make them into a beautiful veg meatball sub 🤤

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Oded. We are so glad you enjoy them! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  3. Ana says

    I made this yesterday and its truly one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. I recently turned plant based so your blog has been my GO TO for recipes. I’m just so happy with every recipe I’ve tried from you, but this one takes the cake. Thank you!!!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Whoop! Thanks so much for the lovely review, Ana! We’re so glad you enjoy our recipes =) xo

  4. Sarah says

    I couldn’t believe how much I loved these meatballs! They were surprisingly meaty and my non-vegan husband has been asking for these ever since I made them. I also thought that they were surprisingly easy to make.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

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

  5. Chantele says

    I absolutely loved this recipe, I made last night with spaghetti squash and wanted to eat for breakfast today, they are that good!! I used nutritional yeast 2 tablespoons instead of the vegan parm and I air fried them for about 18 minutes flipping halfway through. They are a lot of work but believe me they are worth it!! 5 🌟!!

  6. Rika says

    I made this and it was delicious!! I didn’t have vegan Parmesan cheese so I substituted with nutritional yeast and it turned out great. I kind of sprinkled it over the mixture so I can’t give exact amounts. The consistency of the meatballs was a little soft, any way I can make it tougher?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      So, the parmesan cheese adds cashews as well, which is likely why yours were softer. So next time add some ground cashews to the mix for better results!

  7. Molly says

    I’ve made these 3 times and they are very delicious! Served with homemade pasta and marinara. The first time they took me quite a while but the second two times went much faster. Be warned, they do come apart quite easily if you put them in a sauce, but the taste is still wonderful. A little high effort for a weekday but so worth it if you have the time!

  8. Lee says

    I made this with barley because I didn’t have quinoa on hand. these were delicious. If you’re making it with barley you probably want to put it in the refrigerator closer to 30 minutes but these stayed together and we did it less than that. If you have a quinoa allergy or just don’t have any on hand barley is a wonderful substitute. I absolutely loved them..

  9. Lee says

    I have barley, lentils, farro, everything but quinoa. Can I substitute one of them or do I need quinoa

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Lee, hmm, we haven’t tried replacing the quinoa with barley or farro. Our only hesitation is that they may not hold together as well. But if you try it, let us know how it goes!

  10. Clementina Moreira says

    This recipe is just perfect! Follow the exact quantities and you will have amazingly delicious meatballs that will not fall apart! The right amount of tartness, acidity and sweetness. They have become a family favorite!

      • Jg says

        How come the meatballs fall apart so easily after baking them? I feel like they were quite robust until I added the marina sauce to them after they had baked.

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

          It’s due to the nature of the ingredients- they take in the moisture of the sauce which makes them tender.

  11. Domonique Grier says

    I am going to try this recipe either today or tomorrow and I would love to know, can I substitute black bean for another bean? Like red beans for an example.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Domonique, we haven’t tried that, but we think it would work! Let us know if you try it!

  12. Cheryl Mandell says

    These were amazing. I made the easy marinara source to go with it. My husband said these were even better than real meat balls….much lighter. I used non-vegan parmesan cheese but stuck to the recipe for everything else.

    Can’t wait to try more of your recipes!

  13. JJ says

    I don’t usually comment on recipes but this is necessary. These were perfect. I made a few adjustments according to what I had on hand (non-vegan parmesan + Worcestershire sauce, also used dried oregano, and fresh parsley + dried basil). I try to eat mostly plant-based but my husband and toddler are omnivores. Both of them loved it! I was nervous serving my unpredictable toddler but I was pleasantly surprised when he ate everything on his plate *and then* took more meatballs from his dad’s plate. This recipe is a game changer and is now our family’s favorite “meat”ball recipe.

    I wouldn’t recommend making this on a busy weeknight. It’s a little time consuming but so, so worth it.

    • Amanda says

      I too love this recipe as do my kiddos. @JJ – one way i speed this up on weeknights is having frozen already cooked quinoa on hand or making a triple batch of the meatballs and then freezing them.

  14. Joey JoJo Junior Shabadoo says

    Hi, could you please emphasize in the recipe that the 1 cup of quinoa is measured *after* it’s cooked and not when it’s dry? I just made this recipe for the first time and used way too much quinoa. It still tastes good but I pretty much made quinoa balls.

  15. Dawne says

    Made this last night and it was delicious!! The marinara sauce along with the vegan parmesan included in the recipe are a must:) This just got added to the dinner rotation!

    Thank you!!

  16. Jane says

    I am going to make these meatballs. I cook my own beans I do not use canned beans. Do I still have to roast them in the oven first because I put my beans after cooking them in the refrigerator so they quite dry and perhaps do not need roasting?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jane, it’s possible you won’t need to dry them out more. But for best results, we’d still recommend doing so!

  17. Steph K says

    My favorite meatless meatball yet!!! The fennel and Worcestershire sauce really give these meatballs that “little something” extra, so be sure to use them if you can.
    I found this recipe to be a bit labor-intensive (cooking quinoa, drying and baking black beans, making vegan parm) – BUT these meatballs are 100% worth it. They are a staple in our house. Super super delicious.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Kathy, these get a little tender in liquid, so that’s probably the issue. We’d recommend warming the sauce separately and then serving together. Hope that helps!

  18. Sonali says

    WOW these are delicious! I also love that the recipe is straightforward with simple ingredients. I am a vegetarian who eats eggs so I did add 2 egg whites based on some of the other commenters’ feedback and it made the mixture very easy to handle. Perhaps vegans can try a flax egg or aquafaba? Also my boyfriend (a voracious carnivore) said that they were a bit dry, which I suspect could be remedied by an egg yolk. For vegans maybe some vegan butter or some other type of fat? Otherwise they have a beautiful crunchy crust and are packed full of flavor. Definitely a permanent addition to my meal prep circuit! Thank you so much for sharing :)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed them, Sonali! Thanks so much for sharing your experience!

  19. Ameera says

    Hi there

    I made this recipe yesterday and do have to say it is quite labour intensive but it is quite delicious! I didn’t have quinoa so i substitued it for pot barley which I found still went very well together. I had to dry out the beans in the oven longer than written here, i did mine for about 25mins at 375 degrees. I will say make sure that your food processor is a big one, as i have a 1.5 cup one and I had to do it in seperate batches just to get it blended. Honestly, I think it would have been fine to have just cooked the meatballs on the frying pan as they were browning really nicely, but I stuck to the recipe to see where it went and it came out fine- just not too sure why i had to bake it.

    In my recipe, i did also add panko instead of the vegan parmesan as I don’t normally eat this type of cheese and didn’t want to spend $4 on a bottle i may not use again. In addition, i did add vegan mozzarella cheese to give it some cheesiness and at the end it was fabulous!

    I also made this with the marinara sauce and linguine and it was a perfect serving for two! The batch of meatballs I made made about 25-30 in total, so i saved the rest to make with mashed potatoes later this week.

    I really liked this recipe, and will def. save it in my cookbook!! Thank you so much!

