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Easy Vegan Meatballs

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These Easy Vegan Meatballs can be made with marinara sauce and served as a spaghetti and meatball main dish. Another option is to coat them with bbq sauce and serve as an appetizer. Whichever way you decide to make them, they’re going to be a hit!

vegan meatballs in cast iron pan with fork on white background

If you’ve been looking for a hearty and filling vegan meatball recipe that is so versatile that it can be used in many different recipes, look no further!

We love these vegan meatballs because they’re…

  • Smokey
  • Full of flavor
  • Firm and not mushy
  • Perfect for spaghetti or appetizers
  • Wholesome
  • Delicious

From vegan meatloaf to meatballs

This recipe was inspired by my No-Meat Loaf recipe. One day while I was making the no-meat loaf, I happened to notice that the firm consistency of it reminded me of meatballs due to the bulgur used. I decided to give it a try, and I’m so glad that I did.

vegan meatball on fork

Getting that firm texture

The bulgur gives these veggie balls a great firm texture that will work great in a number of different ways.

Bulgur is a whole wheat grain that is cooked exactly like rice in about 15 minutes. I like to make a big batch of it in my rice cooker and freeze it for use in recipes like this one, spaghetti, lasagna, and nachos.

This amazing grain adds a ground beef texture and soaks up flavors of dishes you’re preparing.

wooden spoon with cooked bulgur beside wooden spoon with uncooked bulgur

Whether used with barbecue sauce as an appetizer or with marinara for spaghetti and no meatballs, these meatless meatballs hold together very well.

They are terrific served with marinara and pasta, alongside a salad and crusty bread. Other times I bake them with barbecue sauce, and we have them as an appetizer.

vegan meatballs on cooked pasta on white wooden table

How to make vegan meatballs

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with parchment paper.

Begin by cooking the bulgur according to package directions. It cooks on the stove or in a rice cooker in about 15-minutes.

Though it calls for bulgur, a number of people have told me that they’ve subbed with buckwheat groats, quinoa, brown rice, and barley and it still comes out good.

Dice the veggies–onion, garlic, celery, bell pepper, carrots, and walnuts. One tip here is that a blender or food processor makes it easy to make bread crumbs. It’s also great for chopping the walnuts.

diced vegetables on cutting board

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl (including the fully-cooked bulgur). Mix with a spoon, or do like I do and use your hands to mix thoroughly.

oats, breadcrumbs, bulgur, and veggies in stainless bowl

Form into balls and place on a baking sheet. If the mixture seems too wet, add a few more oats. If it seems too dry, add a little bit of the juice drained from tomatoes or water. These should hold together to form balls pretty well.

vegan meatballs on a baking sheet

Bake at 350°F for approximately 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Cover with marinara and serve over pasta or on subs. Or drizzle barbecue sauce over top and bake an additional 15 minutes to serve as an appetizer.

If you like them really firm, I suggest refrigerating them once they are cooked so they have more time to set up. When they are reheated, the texture is even denser.

vegan spaghetti with meatballs in dish on wooden table

*Originally published June 2015.

Italian Vegan Meatball Sandwich

This delightfully messy vegan meatball sandwich is great for dinner, parties, and game-day food. It’s such a versatile meatless marinara sandwich, even kids love it!

Vegan Meatball Sandwich on brown paper
Vegan Meatball Italian Sub

If you like parmesan cheese, I have a terrific easy recipe for you to try out.

Making homemade vegan parmesan cheese is surprisingly easy and only requires a handful of ingredients. It keeps for months, so you’ll have it available to sprinkle on any and everything.

parmesan on wooden table with pasta
Homemade Vegan Parmesan

BBQ sauce options

Whether served as an appetizer, main dish, or on a sub sandwich, these fabulous veggie barbecue balls will be a hit! Last week, I took a batch to a company dinner and a family reunion, and they got rave reviews!

There are so many dishes that could use a great barbecue sauce to enhance the flavors. With its sweet smoky flavor, a good bbq sauce can transform a bland recipe into a culinary masterpiece. This 8-ingredient Healthy BBQ Sauce Recipe can do just that!

vegan bbq sauce in mason jar on silver plate

If you are looking for a premade barbecue sauce, we love this oil-free Bone Suckin’ Sauce.

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Other great bulgur recipes to try

vegan meatballs in cast iron pan with fork on white background

Vegan Meat Balls

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Whether served as an appetizer, main dish, or on a sub sandwich, these fabulous veggie barbecue balls will be a hit! Last week, I took a batch to a company dinner and a family reunion, and they got rave reviews!

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Line a large baking pan with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350. Parchment paper makes clean up so much easier with this recipe.
  2. Cook bulgur according to package directions. It cooks on the stovetop or in a rice cooker in about 15-minutes.
  3. Dice all veggies--onion, garlic, celery, bell pepper, and walnuts.
  4. Mix all ingredients in a very large bowl. You can use a spoon, but I prefer to use my hands to thoroughly blend ingredients.
  5. Form into balls and place on a baking sheet. If the mixture seems too wet, add a few more oats. If it seems too dry, add a little bit of the juice drained from tomatoes or water. These should hold together to form balls pretty well.
  6. Bake at 350°F for approximately 25-30 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Cover with marinara and serve over pasta or on subs. Or drizzle barbecue sauce over top and bake an additional 10-15 minutes to serve as an appetizer.
  8. If you like them really firm, I suggest refrigerating them once they are cooked so they have more time to set up. When they are reheated, the texture is even denser.

Notes

Though it calls for bulgur, a number of people have told me that they've subbed with buckwheat groats, quinoa, brown rice, and barley and it still comes out good.

Detailed instructions, in-process photos, and my personal helpful tips can be found in the article above.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 273Total Fat: 5.3gCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 11gProtein: 10.2g

To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

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Mary Carter

Wednesday 15th of April 2020

How much garlic is used? I see it in the instructions and I noticed it in the photos but I don't see it in the list of ingredients. I just made these today and didn't add any. I haven't eaten any yet because I plan on adding marinara sauce tomorrow and have them with pasta.

I'm sure they would be better with some garlic so let me know how much so I can add it next time,

Terri Edwards

Wednesday 15th of April 2020

Hi Mary- Good catch on that! I like to add two cloves of minced garlic.

Dolores Jones

Wednesday 17th of July 2019

I made these today and they are so good. Thank you for another great recipe. Dolores Jones

EatPlant-Based.com

Wednesday 17th of July 2019

Oh, that's so great! I'm glad you like the meatballs. Thank you SO much for letting me know.

Hilary Haney

Wednesday 17th of October 2018

Would this work with farro?

EatPlant-Based.com

Wednesday 17th of October 2018

I haven't tried it with farro, but it would definitely be worth a try. I think it could work just fine.

Jo-Ellen

Tuesday 28th of August 2018

I love these!! We have made many, many batches, and have several batches in the freezer. We freeze them after the first baking. When we take them out of the freezer, we bake them for 15+ more or BBQ them. Delicious either way!

Deb

Sunday 24th of June 2018

Please change your ingredient list to remove confusion. Instead of "2 cups bulgur, cooked" it should say 2 cups of cooked bulgur.

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