Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Meatballs

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Plate of our incredible Sun-dried Tomato and Basil Chickpea Meatballs for dinner

I kind of have a thing for Italian food. It’s kind of like the thing I have for Mexican food, Thai food and all things margarita.

But sometimes, nothing quite satisfies like a classic, hearty Italian dish, and this meatball recipe is exactly that (you know, minus the meat, eggs, and cheese).

Blender with panko, chickpeas, vegan parmesan, basil, and sun-dried tomatoes for making vegan meatballs

These meatballs are inspired by my Sun-dried Tomato and Basil Pinwheels and adapted from my Simple Vegan Meatballs.

Having already tried a vegan meatball with tempeh, I wanted to try something a bit more approachable for everyone, so I went with chickpeas. Spoiler alert? I prefer them even more!

And, as always, this recipe is simple, requiring just 10 ingredients, simple methods, and less than 1 hour to prepare.

Baking sheet filled with a batch of our vegan Chickpea Meatballs with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Basil
Cooking vegan chickpea meatballs in a cast-iron skillet

Once you form the meatballs, it’s just a matter of coating, sautéing and finishing them off in the oven while you prepare any desired sides, such as pasta, red sauce or salad. It’s about as simple as it gets.

Plates of pasta with marinara and Vegan Chickpea Meatballs for a plant-based weeknight meal

The finished result is amazing! These meatballs are:

Extremely flavorful
Tender on the inside
Slightly crisp on the outside
Infused with sun-dried tomato & basil
& Simply delicious

Make these to enjoy as an appetizer with a bit of marinara sauce, or to pair with your favorite pasta. I prefer mine atop spaghetti noodles and a classic red sauce with all of the vegan parmesan cheese.

If you like this recipe, you should also check out our Vegan Eggplant Parmesan, Eggplant Lasagna Roll-ups, and Vegan Stuffed Shells!

Dinner plate filled with spaghetti noodles, marinara, Vegan Chickpea Meatballs, and fresh basil

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment and rate it, and don’t forget to take a picture and tag it #minimalistbaker on Instagram so we can see! Your photos always make our day. Cheers, friends!

Delicious plant-based meal of spaghetti noodles, marinara, and our simple Vegan Chickpea Meatballs recipe

Vegan Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil Meatballs

Amazing, 10-ingredient vegan meatballs infused with sun-dried tomato and fresh basil! Savory, tender, and loaded with protein and fiber. The perfect healthy, plant-based meal!
Author Minimalist Baker
Plate of Vegan Sundried Tomato Basil Meatballs
4.82 from 65 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 15 (meatballs)
Course Entrée
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Italian-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 Month (see instructions)
Does it keep? 3-4 Days



  • 1 Tbsp flaxseed meal (to make flax eggs)
  • 2 ½ Tbsp water (to make flax eggs)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (divided // plus more for sautéing)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs (gluten-free for GF eaters)
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed fresh basil (chopped)
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed chopped sun-dried tomatoes (dry, not in oil)
  • 1/3 cup vegan parmesan cheese (plus more for topping)
  • 1 pinch each sea salt and red pepper flakes (plus more to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano (optional // or 2 Tbsp freshly chopped oregano per 1 Tbsp dried)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas* (drained, rinsed and dried)



  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C) and prepare flax egg in your food processor or high speed blender.
  • Heat a large metal or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add half of the olive oil (1 Tbsp or 15 ml as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) and minced garlic. Sauté until slightly browned, stirring often – about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly, then add to food processor or blender with flax egg.
  • Next add panko bread crumbs, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, vegan parmesan cheese, salt + red pepper flakes, dried oregano, and 1 Tbsp olive oil (15 ml). Pulse/blend until small bits remain, scraping down sides as needed.
  • Next add rinsed/dried chickpeas (see notes for tempeh) and blend/pulse until a moldable “dough” is formed, scraping down sides as needed. You don’t want the chickpeas to turn into a paste, but you also don’t want any left whole.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. I added a bit more basil, salt, and panko bread crumbs.
  • Scoop out rounded 1 Tbsp amounts of dough (I used this 1.5 Tbsp scoop from Amazon) and gently form/roll into balls – about 15 total (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). Then roll in additional vegan parmesan cheese-panko bread crumb mixture to coat (see photo).
  • Heat the same skillet you used earlier over medium heat. Once hot, add enough olive oil to form a thin layer on the bottom of the skillet (~2 Tbsp | 30 ml), then add meatballs in two batches, as to not crowd the pan. Add more oil as needed.
  • Brown for about 5 minutes total, shaking the pan to roll them around to brown all sides. Turn down heat slightly if browning too quickly.
  • Add sautéed meatballs to a bare baking sheet and transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  • At this time, prep any pasta you want to serve with your meatballs, as well as your favorite marinara sauce (I love this sauce, warmed up in a saucepan).
  • Once meatballs are golden brown and fairly firm to the touch, remove from oven. Let cool briefly before serving. They will firm up the longer they cool.
  • To serve, top cooked pasta with marinara sauce and desired number of meatballs. Top with another sprinkle of vegan parmesan cheese and fresh basil (optional).
  • Leftover meatballs will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, though best when fresh. Reheat in a 350 degree F oven until warmed through, or in the microwave.
  • To freeze, sauté meatballs as instructed, then transfer to a baking sheet and freeze until completely firm. Then transfer to a freezer safe bag or airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 1 month. Reheat in a 350-degree F (176 C) oven until completely warmed through.