  20. Rebecca Jeffcoate says

    all of your recipes are great. I wanted a winter comfort meal so made these and had them with spaghetti and your marinara sauce (with parsley). I didn’t have enough quinoa so added some sesame seeds and added 1 tsp of liquid smoke instead of worscester sauce. Super delish. Thanks

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thank you so much for your kind words and lovely review, Rebecca! We’re so glad you enjoy our recipes! xo

  21. Lauren says

    I’ve made these 3 times. First was a bit of a disaster as they ended up quite pasty in consistency. The reason I attempted again was because they were SO flavoursome! Next times around I made sure that the beans had time to cool and were truly dry to touch. I also made sure I didn’t use too much oil when cooking the onion & garlic and finally I didn’t pulse ingredients too much. …AMAZING! My mother who is a big meat eater said they are her fave meal atm. I find them a tad time consuming to make (especially because I need to double the recipe so I need to blitz the amount twice as it won’t all fit in the food processor at the same time) but the results are so worth the effort.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for sharing, Lauren! We’re so glad you were able to troubleshoot and get them just right =)

  22. Carol Romagnolli says

    If I want to make a large batch and freeze, can I freeze them as balls? Or after cooked? Many thanks :)

  23. Robert Wallace says

    Thank you for this recipe, I’ve tried vegan meatballs before but these have the best consistency and flavour, I did add smoked paprika which gave a nice smokiness, I also poured the bolognese sauce over when they came out of the oven, fantastic with spaghetti.

  24. Jo Biscoe says

    I’ve been trying to find Italian food to accommodate the taste buds of my friend who is new to a plant based diet.
    These meatballs were amazing! Good texture, great flavor!
    Not to deter but more to be aware that the prep time is a little lengthy in that you will need to cook the quinoa and dry the black beans and cool them first. You will also allow 15 mins chill time in fridge once they are formed. Opportunity for a little chill time with your favorite beverage before cooking continues :-)
    When I make them again I’ll probably double the batch and freeze some.

  25. dani says

    I made these and paired them with the Chili Garlic Noodles with roasted cauliflower. They had an amazing flavor! I browned them in a cast iron skillet before putting them in the oven. They were absolutely perfect with the noodles. I was such a delicious meal. Thank you!

  26. Melanie Mosher says

    I really liked these vegan meatballs! I was a fan of your other vegan meatball recipe with lentils, but I think I like this one better (although they’re both great). The fennel in this one really made a difference in the flavor. I added the worcestershire sauce too, but I may try it next time without it. These were also super easy. Will definitely add to my favorites list and make again!

  27. Miranda says

    I found this recipe to be very labor-intensive, as I also spent time to make the vegan Parmesan linked herein as well as her one pot marinara sauce. The dish turned out delightful and it was well worth the time, but I sure did question whether it was worth it until it was in my belly lol. Thanks Dana! I will be making it again for sure, but definitely on a weekend.

  28. Nora Herold says

    These meatballs were delicious. I made your parm first. I did not have garlic powder, so left it out. It’s still super yummy. Wondering if I could have minced up some fresh garlic instead? I made a double batch and used half walnuts and half cashews. So good. Happy to have the extra on hand now.
    The meatballs came out perfectly. Yes, they are delicate but they completely maintained their shape while pan frying and then in the oven. I served them atop spaghetti which was slathered in my homemade veggie marinara (like a bolognese, but veggies instead of meat). I am wondering if oats could be used instead of the quinoa in the meatballs? What do you think? Thank you for being so generous with your time and recipes and all of your wonderful tips and help.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Nora, Thanks for sharing! Fresh garlic should work- but we would stir in gently at the end so it doesn’t make the parm clumpy. We’re not sure about subbing oats for the quinoa- let us know if you try it!

      • Katerina Svecova says

        Hi, is there a substitute for the vegan parmesan cheese? It’s not readily available where I am and I find the vegan cheeses a bit over processed for my kind of eating.

        Otherwise half way through the recipe for the first time and so far so good. The mixture smells amazing

        Thank you

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

          Hi Katerina, if you click the link, you will see our recipe for homemade vegan parmesan cheese. If you aren’t able to make that, we’d suggest replacing it with a lesser amount of nutritional yeast.

  29. Jennifer says

    Hi! I really want to make these but don’t have the ingredients to make the vegan parmesan cheese (or have any other cheese in the house right now). Do you think they would work without that? Is there anything you would recommend as a sub? I’m not vegan, so something with eggs or nut dairy would be fine. Thank you for your advice!

  30. Grace says

    These taste just like Italian meatballs! The tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce (I used regular) make them really savory and meaty. My favorite addition is the fennel seeds. I doubled the recipe and froze them after baking for a quick meal.

  31. ellie says

    loved these meatballs!! packed with flavour and so delicious. i forgot to put them in the fridge before cooking so they fell apart a bit so it was a bit more of a vegan bolognese! my sister (massive meat-eater) loved them and is happy to have them again. thank you

  32. Leanne says

    Hi Dana
    Rather than using a tin of black be as and drying them, could you use dried beans straight from the packet?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Leanne, we wouldn’t recommend that as uncooked beans would be hard and difficult to digest.

  33. Melissa Knutson says

    Do you think this would also work with cooked lentils, replacing the black beans? My two-year old son loves meatballs, but is allergic to legumes – thanks so much for website and all that you do! It has made transitioning to a mostly plant-based lifestyle SO. MUCH. FUN.

  34. Kat says

    This are VERY flavorful. My meat eating husband said they were better than regular meatballs! Mine did fall apart during the 5 minute simmering in marinara unfortunately. Next time, I will simmer the marinara separately and then just ladle the sauce over the baked meatballs and pasta.

  35. Erin says

    These were delicious! Mine were a little mushy, I may have over mixed or maybe the scallion and garlic were too warm. They were sticking on my pan so I popped them in the oven to brown.

  36. Stef says

    These were great! Planning ahead and prepping were very helpful. I will definitely be making these again. My husband is trying to eat more of a plant based diet (he’s a meat and potato kind of guy), and he enjoyed these. Thank you!

  37. Anna says

    The first time I made these, they sorta got stuck in the cast iron skillet (I did add olive oil to the skillet). Is it possible to bake them, turning halfway through to brown the other side? Thanks in advance for your quick reply, Anna

  38. Julie says

    Loved this recipe! Thank you Dana! This was very easy and I enjoyed it more than “meat” meatballs. I was lazy and hungry and did not chill the meatballs. I didn’t brown them either. I also used regular Parmesan cheese, not vegan. Added a little ground flaxseed. This recipe is a winner and I’ll repeat it often:)

  39. Kristen says

    This was delicious! I wasn’t able to find vegan Worcestershire sauce, so I instead used a little more than a tablespoon of soy sauce and a spoonful of Dijon mustard. They turned out wonderful! I will definitely make this again.

  40. Tashi says

    Great flavor mine crumbled easily but I realized I forgot to add the water I used kidney beans instead. Even with my mistake everyone loved them

  41. Annie says

    I made those meatballs but reading the reviews I was a bit scared that they fall apart in the tomato sauce, so I have added an egg and breadcrumbs to make sure that they really stay in shape. I am not vegan so it didn’t bother me, and they were great, tasty and really firm!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for sharing, Annie. We are so glad you enjoyed them! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  42. Lisa R. says

    I got halfway through making these and immediately went and started a second batch. The flavor is phenomenal, the texture is perfect, I had to force myself to stop snacking on them. And the protein content and health content is amazing.

    I cooked the quinoa ahead of time, I made the parmesan cheese ahead of time, and then when I had a moment I made the meatballs up until the refrigeration. My plan is to start them at dinner, and then make marinara sauce and the noodles and a salad while they’re in the oven. So not quite a weeknight dinner, but if you work from home or you’re a stay-at-home parent, it’s doable with some planning.

    Seriously, Dana. This recipe is astounding!!

