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You won’t miss the meat in these vegan meatballs! Made with chickpeas and walnuts, they are full of flavor and make for a hearty meat-free meal. Serve with your favorite marinara sauce over spaghetti for a real comfort meal the whole family will enjoy.
Ingredients for vegan meatballs
- Chickpeas: Chickpeas provide the ‘meat’ in these meatballs. Full of fiber and protein, they make them really filling.
- Walnuts: Walnuts add a great texture and flavor to these meat-free meatballs and are a great source of Omega 3s and antioxidants.
- Flaxseed: Flaxseed helps to bind the ingredients together. It contains healthy fats, fiber and antioxidants.
- Rolled Oats and Italian Breadcrumbs: The oats and breadcrumbs help to soak up any extra moisture in the balls and add flavor and texture.
- Onion and Garlic: No meatball is complete without fresh onion and garlic for flavor.
- Seasonings: Soy sauce, tomato paste, Italian seasoning and salt.
How do you make vegan meatballs
- Place the flaxseed and water in a small bowl, mix and let stand for 5 minutes to allow it to thicken.
- Add all the ingredients to the food processor along with the flaxseed mixture, and blend until well combined with a paste-like texture.
- Form the meatballs and place them on a prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 30 minutes turning halfway through.
Transfer the meatballs to a skillet with the heated marinara sauce and lightly stir together to combine. Serve over spaghetti.
Tips for making vegan meatballs
- Swap the flaxseed with chia seeds if you prefer. It will allow the mixture to bind more easily, so I definitely recommend keeping at least one of them in the recipe.
- Fry the meatballs or air fry them for more crispy texture. Be sure to use a nonstick pan if you’re shallow frying as the mixture may stick to the pan.
- Make them more dense by adding mushrooms. Mushrooms have a great meaty texture and can easily be added to get a more springy texture. You can use up to 8 ounces.
- Add the meatballs in the marinara just before serving. Otherwise the texture of the meatballs may soften as it soaks up the liquid from the marinara sauce.
Frequently asked questions
This recipe makes a batch of about 18 meatballs, so they are a great option for make ahead meals and prep. Once cooled, you can store them in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge. You can reheat them in the oven before stirring into the marinara sauce.
Yes! These chickpea meatballs freeze really well! Freeze them on a baking sheet, and then once solid you can transfer them to a freezer bag or container. Defrost them in the fridge overnight before reheating in the oven.
These meatballs contain breadcrumbs and soy sauce, but with a couple of tweaks you can make these gluten-free friendly. Swap the breadcrumbs for almond flour and use tamari rather than soy sauce. Serve over your favorite gluten-free pasta.
More vegan dinner ideas
- Vegan Creamy Tomato Pasta
- Vegan Buddha Bowl
- Corn Chowder
- Vegan Macaroni Salad
- Chickpea Fritters with Ratatouille
If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Vegan Meatballs recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!
- 2 tablespoons flaxseed + 5 tablespoons water
- 1 15- ounce can chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 1 cup walnuts
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ¾ cup Italian breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ small onion
- 1-2 garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 25 ounces marinara sauce for serving
- 1 pound spaghetti for serving
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the flaxseed and water in a small bowl, mix and let stand for 5 minutes.
- Add all the ingredients to the food processor along with the flaxseed mixture, and blend until well combined. You can also place the ingredients in a large bowl and blend using an immersion blender, potato masher or fork.
- Form the meatballs with your hands, or by using a medium cookie scoop, which yields about 18-20 meatballs. Place them on the prepared baking sheet and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, turning the meatballs halfway through.
- Transfer the meatballs to a skillet with the heated marinara sauce and lightly stir together to combine. Serve over spaghetti, if desired.
- Instead of fresh onions and garlic, you can use onion powder and garlic powder.
- To make it gluten-free, use almond flour instead of breadcrumbs and tamari instead of soy sauce.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.
Ok, these are unbelievably delicious! I accidentally added sundried tomatoes because I mixed up this recipe with your recipe for chickpea burgers..also some fresh parsley. Yum! 😊
Thank you! Sounds like it still turned out good though!
So yummy!! First time making vegan meatballs and this recipe did not disappoint! They were a hit with my husband too and he’s a tough crowd when it comes to vegan recipes. We’re not vegan but will try recipes every once in a while for balance (we added parm – YUM!). Will definitely be making these again 👌🏽
I’m so glad you both gave it a try and enjoyed it! Thank you!!
If you are not vegan, can you replace the flaxseed egg with actual egg? What would you recommend as to quantity if so?
I would just do one egg instead of the flax egg.
If you’re looking for a meatless option, then this is your recipe. Tastes great. I oven baked my meatballs and they turned out fine.
These were outstanding! I had almost given up on finding a really good vegan meatball recipe when I saw this one. It’s so good! Really stands up to the flavor and texture I remember growing up, (and I had meatballs A LOT). My mom was 100% Italian/American, and making meatballs used to take her all day over the weekend. I used this mixture to replicate as closely as possible the way she used to make her meatballs, and I couldn’t believe how well they came out! After they had cooked in the sauce for awhile, I’m not sure if even a big meat-ball eater would have been able to tell the difference! Really impressed.. THANK YOU!!
I’m so glad to hear you loved the vegan meatballs!! Took me a few tries to get the right taste and consistency, so I’m very happy to hear that!! Thank you!
They were stellar 🙂 Now I just need a good Swedish Meatball recipe *hint hint*. Thanks again!!