*Adapted from my Simple Vegan Meatballs.
*Instead of using chickpeas, you can substitute tempeh, though it does impart a slightly bitter flavor. To prepare, slice your 8-ounce (227 g) tempeh block into quarter-inch slices and place in a small saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Steam/simmer for 10 minutes, then drain and pat dry. Proceed through recipe as instructed, adding the tempeh where I list adding the chickpeas. (Tempeh method adapted from The Kitchn.)
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without extra sides or toppings.

Nutrition (1 of 15 servings)

Serving: 1 meatballs Calories: 73 Carbohydrates: 8.1 g Protein: 2.7 g Fat: 3.5 g Saturated Fat: 0.6 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 103 mg Fiber: 0.8 g Sugar: 1.4 g

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My Rating:

  1. Jessie says

    I’ve been making this recipe for a few years now and it is always amazing. I serve it with GF pasta and MB marinara sauce- drool worthy! Preps well earlier in the day so that it’s not as much clean up come dinner time too. Thanks so much for such a great recipe!

  2. Albert says

    This recipe is THE BOMB. These meatballs are drool-inducingly scrumptious and, in my many years as a vegan, literally the only whole-food (as opposed to processed, e.g. the Impossible Burger®) faux-meat dish I’ve ever had that I really think would fool meat eaters if they didn’t know. Paired with homemade marinara sauce over pasta, this recipe will be one of my all-time go-tos for years and years to come – thank you so much! (PS I make it using steamed tempeh, as per the recipe, and using 3½ tablespoons of Just Eggs® instead of the flax egg substitute.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Whoop! We’re so glad you enjoy the recipe, Albert. Thank you for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications! xo

  3. Lauralee says

    We ate these with the Lemony Risotto. We liked both, but these were the star. I will definitely have to make more than one batch the next time I make them, because we ate them all!

  4. Stephanie says

    Delicious! Used one egg instead of flax seed, other than that followed the recipe exactly. Great flavor, quick and easy.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Stephanie! Thank you for the lovely review and for sharing your modification!

  5. Cass says

    We substituted Fava Beans from our pantry and they worked a treat.
    My top tip, when rolling the meatballs to crumb, roll the ball straight away in the crumb so it sticks, we found the crumb did not stick well.
    Taste was great, we can’t wait to make it again!

  6. Lili says

    Hello Dana,
    I am a big fan of your recipes and will be making these meatballs with your recipe for a marinara sauce. Quick question – if I wanted to use a real egg instead of the flax egg, do you think would work? Thank you!

  7. Meredith says

    These were great, I probably would have thought they were meat if I didn’t make them myself. (I’m not vegetarian but make a lot of meatless meals.) I used regular egg and grated parmesan which worked well. My only issue was getting the parm/breadcrumbs to stick to the meatballs. Spraying with cooking spray didn’t help much, any tips?

  8. Mika says

    These are awesome! I love them every time I make them. We are trying to get my dad to eat more plants and I’m going to try these out on him. He loves Italian food so the flavor profile is right up his alley with some spaghetti and marinara.

  9. Holly says

    These were great! The taste was fantastic, it was hard not to just eat the dough. They came out a little soft and flattened a bit in the oven, but I wasn’t very careful with measuring–next time I will be more careful to add less moisture/oil.

    I made all of the following substitutions and things still worked out:
    -I used oil-packed tomatoes and skipped adding the extra olive oil–they wound up being a bit soft so maybe I overdid it.
    -Didn’t have fresh basil so I just used a bunch of dried italian spices and I think the taste didn’t suffer.
    -Normal parmesan instead of vegan parmesan.
    -Egg replacer instead of flax egg.
    -Added a splash of lemon juice because I felt like they lacked acidity.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for sharing, Holly! We’re 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

  10. Allison Padovani says

    Hey Dana, great recipe and thank you! I just have one question: are the meatballs supposed to be mushy in the center? I got them nice and crispy on the outside, but they don’t seem to be cooking all the way through. I put them in the oven for the recommended 15 minutes, then an additional total of 13 min – and still mushy in the middle! Thanks!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      The good thing about vegan meatballs is it’s totally fine if they don’t cook all the way through. But to get them more cooked through, transfer to the a 350 F oven and bake for 15-20 minutes!

      • Allison Padovani says

        Thank you for the tip! I made the meatballs for Christmas Eve, and everyone loved them (even the staunch meat eaters)!