  43. graciella lazar says

    really lovely! was worried about consistency before refrigerated but it all ended up working out perfectly! and delicious too

  44. Amber says

    I made these last night and WOW!!! I’ve been on the hunt for a vegan meatball recipe with texture and depth of flavor similar to a great meatball for a while, and these exceeded my expectations. I’ve made vegan meatballs with black beans before, but never would have thought to bake the beans first. I think that was the key to achieving such a marvelous texture. I added a tsp of Trader Joe’s “Vegan Chicken-less” seasoning too. These will become a cherished staple in our meal prep rotation. Thank you!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Amber. We are so glad you enjoyed them! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Lovely! Thanks for sharing, Liz!

      (P.S. we added a 5-star rating at your “10/10” request! In the future, if you can add a rating to your review it’s super helpful to us and other readers. xo!)

  45. Meg says

    I’m excited to try this recipe. Any idea how to modify for dried beans rather than canned? Cook and then dry? Cook the dried beans for less time? Thanks!

  46. Allyson says

    First time making these and they were great! I was hopeful that they would hold together, but they started falling apart when i tried to simmer in the sauce for a few minutes. It kind of turned into a bolognese, but still tasty! Iused a little grated Romano cheese instead of vegan, (as we are not vegan and have a nut allergy in thr family), followed recipe otherwise. Flavor is good; I think the fennel makes it! Next time I’ll just pour sauce over when serving. Might try the mixture as a filling for stuffed peppers in the future…?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Allyson! These meatballs are on the more tender side and do best when the sauce is poured over them just before serving.

  47. Scott says

    Delicious legit substitute for meatballs! Substituted Braggs Nutitional Yeast for the vegan parmesan; used both basil and fresh parsley; no fennel. Will be the go to recipe for meatballs in my house.

  48. Denise says

    I made these for my Grandchildren. I made them the day before, and the next day I put them in the sauce to heat up. They completely fell apart in the sauce. I followed the recipe to a t. Now for the good part. Even though they did fall apart they made a great addition to the sauce. A meaty texture, and they loved it!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Denise, these get a little tender in liquid, so that’s probably the issue. Glad to hear it still tasted good!

  49. Ann P. says

    I want to make your recipe, but I have a question. Is the one cup of quinoa one cup after cooked or one cup dry? Sorry if that’s a stupid question, but I’ve read recipe that go either way. Thank you :)

  50. Suzanne says

    Can you make the meatballs several hours in advance? (Leave then in fridge for a few hours instead of mins before cooking?)

  51. Rachelle O'Sullivan says

    Tried to make these. I don’t know what I did wrong, but the consistency was like melted rocky road ice cream…. Put in fridge thinking the mix might firm up, but it ended up even sloppier :-(

    I ended up having to make some toasted breadcrumbs to mix in to firm the mixture enough to make into a ball shape. Tastes good, but still very soft.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm, it definitely sounds like something went wrong! Did you make any modifications? Did you bake the beans until they appeared cracked and felt dry to the touch? What type of vegan parmesan did you use?

  52. Jackie says

    These are fantastic!! Very easy to make. The only change I made to the recipe was to use regular Parmesan instead of vegan. I had all the ingredients on hand except the Worcestershire sauce, so I made them on a whim. Skipped cooking them in marinara sauce and served with a side of green beans for a very healthy meal. These will be a new staple in my house!

  53. Mandy Screven says

    These were Fantastic! I dried the beans in the air fryer quite quickly- then used it to cook 1:2 of them in after browning Just to compare vs the oven and these can definitely be made in air fryer for an all over beautiful crispy brown color. I recommend everyone try this and you couldn’t tell these were made from Blackbeard. Served over angel hair pasta with Marinara with Mushrooms! Ten stars! ♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️

  54. Tracy says

    These are absolutely amazing! Ate them on a sub with mozzarella and sauce-perfection! We aren’t vegan so I used regular Parmesan and mozzarella…we can’t stop talking how great they were!

  55. David Naj says

    I’ve made this recipe a bunch of times and it’s absolutely delicious! Congratulations on an incredible recipe Dana!
    I’ve needed to make a few slight modifications to the process that others may find helpful:
    1) I don’t have a food processor so I use a blender to make the meal in step 4, but the blender doesn’t work well to blend everything else together so I use my hands and it works perfectly!
    2) Personally I don’t love leaving my oven on for so long, so I turn it off after the beans are done and then turn it back on after the balls have chilled in the fridge
    3) I always use this recipe for pasta, with marinara sauce. I find heating the sauce first and then quickly coating the balls and serving immediately keeps them firm. They tend to get a little mushy when I heat them for too long with the sauce.


  56. MMH says

    Bravo!!! What a great flavor. And the consistency and appearance was perfect for us as we make the transition to vegan…Served them along with my marinara sauce. I didn’t put them in the sauce as I was afraid they wouldn’t hold their shape. I ate one out of hand, lovely texture and flavors. Didn’t have basil, used fresh parsley which worked well. My husband said “Yes! Don’t miss the meat!” Can’t wait to have leftovers today with marinara sauce on a whole wheat roll. THANKS!

  57. Jake Freshwater says

    Loved this recipe. I doubled it and added maple syrup & Dijon mustard to the second half and used for filling in vegan sausage rolls topped with chia seeds.

    They were a massive hit!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Jake. We are so glad you enjoyed them! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  58. Kay says

    These really are the best vegan meatballs! Both me (vegetarian) and my partner (omnivore) loved them.

    These meatballs were so easy to make and were just delicious. Served them with your marinara sauce (another excellent recipe) over mashed cauliflower and butter beans. Will definitely make these again! Thanks for another crazy good recipe.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Kay. We are so glad you enjoyed them! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  59. Holly T. says

    I finally got around to trying this recipe. LOVED it! Very flavourful, nice texture. Almost “meaty”. I can see making these often. Definitely will double the recipe next time. My semi-picky, ever-sceptical daughter enjoyed them as much as I did. Highly recommend.
    I love your recipes and these meatballs are honestly a 10/10.

  60. Katherine says

    Love this recipe so much! I’ve made it a few times now and I’ll freeze the leftovers to have on hand for quick weeknight dinners.

  61. Jacquie says

    These are just so delicious. I didn’t fry mine first, just baked them in the oven. Nice and firm with great texture.

  62. Nancy says

    These are absolutely delicious and they don’t fall apart! My search for the perfect vege meatball has come to an end! Thank you!

  63. Donna says

    Followed the recipe Exactly however these were not firm… why? They would not hold up cooked in sauce they fall apart

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi, Donna. Sorry for the inconvenience. Either they were a little too try, or they weren’t mixed well enough. Do either or those sound right?

  64. Carolyn Mixon says

    I posted a considerate comment and question yesterday. Apparently, you did not like it because my meatballs came out mushy, and I asked for advice. However, you did not post the comment. Apparently, only raves about the recipes get posted, and you are not into answering questions.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Carolyn, please know that we were not ignoring your question. Comments have to be approved before they are visible and we do not typically do so on weekends. Thanks for understanding.

        • Jo marie says

          Totally agree. Shocking people think they’re owed answers, much less instantaneous answers! My balls have turned out AMAZING Both times and my husband and I cannot get enough! I am a devout follower of your recipes and think you are a miracle worker! Thank you so much for sharing your talents!

          • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

            Aw thanks so much for your kind words and lovely review, Jo marie! Greatly appreciated! xo

  65. Carolyn Mixon says

    I just made these for the first time. They were very tasty, but unlike others posting here, mine were soft on the inside and not meaty texture. Perhaps the beans needed more drying?? They browned, as in almost black on the outside after 15 minutes in the oven.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      They are a bit delicate so we aren’t sure that would work. Let us know if you give it a try though!

  66. Gen says

    I made this last night for dinner – we have been vegan for over 2 months now and this was hands down one of the best recipes I have made so far! The “meatballs” almost have that meaty chew to them as they aren’t soggy or soft and I served mine with marinara sauce with baby spinach on top of carrot and zucchini zoodles. I baked my meatballs and didn’t bother frying them first and they still turned out amazing! Made a double batch thank goodness cause I want them again tonight!! Definately make these and do yourself a favour!!!

  67. Elly says

    I have never written a recommendation before but for these, I had to. I used a cup of cooked brown rice instead of quinoa, onion instead of shallot and 1/3 cup nutritional yeast instead of Parmesan. I also don’t have a food processor so just finely diced it then mashed with a potato masher. They came out great! Definitely try this, it’s worth the extra steps like baking the beans and chilling the balls. I am going to try this mixture in stuffed cabbage leaves next.

  68. Melanie says

    These are seriously some of the best vegan meatballs ever. I have made them as written but today I subbed white beans in place of the black beans. I’m also yeast-free right now so I just used cashew pulp (from homemade cashew milk) in place of the parmesan. I’m sure any nut or seed meal would work. If you prefer not to slave over the stovetop, the meatballs get nicely toasty baked in the oven, too!

  69. Ira says

    I was a sceptic that this recipe could possibly substitute for the old fashioned meatball ( whether beef, pork, lamb or any combination thereof) and it was different but it was delicious- don’t skip roasting the beans, be very liberal with your seasonings ( I actually roasted and added a whole head of garlic) and then roasted the meatballs for 10/15 minutes in the same oven to limit the cleanup ( the quinoa and tomato paste probably kept it from drying out). I am converted & healthier as well.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

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

  70. Francine Horne says

    Just wondering if there is a substitute for the quinoa? Sadly I love quinoa however it doesn’t feel the same for me.

    Thank you in advance.

  71. Anonymous says

    Delish! I used 1/3 cup nutritional yeast instead of vegan parm and it worked great. I also skipped the frying pan step and found that they held together well with just baking on a cookie sheet. Will definitely be making again!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We think so! Might want to decrease the amount slightly to avoid drying it out too much. Let us know if you give it a try!

  72. Camille Leblanc says

    So good! These will become my go-to meatballs. I didn’t have any fresh herbs, but it still turned out excellent with a non-mushy texture.

  73. Callie says

    These 100% live up to their name. The black beans made for the perfect texture! I ended up using just nooch instead of making the vegan parmesan, but still turned out delicious.

  74. Noelle says

    These meatballs lived up to their name as the best! The flavors are perfect and would satisfy any meatball cravings even for meat eaters.

  75. Melissa says

    I once was a meat eater and never really liked meatballs. So many things have changed!! I don’t eat meat but I love these meatballs. Absolutely amazing. I made the marinara too and this worked beautifully.
    I made this AND loved it. Thank you.

  76. Tammi says

    Is it possible to use roasted cashews in Parmesan cheese recipe?
    We’re in the middle of a dandy snowstorm here in Colorado and I don’t want to venture out in it to buy raw cashews.☃️
    Thanks so much.

  77. Tameka says

    Just found your site and tried another recipe that I loved. Gearing up to try these but I’m not a fan of quinoa. I saw someone else used couscous. What are your thoughts on that substitution? Or should I use the quinoa and hope I won’t taste it? ?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We would say the quinoa flavor is not pronounced. But you could try couscous or brown rice if you’d like. Let us know if you give it a try!

  78. Hannah says

    Could I prepare the quinoa and beans hours before making the meatballs, or would that ruin the texture/hold ability?

  79. Christine says

    My husband, daughter, and grandchildren really like these. These get made pretty regularly in our house. It has gotten where I frequently make a double batch so there’s enough to go around. When my daughter comes over to visit, she lets me know that she hopes to find meatball “leftovers” in the refrigerator. Definitely a favorite.

  80. Nicole says

    I (weirdly, sadly) have developed a sensitivity to quinoa. Any suggestions on a gluten free substitute? Dying to try these!

  81. Amanda says

    Wow- such a great recipe! Made this with a tri-color quinoa. Going to put these on hoagies for ‘meatball’ sandwich.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      That’s great! Thanks, Amanda! So glad you enjoyed it and LOVE the hoagie idea. Also, next time would you mind adding a rating to your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. xoxo!

  82. gloptum says

    I made this today and followed the recipe quite truthfully the only exceptions being we had no basil (used oregano & extra parsley) no cheese (just skipped it).

    The meat balls turned out perfectly, firm, good texture and flavour. The base of beans and quinoa could be modified to any other recipe and would hold middle eastern or bbq flavours well. They could also be made smaller for cocktail parties and served on toothpick with dipping sauce etc.

    Would definitely make this again. If one is organised, this could be put together in 60min and on the table in 90min tops.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We are so glad you enjoyed it! Thanks so much for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications and ideas!

  83. Elizabeth says

    I was excited to try these, but thought they were just ok and too much work to make again. I made exactly as the recipe said. My husband liked them better than me, so it was probably just a personal taste thing.

    • Lou says

      I’ve made this a few times, with a few changes (to what I have available at home) subbed quinoa for couscous, used chickpeas instead of black beans and omitted worcestershire sauce and fennel seeds. Love the recipe, not sure how much my subs change it but still delicious.

  84. das says

    I’ve made these a couple of times now–fantastic recipe. My daughter and I have been vegetarian for a year now, and while she likes some meat substitutes, she is not a fan of the ground beef (including pre-made “meatless” meatballs). So, this recipe fills an important food role for us! I made a few modifications, just for time and ease (and based upon years of making meatballs (with meat:). This recipe is step-intensive (having to make the quinoa and roasting black beans), so I was looking for a way to reduce. Instead of sautéing shallots and garlic, I substituted 1/2 – 3/4 tsp garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon onion powder. Also, instead of sautéing meatballs, I just scooped them directly onto parchment paper-lined tray, sprayed them with cooking spray (you could probably skip this), and cooked for 20 minutes (flipping them over half way). They still brown nicely. I used all fresh parsley (just b/c cheaper and keeps longer), so I added 1 tsp dried basil in addition to the dried oregano. Minus fennel (just not a fan in my meatballs), all other ingredients remained as written. Very important to roast the black beans first, so don’t skip that step! I made enough quinoa to make these 2 weeks in a row! We’ve had with pasta sauce, but I also used as part of a Korean rice bowl with brown rice, edamame, broccoli, bbq sauce, and Siraccha! Supper delicious! Thanks so much for your great techniques!

  85. Tricia says

    These look amazing! Do you think I can meal prep them ahead by forming them in balls and leaving in the fridge a couple of days before actually cooking them?

  86. Natascha says

    Oh my gosh! These meatballs are delicious. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I had them fresh out of the oven, in tomato sauce and in a sandwich :) that’s how delicious they are. I only changed one minor thing in the recipe and used nutritional yeast instead of vegan Parmesan and they came out perfectly. They were holding up nicely before cooking and have just the right crunch now, can’t wait to eat more of the leftovers. My husband loves them too and I will make sure to spread the word and recipe among my friends. These will surely be a regular dish in our house :)

  87. joan says

    I made these a little bit of work for sure. And I didn’t have a few items but still not bad. Made fewer then 12 but its ok for first time. Now what do I do with left over quinoa ?

