Easy to make and full of flavor, these vegan meatballs are made with a base of lentils and mushrooms for a simple dinner. Serve over your favorite spaghetti with plenty of fresh basil.
Whether or not you follow a plant based diet, these vegan meatballs are seriously SO good. Even though these aren’t technically ‘meat’balls, (they’re made with lentils and mushrooms after all) they’re still bursting with fresh herbs like parsley and basil, lots of onion and garlic (it wouldn’t be an Eat With Clarity recipe without loooots of that).
Plus, they’re really easy to make with simple ingredients you most likely have on hand already and made entirely from scratch.
Freezer friendly, easy to make, naturally gluten free with nut free options and plenty of variations to meet your needs. Grab a glass of your favorite red wine and let’s start cooking!
How to make this recipe
Cook the lentils according to package instructions and set aside to cool. Cook in vegetable broth for extra flavor if desired.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Roughly chop the onion, mince the garlic and add to a large pan with the oil.
Saute for about 5-7 minutes or until golden lightly brown. Add in the mushrooms and cook down for 5 or so minutes or until softened.
Add to a food processor with all remaining ingredients and pulse until combined. You don’t want it too mushy, but definitely soft and kind of meatbally looking. If the mixture looks too wet, add in more oats until easy to handle. It should be firm, but not dry.
Taste and adjust any seasonings as desired. I usually add extra basil, but it’s up to you!
Use a spoon or a cookie scoop (my preference) to form into balls. Add to a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Don’t worry if they aren’t perfect circles, we can reshape in a second!
Brush the tops with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes, carefully re-shape with your hands as needed and flip over.
Bake an additional 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
You can then enjoy as is with pasta & sauce or transfer to pan and lightly saute with olive oil, then top with sauce and let simmer. Enjoy!
I always go with the classic spaghetti and meatballs, but you can also use this in a sandwich or just served on their own with sauce! However you have them, I love a generous sprinkle of cashew parmesan and plenty of fresh basil on top.
If mushrooms aren’t your thing, you can sub for an additional ¾ cup of cooked lentils, so use 2 cups of cooked lentils in total and omit the mushrooms entirely. You can also add in some walnuts if you like more texture. Vegan meatballs are very versatile, so feel free to swap where you see fit!
As far as the lentils go, you can use either green or brown for this recipe but I do not recommend using red. Red lentils are much softer/mushier than green or brown, so stick with those for best results!
Do they keep? Yes! Once prepared, these vegan meatballs will keep in the fridge for about 3-4 days. I suggest storing them plain (without sauce) so they don’t get mushy. Then you can easily reheat them in the oven or on the stove with a bit of oil, then add your sauce!
Can I freeze vegan meatballs? Yes! Before adding any sauce to the cooked meatballs, let them cool then transfer to an air tight container or freezer safe bag. Freeze for up to 2 months. You can then reheat them in the oven or on the stove with a bit of oil.
Are they gluten free? Yes! All of my recipes are actually! I used gluten free breadcrumbs, but you can use regular breadcrumbs if you are not gluten free.
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Vegan Lentil Meatballs
- 1 ¼ cups cooked green lentils (about ½ cup uncooked)
- 8 ounces mushrooms (I used baby bella)
- 1 medium/large yellow onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- ¼ cup homemade cashew parmesan (click for recipe)
- ¼ cup fresh parsley
- ¼ cup fresh basil
- 4 tsp Italian seasoning
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes (see notes)
- ¾ cup (gluten free) breadcrumbs
- ⅔ cup almond flour
- Cook the lentils according to package instructions and set aside to cool. Cook in vegetable broth for extra flavor if desired.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Roughly chop the onion, mince the garlic and add to a large pan with the oil.
- Saute for about 5-7 minutes or until golden lightly brown.
- Add in the mushrooms and cook down for 5-10 minutes or until softened.
- Add to a food processor with all remaining ingredients and pulse until combined. Careful not to over mix, you want to retain some texture so it's meaty. If the mixture looks too wet, add in more flour or breadcrumbs until easy to handle (you can also add in about 1 tablespoon of cornstarch or another starch to absorb more moisture). It should be firm, but not dry.
- Taste and adjust any seasonings as desired. I usually add extra basil, but it's up to you! Keep in mind the flavors will deepen as they bake.
- Use a spoon or a small cookie scoop (my preference) to form into roughly 1 to 1 ½ inch balls. Add to a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Don't worry if they aren't perfect circles, we can reshape in a bit!
- Bake for 15 minutes, carefully re-shape with your hands as needed and flip over.
- Bake an additional 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
- You can then enjoy as is with pasta & sauce (delicious with my pomodoro sauce) or transfer to pan and lightly saute with olive oil, then top with sauce and let simmer. Enjoy!