  11. sandra forte says

    YUMMY! Love, love, love these, So easy and an absolute winner of a recipe….score of 10 out of 10 from the entire family! Thanks again Dana….your recipes are sensational

  12. AlexT says

    Made these tonight and the whole family loved them! Not really difficult to make, and I actually succeeded in making and browning them better than regular meatballs back in the days. We don’t eat meat but we do eat eggs, so I used a whole egg in the food processor, and then a second one to roll the balls in before rolling them in the panko/parmesan mix. Delicious!!! Thank you for yet another successful recipe!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Lauren, we haven’t tried it that way and assume it would pretty significantly affect the texture. If you give it a try let us know how it goes!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      That should work, but it will probably make the texture more wet, so compensate as needed with more dry ingredients.

  13. Emma says

    This sounds yum & I have some sun dried toms to use up. My tummy hates too many chick peas tho so I’m gonna experiment with a different bean I think ?

    Has anyone used a different bean or lentils??

    • Natasha S says

      I’ve used cannelloni brand in a different “meatball” recipe. It also has mushrooms. Super yummy!

  14. Sandra Lucas says

    This is an excellent meatball compared to any I’ve tried in the past. It sticks together nicely and has a great taste. I used dry chickpeas that I soaked for half a day and the rest was as your recipe. I’ve found your recipes never fail and I’m happy to be able to say that!

  15. Patricia Battaglia says

    I made these using dried herbs – parelsy and oregano along with the basil – and it worked just fine. That was what I had on hand. I’m sure they’ll be amazing with fresh basil next time I make them…and there WILL be a next time! I skipped using the frying pan (did not saute the garlic) and cooked them in my air fryer at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. They turned out perfectly. This recipe’s a keeper!

  16. Rae says

    I love your site and have made so many wonderful things! I am interested in making this for my picky toddler. Apparently ball shaped goods are out of favor with him and I was wondering if you think they’d work well if I used a cookie cutter to make them into small patties? Thanks!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Rae, we haven’t tried it, but think this would work! If you give it a try, we would love to hear how it goes!

  17. Jana says

    Hello, this looks amazing, and I think this would be nice autumn warming dish for me so I want to try it, but it is not clear for me what chickpeas is used for the recipe – canned, cooked, or soaked uncooked…? Somehow lost in it.
    Thank you. Jana

  18. Elise says

    These were so amazing. I am currently transitioning to being vegan and these “meatballs” hit the spot. My husband who still eats meat and my toddler approved. I did not include the parm and I used sundried tomatoes in oil and they turned out perfectly! These will be a staple and I think I will double the recipie next time so I can freeze for a quick meal later!

  19. Rebeka says

    Absolutely amazing!!! Keep making them tie and time again, they are so versatile and so tasty!
    Thanks for the great recipe :)

  20. Lamorenix says

    Made these tonite for May meatless Monday and everyone love them. I am sooo full right now :) ( added walnuts and my basil was dried as I had run out of fresh, still great!)

  21. Patty says

    Dana, I don’t know how you do it, but THANK YOU! These are SO good. I served with spaghetti squash and marinara. The leftovers that were stored with the squash stayed firm and didn’t fall apart like one would expect. I was pressed for time so only dredged half in the oil and panko and the naked ones were just as good. A tip for others, save your empty nooch jar to use to store the vegan Parmesan recipe so you’ll never be without it and it already has the convenient shake top :-)

  22. stephanie says

    do you think these would pair well with your spaghetti squash pesto recipe?? i was looking for something to add to that :)

  23. Brian Skillings says

    I made them today, tried one by itself before I went out to run errands, delicious! When I came back home the house smelled awesome, like when I worked in an Italian kitchen.

  24. Chloe says

    This recipe is fantastic. I was looking for a vegetarian meatball recipe after I went to the restaurant Meatballs For the People in Stockholm. These meatballs taste exactly like the ones I had at the restaurant! I did use real Parmesan though. I don’t think I can have spaghetti without these ever again!

  25. Camille says

    This is my second comment, but I made a small change this time. Instead of flax egg, I whipped up some Aquafaba from the can of chickpeas to the consistency of egg whites and added about 2 tblsp. Before rolling the balls in the panko, I dipped them in the remaining whipped aquafaba and the panko stuck a lot better. And I didn’t have to go to the store for flax meal! My husband and I still really like these!

  26. Jazimine says

    I made this last night and it turned out pretty good. My pescatarian husband loved it! My daughter said it was good but too spicy (I used more red pepper flakes than the recipe called for). My blender kinda broke down on me so I had to put the ingredients in A plastic bag and mush it with a ? hammer. Lol Fortunately I was able to make the mixture into a ball and achieve success! I suggest to only use a pinch of red pepper flakes as directed, or it will be very spicy! Also roll the balls around as suggested versus letting it cook a bit and using tongs to flip. This is a great easy alternative to processed veggie meatballs!!!

  27. Anjelica says

    Made these tonight and they were amazing! Everyone even meat eaters would enjoy them. Thanks for the awesome recipes!

  28. Camille says

    Made these this weekend and they were great! I might add a few more sundried tomatoes and basil next time, but this is a great recipe and I can’t wait to make them again!