  88. Elise says

    This is the most amazing recipe. I tried it tonight and can’t believe how good it is -a million times better than the store brands. I didn’t make any modifications.

  89. Ellie says

    These are amazing! I am not vegan or vegetarian, just trying to eat less meat and these will help! I made a couple modifications, I used regular Parmesan and Worcestershire sauce and used dried herbs instead of fresh and they came out great. Great texture, stayed together well and easy to put together. I quickly cooked a couple to try but I froze the rest to have when we have spaghetti and meatballs! Thank you for the great recipe, I will make again!!

  90. Diana Demco says

    I made these several times and loved them! They were approved by my boyfriend as well. Big on flavor and simple ingredients – can’t get better than this. We liked serving them with homemade marinara sauce and mashed potatoes.

  91. Jessie Johnston says

    The name does not lie – these are the best vegan meatballs! I’ve tried a number of other recipes, and they either don’t hold together, they get too soggy, they have too many ingredients, or they are simply just lacking. But THESE are none of that. They held together great – although I skipped putting them in the pan after they immediately started to stick – and threw them in the oven on a baking sheet with parchment paper instead. They still got a crunchy crust. The ingredients were all things I already had on hand. And they seriously tasted amazing. We are not vegans but like substituting plant based food for comfort food so I used regular Worcestershire. I like the combo of parsley and basil. My boyfriend kept saying “this is one of the best things I’ve eaten in so long… these meatballs are amazing!” I have to agree. We made a half batch and wished we had more – although, we probably would’ve eaten all of them in one sitting!! Thank you for this recipe.

  92. Nadya says

    They fell apart but were delicious! Planning to make these again but I don’t have quinoa. Do you know what I could use instead? Maybe oats?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Nadya, the quinoa helps them hold together. We would recommend cooked brown rice as an alternative. Hope that helps!

  93. Lisa says

    Thank you for this recipe. It is one of my families absolute favourites. Our latest variation is to poke a cube of vegan cheese inside the meatball once it is rolled. Then I dip the meatball in linseed and water mixture (egg replacement) and then roll in breadcrumbs (panko if you have them). Pop on an oven tray, spray with a little olive oil spray ( I don’t always do this) and bake for perhaps 45 mins at about 375F . I check them at some point and turn them. My timing is vague as I haven’t really checked before. My youngest daughter loves them really crispy on the outside so I often leave them longer. Turns out a bit like a vegan arancini ball!

  94. Kim Goldfeder Clarke says

    Hi! Yet another delicious-looking recipe that I can’t wait to try!

    Quick question: You said it keeps for 4-5 days in the refrigerator.
    After cooking them, for the leftovers throughout the week, what’s the best way to reheat them? In the microwave? I’m throwing a BBQ next weekend and I want to make as many “Do ahead” recipes as possible because I don’t want to spend my day in the kitchen and these look like they’d be a perfect recipe for all of my party guests.

    Thank you! Can’t wait to try it and then rate it with glowing stars!

  95. Sue says

    I really enjoyed these, i will be making some more, i didnt put fennel seeds in them but i will next time, yummy

  96. Keith says

    Dana – I made these tonight. Unfortunately, after pulling from the oven, I put them in marinara sauce and they fell apart in the sauce. I was in a bit of a rush and bypassed the step of putting the meatballs in the fridge. Do you think that is why they fell apart? Or perhaps I needed to add more vegan parmesan to dry out? Despite crumbling in the sauce, they were still great tasting! Thanks for the recipe and any tips to improve.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm, they should hold together quite well so I’m not sure what quite went wrong. Did they seem to crumbly or too wet?

      • Keith Stuessi says

        Actually, maybe both. In retrospect, they seems maybe too wet/sticky when rolling, but they crumbled almost instantly when I put into the sauce. Strange. I think I’ll add more vegan parm (to dry out) and refrigerate. Hopefully that will do the trick.

  97. B says

    Dana these were SO good!!! I’m so glad I decided to make the vegan parmesan instead of just putting nutritional yeast, I think that definitely helped with the texture. I didn’t have any issue with crumbling but i’ll admit it was a thick mixture so it was getting difficult to mix in my food processor. I made this with bulgur and I dried both that and the beans on a sheet pan which helped speed up the process. Though i’m curious if beans soaked overnight would work to cut out the drying/baking process for the beans? Will have to try next time!

  98. Tamara says

    Can I also use these meatballs in a casserole or will they soak up the liquid too much if they are in the oven in a liquid fro about 40 mins?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Tamara, we think they might get a little tender in liquid. But if you give it a try, let us know!

  99. Jen says

    I followed the recipe completely, the fennel seed was barely noticeable but I feel that it really made these a 5 star recipe. I made them as meatball subs, with marinara, shredded vegan mozzarella, and a little more Parmesan. My kids couldn’t believe it was vegan. I’m not one to trick people, but seriously no one would know these were made with black beans.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jamie, we think they might get a little tender in the crockpot. But if you give it a try, let us know!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Wendy, we haven’t tried it, but that sounds lovely! Let us know if you give it a try!

  100. April says

    Thank you so very much. Your recipes are big hit in our house. First that amazing taco “meat,” then the cashew alfredo sauce, and now these “meat” balls! (Oh, I can’t forget those biscuits!) My husband the meat-eater is clearing his plate with a big smile. I didn’t have worcestershire sauce so I used BBQ sauce instead. It worked out perfectly. I made your parmesian “cheese” recipe and we incorporated it into several meals. Your meals make vegan food fun, filling, and healthy. I can’t thank you enough!

  101. Erin Leebs says

    Fantastic recipe!

    I was missing a few ingredients, but I modified by using pinto beans and balsamic vinegar/tamari in place of the vegan Worcestershire.

    They. Were. Amaze-balls. (Pun intended?)

    I plan on eating the rest with marinara and some vegan mozza baked on top

  102. Brigitte says

    I am a full time uni student so I try to do meal prep in order for me to save time & money. I’m so glad I made these, they are amazing! The ‘dough’ made enough for 18 meatballs, and they had so much flavour as is, but after reading other reviews I think I will try adding the fennel seeds next time. I did sub the vegan parmesan cheese for nutritional yeast as I couldn’t find it anywhere, and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money. I used a vegetarian worcestershire sauce from the supermarket as I couldn’t find a vegan option locally. I actually baked the meatballs in the oven before I popped them into the pan, as it would be easier to add the sauce, and I wanted them extra crispy. For the marinara sauce, I just used a jar of organic pasta sauce which I added to the pan after cooking. The inside of the meatballs were still soft, but still held the shape in tact.
    Thanks for another great recipe Dana!!

  103. Lillphillie says

    These were so good, I couldn’t stop eating them out of the bowl! I used truffle salt instead of sea salt and they were beyond fabulous!

  104. SARAH KOLOMS says

    I made these yesterday because the recipe sounded amazing…they were delicious!! Definitely, do not skip the fennel, it added so much flavor! I didn’t change a thing in the recipe, and just made a simple marinara from whole Italian canned tomatoes and it was delicous! The recipe made 16 golf ball size meatballs and 5 of them was plenty for dinner! HIghly recommend!!

    Note, I heated them in the sauce before eating and they held together pretty well, just be gentle when stirring!

