These deliciously textured ‘meaty’ vegan meatballs are firm but tender, packed with flavor and hold their shape perfectly in a sauce!
These vegan meatballs pack a ‘meaty’ punch. Hahaha, don’t worry you won’t be mistaking these for actual ‘meat’ but they definitely have a ‘meaty’ taste and texture and that is the point really since they’re meatballs!
We tried these out on my sister and her partner when they visited and they really liked them even though our first crack at this recipe resulted in a perfect texture but far too bland a taste. So with their feedback we ramped up the spices and then we had perfect meatballs.
They’re really easy to make as well and even though they are made with seitan (aka vital wheat gluten, which is what creates the chewy ‘meaty’ texture) they don’t require any kneading at all and are just mixed and then baked.
How To Make Vegan Meatballs
- So they are really easy to make actually! Just drain some chickpeas and add them to a mixing bowl and mash them with a fork.
- Then add walnuts to the food processor and process them into crumbs and add those crumbs in with the mashed chickpeas. Add some finely chopped onion and crushed garlic too.
- Then add nutritional yeast, soy sauce, tomato paste, hoisin sauce, dijon mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, cumin, coriander powder, dried oregano, smoked paprika and liquid smoke to the mixing bowl and mix everything together.
- Add vegetable stock and mix in.
- Then add vital wheat gluten and stir it into a very thick batter. Don’t stir too much, as that will start to change the texture of your vital wheat gluten, so you just want to stir it in until just mixed.
- Use a tablespoon measure and scoop heaped tablespoons of the batter and then roll into a ball and place onto a parchment lined baking tray. Aim for 36 meatballs.
- Place into the oven and bake for 30 minutes turning it over at the 15 minute mark and then baking for another 15 minutes until browned and crispy on both sides.
- Then you’re ready to serve them as is, or serve them in a sauce!
Vital Wheat Gluten
Vital wheat gluten is the crucial ingredient in these meatballs. They are the ‘seitan’ part of the meatballs. Vital wheat gluten is essentially pure gluten powder, so of course it’s not at all suitable for those on a gluten free diet!
The vital wheat gluten provides the chewy, meaty texture to these meatballs and there isn’t a substitute for it in this recipe. However, if you are gluten-free and you’d like a gluten-free alternative, then this recipe from Minimalist Baker is a winner.
How To Serve Vegan Meatballs
You can serve them as they are, maybe with some ketchup or barbecue sauce for dipping and they’re very delicious as is.
Alternatively you can heat up some marinara sauce and place the meatballs into the sauce, top with some chopped parsley and serve them like that or over spaghetti along with some vegan parmesan cheese!
Can You Freeze Vegan Meatballs?
Yes! Just like with all seitan recipes, these vegan meatballs freeze very well. You can either freeze them after baking (and cooling) or before. If you freeze them before they bake, then you’ll need to bake them a bit longer so that they’re heated through and browned on the outside.
If you freeze them after baking, then let them cool first and then freeze and when you’re ready for them, let them thaw in the fridge overnight and then reheat them as you like.
More Vegan ‘Meat’ Recipes
- 15 ounce Can Chickpeas Drained
- 1 cup Walnuts (100g)
- 1 Medium Onion White, Yellow or Brown, Finely Chopped
- 1 tsp Crushed Garlic
- 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast (15g)
- 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
- 1/2 cup Tomato Paste (130g)
- 1 tsp Hoisin Sauce
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Cumin
- 1/4 tsp Ground Coriander
- 1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
- 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1/4 tsp Liquid Smoke
- 3/4 cup Vegetable Stock (180ml)
- 1 and 1/2 cups Vital Wheat Gluten (225g)
- Add the drained chickpeas to your mixing bowl and mash with a fork.
- Add the walnuts to the food processor and process into crumbs. Add in with the chickpeas in the mixing bowl.
- Add the chopped onion and garlic.
- Add the nutritional yeast, soy sauce, tomato paste, hoisin sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, cumin, coriander powder, oregano, smoked paprika and liquid smoke and mix together.
- Add the vegetable stock and mix in.
- Add the vital wheat gluten and mix in. The mix will be very thick. Don't overmix as this will cause the gluten to become more tough and chewy, just mix it until mixed and then stop mixing.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and scoop the meatballs onto a parchment lined baking tray, using a heaped tablespoon measure and then rolling into balls. Aim for 36 meatballs.
- Bake for 15 minutes and then flip the meatballs and bake for another 15 until they're browned and crispy on both sides.
- Serve right away with ketchup or barbecue sauce or if you want to serve them in a marinara sauce then heat up your marinara sauce and then add the meatballs to the sauce and serve over spaghetti.
- Keep leftovers in the fridge and enjoy over the next 3-4 days.
- Weigh the vital wheat gluten on a food scale for best results in this recipe. If using only the cup method then this is based on a packed cup.
- Vital wheat gluten is a crucial ingredient in these meatballs and can't be replaced with regular flour. This is also the reason that these vegan meatballs don't adapt to gluten-free at all.