15 Meatless Meatballs for Easy Dinners
Meatballs are a staple for a variety of dishes, from spaghetti to slow cooker appetizers, and just because you're avoiding meat doesn't mean you have to miss out. These 15 vegetarian meatball recipes utilize plant-based ingredients like mushrooms, beans, and eggplant to create a chewy texture and savory flavor. Toss your meatless meatballs in marinara, simmer in sweet and sour sauce, or just stick a toothpick in them and serve as appetizers.
Note: Many varieties of cheese, including classic meatball choices like Parmesan and Pecorino Romano, aren't vegetarian due to the use of rennet, an animal-derived firming agent. You can find vegetarian-specific cheeses by contacting the company and asking about their processes, or choosing from this helpful list.
Chef John's Meatless Meatballs
"Thanks to a thorough browning, mushrooms provide more than enough savoriness," says recipe creator Chef John. "What really blew me away was how close the texture was to actual meatballs. They are officially approved for use on spaghetti!""
Sweet and Sour Faux Meat Balls
Made with a mixture of pecans, breadcrumbs, cheese, and eggs, these hearty meatballs are ready for tossing in a tangy sweet and sour sauce. Don't forget to serve over some rice!
Chickpea Vegetarian Meatballs
Reviewer Meg says, "After I made these, they were sitting on my stove cooking off and my husband walked over ate half of them... after about four he realized they were meat-free. Needless to say they were a hit, will definitely make them again."
Vegetarian Eggplant Meatballs
Sweet and Sour Vegetarian Meatballs
A classic potluck dish, the tangy sauce is made from a combination of grape jelly and chili sauce. This recipe's meatless meatballs will hold up to a quick toss in the sauce, thanks to a crispy coating from deep trying.
Erin's Veggie Meatballs
Vegetarian Sweet and Sour Meatballs
Apricot jam and ketchup are the secret ingredients to this sweet and sour sauce. Serve the coated meatballs over noodles, rice, or alone as an appetizer.
Aunt Mary's Eggplant Balls
You only need a handful of basic ingredients to whip up these eggplant meatballs. Reviewer NDOMMEL offers this advice, "A little messy to make into balls at first, but with my trusty ice cream scooper it got a whole lot easier!"
"Great tasting non-meatballs for spaghetti or served with a rich veggie gravy," says recipe creator Stephanie H. Jones. "If you don't have any egg substitute on hand, you can use 2 beaten eggs in its place."
Vegan Spaghetti and (Beyond) Meatballs
In this recipe Beyond Meat's Beyond Beef product is dressed up with breadcrumbs and spices to create vegan meatballs. Simmered in a homemade sauce, they're perfect for serving over a pile of spaghetti.
Zesty Vegetarian Sweet and Sour Meatballs
Grounds pecans, cheese, and cornflakes are the odd trio that create these zippy meatless meatballs.
Spaghetti and Meatless Meatballs
"This spaghetti recipe is perfect for those who've chosen to not eat meat," says recipe creator thedailygourmet. "The mixture can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 24 hours, or frozen for up to a few months until ready to use."
Jean's Swedish Faux Meatballs
Creamy and rich, these meatless Swedish meatballs are tossed in a decadent sauce. Don't skip the nutmeg; it's key to giving the dish its distinctive taste.
Ricotta Meatless Meatballs with Sauce
Recipe creator Kim's Cooking Now says, "'Polpette di ricotta al sugo,' as these are known in Italian, are meatless balls made out of ricotta cheese and homemade bread crumbs. Think meatballs, but without the meat! The soft balls are then simmered in a simple homemade tomato sauce."