  105. Nicole Hohenstein says

    My youngest daughter and I are vegan…my Husband and oldest daughter are not. As you can imagine dinner time is structured chaos at best. To throw salt on an open wound, my Husband doesn’t eat fruits or vegetables (to be fair… he drink orange juice and will eat lima beans drowned in butter and corn during the summer… I rest my case). All that said, I LOVE cooking and it’s hard for me not to be able to prepare a meal for my entire family where everyone’s pallet is satisfied. I’m always on the hunt for a recipe that might be a keeper. Dan’s recipes are fabulous, so I went ahead and planned to make a double batch of these meatballs. I followed the recipe to a tee, but added a dash of cayenne and grand cloves for an added kick. My Husband picked around at them, but eventually ate everything on his plate and said that they weren’t bad…. which in my my book, was a win! I think it was a texture thing for him (beans/grains vs animal meat…there’s always going to be a slight difference). All that said, I’m once again grateful for another stellar recipe. I loved it… and my 4 year old is having leftovers tonight for dinner :) Thanks Dana & John!

  106. Aimee Rich says

    I absolutely loved then flavour of these and even my dad and husband had seconds but I couldn’t get them to cook solid, they were crispy on the outside and slop in the middle…! I know I’ve missed something somewhere as no one else seems to have had this problem. Anyway they were delicious and it turned out as a more minced Spag Bol rather than the meatballs

  107. Sarah says

    Is there anything you can suggest to make this nut-free ? (The vegan Parmesan cheese is what I’m referring to.) I would skip it, but 1/2 cup seems like a prominent ingredient. Thanks!!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Sarah, you can try a few extra tablespoons of nutritional yeast instead. Hope that helps!

  108. Paula says

    Absolutely delicious! Plan on making more tomorrow and freezing them. :) So happy to have found a veg version that tastes close to the meatballs I used to make. Beyond grateful for that bc I miss them! Thank you for the wonderful recipe.

  109. Starr says

    I made these last night and they were amazing! When I tried to set the crust in the pan, the balls were sticking too much. I then tried cooking them in the oven only as mentioned in one of the other comments but they weren’t getting nice and brown the way I would have preferred. I moved them to the air fryer and that worked to get the nice brown color and crispy outer texture.

  110. Lindsey says

    These are seriously THE BEST! We became vegan last August and this is the closest recipe I have found to a traditional meatball flavor. The crisp exterior with a softer interior was perfect. We struggled to brown them in the pan without adding oil, so we skipped that step and placed them in the broiler for a few minutes instead, turning once. Then we baked them in the oven as the instructions indicate. Turned out perfect. Thanks again for the great recipe!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Lindsey. We are so glad you enjoyed them! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! xo

  111. Cathy Sturrock says

    Delish. Thank you for the recipe. Subbed vegan parnesan with blitzed nutritional yeast and cashews. Used probably twice as much quinoa as suggested in recipe. (My food processor struggled a bit with the mix so finished by mixing by hand and added extra quinoa to make less gloopy. Sauted the shallots and garlic in veg stock. Didn’t pan fry the balls, just cooked in oven with no oil. Served with a sauce of sauted onions & garlic, cumin, tomatoes, bay leaves, veg stock, pinch of sugar, bayleaves and chickpeas. But think would also be good with blitzed red onions, garlic, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and basil simmered for 10 mins. Have frozen the meatballs in portions with the sauce, separated with greaseproof paper so they don’t go soggy.

  112. Barbara rosenbaum says

    I made this recipe once and it’s absolutely delicious. Making some more right now.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yay! Thanks, Barbara! Next time would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s so helpful for us and other readers. xo!

  113. JeanMari says

    This looks great! Is there anything I could sub tomato paste with? I want to make this later and trying to avoid a trip to the grocery store. :)

  114. Delnora says

    These were phenomenally delicious! But quite labor intensive. Definitely not a weeknight recipe if you work. I like that they use such healthy ingredients. I normally don’t use oil, but I did sauté them in some olive oil before transferring to my silicon-baking sheet covered cookie sheet to bake for about 25 minutes. Now I’m just trying to not eat them all before my family gets home!

  115. Sara says

    These are freakin’ fantastic! We couldn’t stop talking about how good they were and cannot wait to make them again! The two of us had to stop ourselves from eating all of them so we have leftovers today (yay!). They only thing I changed was that I did not use the fennel seeds or oregano (don’t like), otherwise made as-is and used vegan worcestershire which I think is a critical ingredient. I also made your marinara sauce and served the meatballs with the sauce and spaghetti! AMAZING!

    • Tamara says

      We made them and they were good and actually stuck together. I forgot to put them in the fridge, but it still worked. Also I only put them in the marinara at the end, like others recommended. However they were a bit dry to eat and crumbled on the table. Could I put some olive oil in the mix?

  116. jordi says

    Can you explain a little more about drying the beans and what way is the best to achieve the best results please?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jordi, in step 2 of the instructions, we share how to dry out the beans. Hope that helps!

  117. Natalie says

    This recipe was great! I subbed onions for shallots and nutritional yeast for vegan Parmesan. These meatballs were great, but I would definitely recommend soaking them in sauce before serving!

  118. Lyn says

    The meatballs tasted delicious but they all crumbled and fell apart. I’m pretty sure i followed the recipe exactly so I don’t know what went wrong. Everyone ate the meal anyway but next time i make it i would like them to be balls.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Lyn, was your quinoa cooled completely before using? If not, that could be the issue! Also, perhaps next time form them a little tighter and add more tomato paste for binding? Hope that helps!

  119. Joy M. says

    I absolutely loved these! Perfect comfort food for this vegetarian. The only exception to the ingredients I made was that I used real Parmesan cheese since I’m not vegan. I cooked the quinoa and rinsed, dried, and baked the beans earlier in the day so there was less to do at dinnertime. Using fresh basil is a must! I covered these meatballs in marinara and served over whole wheat pasta. My non-vegetarian husband said this recipe was a keeper!

    • Rachael says

      Joy, there’s veggie versions around but true Parmesan is not vegetarian (authentic Parsesan contains calf rennet). Xx

  120. Rachel says

    Could I leave the raw meatballs in the fridge overnight and cook the next day?? Very excited to try these!!

  121. Jacqui says

    Made this for the family (made two batches), absolutely fantastic, simple easy to make.
    Had all the ingredients in my food cupboard except for the vegan parmesan cheese (used B12).
    The family loved it, my daughter especially because she has been a vegan for a few years.
    This is a keeper.

  122. Amanda says

    These are INCREDIBLE & sooo filling we had leftovers i made into ‘beanball’ subs ;) I made these to go with the ‘cheesey’ squash and it was perfect and hearty. I did feel lik the food processor was a bit unecessary so i put all the ingredients (i didnt use worchester sauce) in a bowl and mixed it with my hands and they came out even better than expected. Will definitely be making these again!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We haven’t tried that, but think it would work! If you give it a try, let us know how it goes!

  123. Candace says

    Are there good substitues for the quinoa? Do you think brown rice could work? Is the quinoa mostly a binder or filler in this recipe?

  124. Christina Davis says

    I seriously cannot believe how easy and delicious these were! I was almost speechless when I first tasted the “dough”. I had been curating vegan recipes for our Daniel Fast and these fit the bill perfectly. Even my carnivore husband had to admit they were pretty good!

