These vegan meatballs are so delicious and chocked full of flavor, you’d never guess they were also full of nutrition. So delicious served over a big plate of spaghetti marinara.
Or on a saucy vegan meatball sub. Oh yes.
These healthy meatballs have everything a good vegan meatball needs: just right spices, texture, moisture (without being mushy), and, as a bonus, surprising little flecks of flavor from sun-dried tomatoes. I’m usually way more excited about sharing sweet treats, but these lentil quinoa meatballs are like a savory sensory party in your mouth. I can’t wait for you to try them.
I don’t always hit the mark with my bean ball creations. A couple of months ago, I decided to use up some navy beans I had cooked up in my slow cooker. I thought, I’ll make some kind of yummy bean nuggets! Great idea, but oh boy were they terrible. Bland, no texture variation, and a bit dry. My husband pushed his around his plate until finally I said, you don’t have to eat them! I’ve never seen a person so relieved. Haha. I’d like to think I’ve learned a thing or two from my past failed vegan bean ball attempts.
My husband and daughter loved these meatballs. If I can serve something 3 times in a row, and everyone eats it with no complaints, that’s a pretty good sign. We loved them in a vegan meatball sub with plenty of marinara sauce and homemade vegan mozzarella from Vedged Out (it’s so good!).
Another plus? I used red lentils and red quinoa, which are so quick to cook up, meaning I can make these babies from scratch in an hour or less. It makes a large batch, so we had enough for 3 dinners. Score!
These gluten free and vegan meatballs are loaded with lots of protein, fiber, and iron. You can make them completely oil free by baking instead of pan frying. Enjoy them in subs, on pasta, or switch up the spices and slather them in barbecue sauce. I drenched them in an Asian inspired barbecue sauce I threw together the other day and served them over vegan fried rice. The possibilities are endless!
Vegan Lentil Quinoa Hemp Seed Meatballs
Makes approximately 14 meatballs
- 1 cup cooked red lentils, drained well
- 1/2 cup cooked quinoa (I used red quinoa, but any variety should work)
- 3 tbsp sun dried tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tbsp ground flax seed
- 2 -3 tbsp hulled/shelled hemp seeds*
- 1 tbsp oat flour
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast**
- 1 tsp oregano, or to taste
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp sea salt, or to taste
- 1/8 tsp black pepper, or to taste
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup gluten free bread crumbs or Panko bread crumbs
Combine all ingredients except bread crumbs in a food processor and pulse about 6 -8 times, until combined. Don’t over mix. Add the breadcrumbs to a shallow bowl. Use a tablespoon to scoop out the bean mixture and use your hand to mold into a ball. You can’t really roll them in your hand; gently shape them. Then, coat the bean balls in the crumbs by gently pressing, rolling them into the crumbs.
Pan Fry Method: Add about 1 1/2 tbsp of coconut oil to a skillet and heat over medium heat until a crumb tossed in the oil sizzles immediately on contact. Add the bean balls and cook, turning over every 30 seconds until golden and heated through.
Baked: Pre-heat oven to 400 F. Place meatballs on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Spritz lightly with cooking oil, if desired (I like this avocado oil spray, which doesn’t use chemical propellants)
Notes and Substitutions:
* Shelled hemp seeds are also known as hemp hearts. You can leave the hemp seeds out, or substitute with ground almonds, sunflower seeds, or whole chia seeds.
**The nutritional yeast is for additional flavor, if you don’t have it feel free to leave it out. I think it adds another subtle layer of savory flavor.
Add a few pinches of red pepper flakes for a spicy meatball!