  125. Amelia says

    Hi, I was wondering if they would still turn out fine if I left out the vegan parm or it I would need to use a substitute.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We think the vegan parm is pretty essential for flavor/texture, but some other readers have substituted nutritional yeast and macadamia nuts with success. You could also potentially try breadcrumbs plus a little nutritional yeast. Hope that helps!

  126. Andrew says

    Amazingly creative and delicious!

    I forgot the 15 minutes’ refrigeration and they seemed okay.

    I like kick, so for my double recipe I used a smallish jalapeño and some chipotle pepper flakes.

    My one other modification comes from laziness: I skipped the frying part, but wiped a baking sheet with a thin coating of olive oil and lightly brushed some on the meatballs. I then baked them for about 25 minutes and finished them gently under the broiler for about five minutes, turning once.

    Served with homemade marinara from an Italian deli.

    We loved them!!

  127. Jan Gammie says

    Made these this weekend and they were delicious! Followed the recipe as it was (used Henderson’s Relish in place of Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce) (for British readers!) and served them with wholewheat pasta, home made tomato sauce (Marinara) salad, and garlic bread made with sunflower spread. Thank you Dana!

  128. Cat says

    Oh my GOSH, these are incredible. My meat eater fiancé loves them too. So good. Will be telling all my friends. Thank you for this new stable in my dinner rotation!

  129. Debra says

    I made this but used it for stuffed tomatoes cooked in the crockpot with marinara sauce. I added some chopped sun dried tomatoes & mushrooms & spinach. Delish!

  130. Nichole Cope says

    These were delicious! I didn’t have any vegan parm on hand so I substituted nutritional yeast and used all fresh basil. Food processor decided to die so I mixed/mashed all ingredients in a large bowl with a fork and they still turned out great! I paired these with vegan tuscan pasta……YUM!!!!

  131. Donna says

    I never usually comment on recipes but this one I couldn’t just make it and leave it alone. These were AMAZING. I had to restrain myself from eating all of the meatballs after my first bowl.

    I did not sub any ingredients or change any measurements. They were so flavorful and the perfect blend of spicy, and savory. I do recommend leaving the fennel in, it’s so good with it!
    THANK YOU!! My Italian husband is so happy. I’m happy. You made my night with this recipe!

  132. Dana says

    One additional tip for those (like me) who are not measuring in cups but with a scale:
    1 cup cooked quinoa equals 60 grams uncooked quinoa.

  133. Dana says

    Hi! We made these “beanballs” last night for dinner and they were the one of the best, most flavorfull meals we’ve ever eaten. Since were not vegan (or vegetarian), I used “real” parmesan cheese und worcestershire sauce. I didn’t sauté them first but put them right into the oven and they came out crispy on the outside and just a little mushy (the good kind) on the inside. I have just a hand blender so I was a little nervous about the consistency, but all went fine.
    I served them with spaghetti and a simple marinara sauce – just canned tomatoes, olive oil, onion, garlic and oregano simmered for 35 minutes. My husband loved them and demanded that I make them again next week :-)
    In fact, they were so good that I ordered a food processor last night to make them again and again and again (and hummus of course – because I loooooove hummus :-))))

  134. lindsy says

    THESE ARE THE BEST! I added a handful of walnuts for nutty flavor and spinach to sneak in some greens but this was QUICK, DELICIOUS, and nutritious!

  135. Penny says

    Huge flop for me. The meatballs are soft and fell apart. I added red onion instead of shallets?
    Id love to make them again, any suggestions?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm, that’s so strange! I certainly didn’t experience any trouble with these crumbling. Perhaps next time form them a little tighter and add more tomato paste for binding?

  136. Misty Anderson says

    I have to say, I had low expectations for these and was pleasantly surprised! They were great!! So happy to have found your site! I am all about minimal ingredients!

  137. Michele says

    Hi!! I love this recipe and have made it a few times now but i’m having some trouble when i’m browning the meatballs on my cast iron. They keep sticking to the pan (no matter how much oil I use).. any ideas on how to have them not stick while trying to sear all sides?

  138. Rhonda Einstein says

    I am trying to figure out what went wrong. I followed your directions and when I took them out of the over they all went flat like one giant pancake.

  139. Nada says

    Hello – i used dry red beans from a bag (not can) and then followed the recipe to dry them in the oven. I’m getting a dry nutty taste in the meatball, so now i’m thinking I extra “dried” by beans…? was is this the actual texture that I should have?
    maybe soak the beans first then oven dry…? not sure.

  140. Miles D Gullingsrud says

    I’m making this right now and I’m confused. I cooked a cup of quinoa and set it aside, but it yielded about three cups quinoa. Do I use all three cups of the quinoa, or only one of the cooked cups?

  141. Sue says

    Hi Dana
    I’m concerned about not have a food processor too. I have a cuisinart mini chopper and and high power Oster blender. What should I use to mix if I attempt to make this :)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm I’m not sure.. we would definitely recommend using a food processor, but if you try out your other kitchen tools, let us know how it turns out!

  142. William says

    I subbed quinoa for about a half cup of cooked very thin rice noodles that I chopped. Added about a quarter cup of mushrooms that I dried in the oven along with the beans. Added a quarter cup of homemade breadcrumbs. These may be the best vegan meatballs ever. If you substitute just make sure to keep the moisture level in mind else they may fall apart on you !

  143. Lori P says

    I made these the other night and they turned out pretty good – the only reason they were not great is because, for me, the 3T of parsley and basil (which I combined) was a bit too much. I love parsley and basil but I did find them to overpower the rest of the flavors. That is just for me. I will reduce to 1T.
    I also did not have cashews to make my parmesan so I used a couple of tablespoons of nutritional yeast. I will use the vegan parm next batch.
    I ate these with zucchini noodles and a jarred tomato sauce. I will make my own marinara sauce next time. I will also double or triple this recipe because for the clean-up it is worth having a double batch.
    Thank you for another great recipe.

  144. Amy says

    I am just in the process of making these, omitting fennel as I was out, using dried oregano and only fresh basil as I can’t stand parsley…and the mix tastes amazing! My only concern is that the meatballs are about to completely fall a part and they have stuck to the pan. Do you have any suggestions of how to create more compact balls, or whether you would recommend adding some oil back into the pan prior? Thanks!

  145. Miss Violet says

    I made these and thought they were extremely time consuming. Way more steps than your average recipe. However, I was game to try since almost all of your recipes are super on point!??

    But these meatballs fell super short. Even though I added all the additional ingredients, I thought they really lacked flavor. Maybe they’ll taste better after a day?

    Only thing I was super stoked about, was they did keep their shape well. Meatless meatballs have the tendency to fall apart.

    You win some and you lose some.

  146. Lu says

    O they are so so good, thank you! Made a large batch and froze half last week , paired with the marinara they are perfection!

  147. Lindsey says

    I typically am a plop-it-in-the-sauce and let it simmer until cooked type of gal with my meatballs. Do you think this recipe could be just plopped into some sauce and simmered? Wondering if they would hold together…thanks so much for posting this, can’t wait to make these!

  148. Isabelle says

    I tried the recipe for our Sunday lunch. It was delicious. As well as the marinara sauce. It took me a bit longer than I thought… next time I will be a bit more effective. And will prepare a bigger quantity. Thank you for your excellent recipes Dana.

  149. JudyB says

    I made the meatballs for dinner tonight and they were sooo delicious even by themselves. I made a veggie tomato sauce to go with And some quinoa and it was awesome!! I used fresh parley verse the oregano and also some dry Italian mix in the meatball also. I didn’t have any Worcestershire sauce but it still turned out great. This did take some time to make this isn’t a quick recipe. Also if you have a big family you may want to double recipe, mine made about 8 meatballs. Every recipe I have tried by Dana has always been good!

  150. Ellen says

    Made the recipe (tripling it because we were having a party and serving meatballs as an appetizer) and it was good. They stick together, they have a nice texture, though I think I needed to adjust the flavour with some more salt as they could be a little less bland (no Worcestershire sauce used because we didn’t have a vegan version in the house and that also might’ve helped).
    An excellent addition to these “meatballs” though was this recipe for sweet & sour sauce. It was super easy and fast, with ingredients we always have in the house. Perfect! For ratio reference, having tripled the meatballs, we quadrupled the sauce recipe. I think maybe x5 would be better but I do like things saucy and with the quadrupled they did get a light coating all over so your call. Thanks for the meatball recipe. It’ll definitely be a keeper.

  151. Rachel says

    These are great! I just discovered yet another reliable recipe to use often in the future. Thank you for your minimalist/simple yet delicious recipes Dana!

  152. Lily says

    Would these hold up if I wanted to put in a crockpot with marinara sauce and warm/heat for an hour or two? Or would they fall apart? Thinking of making these for a potluck.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm, thinking they might get a little tender in the crockpot. But if you give it a try let us know!

      • Lily says

        Will do! Thinking maybe I can keep the sauce heating and will add the meatballs in the last few minutes to the crock pot.

  153. WeeZ says

    Want to make these for NewYears day.Visiting our of town and don’t have my food processor but Friend has an electric mixer.Will this work?

  154. Gerri says

    I just made this for Christmas. I have always loved Italian on Christmas Day and these “meatless” balls were the ?-diggity! I didn’t have fennel on hand but otherwise followed the recipe to a T. Wow – Thank you! I even made a post-dinner “meatless” sub with the leftover balls and vegan parm. Like how can you miss meat with recipes like this?

    Thanks for making my Christmas merry and bright by allowing me to continue to indulge in past traditions – with a ? twist .

  155. Michelle Bergquist says

    Hi there. I am doing a grazing station for Christmas with my family. Would these work to sit in a crockpot with sauce or would they start to fall apart being the crockpot for a long period of time?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm I’m not sure as we haven’t tried it, Michelle! Let us know if you give it a go. Good luck!

  156. Karolina says

    I used dried oregano and felt that 2.5 tsps of it was way too much. Typically dried and fresh herb amounts are not supposed to be the same – is the 2.5 meant for fresh then, and dried should be less?
    Other than that, these were tasty.

  157. Bree says

    This recipe turned out really great for me. They stayed together really well even after adding the sauce and tasted amazing! They stood up even as leftovers the next day. Highly recommend this recipe!

  158. Aaron says

    I made these last night for my family and my wife and I thought they were absolutely delicious. My kids still preferred “Dad’s own recipe” that I’ve made for them for years, but I’ll be making these from now on I think.

    I used onion instead of shallots and dried instead of fresh basil but that didn’t seem to be a problem.

    If I had one issue, it was that they were very soft so when I poured the sauce into the frying pan to heat the balls up a bit they started to fall apart a little. When I then served them any pressure from the serving spoon etc would squash them. If I could remedy that, they would be perfect.

  159. Kelly O says

    I just made these and am so pleased with the results. I doubled the recipe so we could have for dinner tonight and lunch for Mon + hopefully Tues (if it lasts!) I followed the recipe with two exceptions: I did not include the optional ingredients, and I used real dairy parmesan in place of the vegan parmesan. I paired this with your marinara sauce, I threw in some diced onion and oregano to the sauce as well. This is a recipe I will keep on hand and continue to make.

    Instead of making the quinoa beforehand, I cooked it while the beans were baking. Then, I spread the cooked quinoa on the dirty sheet pan and popped it in the freezer for 10 min to get the quinoa to cool down.

    Thanks so much!

  160. JULIA says

    I made this per the recipe. I didn’t have any left over grains in the fridge so went ahead and cooked some quinoa, attempted to dry it somewhat in the pan, cooled it and then proceeded with the recipe. Thought that sauteing the garlic and onion separately and drying the canned beans was a little over the top, but did it anyway. The combination of flavors was really good and I liked that they tasted different to any bean burger/meatball that I had made before. Served with marinara and spaghetti, with spinach and broccoli. Next time, I think I am just going to quickly whiz it in the food processor and use it as a burito filling.

  161. Nick Raspa says

    Do you think that boiling rather than baking would work for this recipe? I personally feel that boiling would yield a more moist “meatball”.

  162. Jill says

    Wow! These meatballs are AMAZING! After cooking in the oven, I simmered them in marinara and then put in sub rolls topped with cashew mozzarella! It was literally one of the best meals I have ever made! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

  163. Kasandra says

    I made this recipe and it was soooo flavorful. I am not a vegan so I used regular Worcestershire sauce. The black beans added a great texture and bite to the meatball. I also REALLY enjoyed the vegan parmesan (used the whole jar)! I ate it with spaghetti squash and I definitely will be making it again!

  164. Laetitia says


    First of all thank you so much for this recipe!

    It really is delicious and I’m glad I did your vegan parmesan with walnuts from my walnut tree instead of cashew because I could really taste them in the meatballs and also because I’m nuts for walnuts ;-)
    Only issue I had was that they were not holding firmly enough. It might be due to the size of the cans, because where I live, black bean cans come in 400g and it is a little less than what you get in your 15ounce cans…(we are getting ripped off ;-)!) So I added a little bit of wheat gluten (1 tablespoon) to it but I suppose any kind of flour would work (oat flour, flax seed flour).

    AND last but not least they were fabulous with my secret fennel roots drunken tomato sauce!!

    Thank you Dana, I will be making these again and again!!!

  165. Joy Manning says

    I followed this recipe to the letter and had the same experience as others of the meatballs just falling apart when I placed them in the sauce. They couldn’t be moved, stir, or simmered without disintegrating. I baked them the full 30 minutes, baked my beans nice and dry, and cooked and cooled my quinoa on a paper towel-lined baking sheet in the refrigerator to ensure it was completely dry. Think twice before adding sauce to these!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm, that’s so strange! I certainly didn’t experience any trouble with these crumbling. Perhaps next time form them a little tighter and add more tomato paste for binding?

  166. leilane says

    OMG, this is the best meatballs ever, thank you. My daugthers are vegetarian, but they are very very picky, they love it.

  167. Holly says

    I made these exactly as your recipe says and they were amazing! I’d like to make them again but I have a question about the refrigerating step. If I prep them a day ahead so I can pop them into the oven after work, can I leave them in the fridge overnight? This won’t ruin them somehow?

    Thanks so much!

  168. Ellie says

    AMAZING!!! I used pinto beans, as I didn’t have any black beans on hand, and just used regular nutritional yeast. SO good, better than “real” meatballs!!!

  169. Meg says

    I made these AMAZING vegan meatballs and I couldn’t be more obsessed- along with all the people I fed them to. I’m already looking forward to dinner time tomorrow so I can eat the leftovers. I didn’t use Worchestor sauce just because I didn’t have any on hand. Still delicious. I served the meat balls over spaghetti squash and used Trader Joe’s marinara sauce. Super delicious.

  170. David Corbin says

    My first attempt at cooking a vegan meal and I’m hooked. These were so good! I’m trying your lentil stew next.