These vegan meatballs are the perfect comfort food. They’re really easy to make, so delicious, and incredibly healthy! Serve them with spaghetti for a quick and easy dinner.
Why This Recipe Works
Kidney beans, rolled oats, and ground sunflower seeds give the plant-based meatballs an amazing texture and add lots of protein.
What I really love about this recipe is that the meatballs keep their form and don’t crumble when being baked or cooked. However, do not expect them to have the exact same texture as real meatballs.
You can serve them warm or cold. I like them even better when they’re cold because this way they have a firmer texture.
The recipe is very budget-friendly. Especially if you use dried kidney beans and cook them yourself, for example in your Instant Pot. This recipe is perfect if you’re eating on a budget!
The ingredient list for this recipe is pretty short. No hard to find or fancy ingredients. You can find all of the ingredients in any regular grocery store.
This recipe is one of my all-time favorites and I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from readers as well.
What Goes Into This Recipe:
- Kidney Beans – I usually use canned kidney beans, but you could also use dried beans and cook them in your Instant Pot.
- Soy Sauce – Use low sodium soy sauce if you want or tamari for a gluten-free version.
- Rolled Oats – Don’t use quick quick cooking oats. You need rolled oats for the right texture.
How to Make This Recipe
1. Step: Cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on the package.
2. Step: Rinse and drain the kidney beans. Put them in a medium bowl and mash them well with a fork or a potato masher.
3. Step: In a medium pan, heat some oil and sauté the onions for 3 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute.
4. Step: Put the sunflower seeds in a food processor.
5. Step: Pulse until a fine meal is achieved.
6. Step: Add the sauteed onion and garlic to the mashed beans together with the spices, the tomato paste, the soy sauce, the ground sunflower seeds, and the oats. Season with salt and pepper.
7. Step: Use your hands to thoroughly mix everything. Then form about 12-14 vegan meatballs. (Please note that I doubled the recipe for the photos, so there are more meatballs).
8. Step: Preheat the oven to 350 °F bake the vegan meatballs for about 15 minutes.
9. Step: Carefully turn them halfway through the baking time. They should be crispy on the outside but still a bit soft on the inside. They will get a lot firmer when they cool down.
Alternatively you could also pan-fry them. In a medium pan, heat some olive oil over medium heat and gently roast the bean balls for about 4 minutes until they are golden.
You’ll achieve the best results with a cast iron pan.
- I prefer to bake the vegan meatballs in the oven. This way they become a lot crispier. Besides, the texture is firmer and you don’t need any oil.
- If you’re short on time, you could pan-fry them as this is quicker. Just be careful when you turn the meatballs.
- I also love to make this recipe for picnics and potlucks. The meatballs become a lot firmer when they’re cold, so they’re the perfect finger food.
- Make sure to sauté the onion and the garlic before you add it to the bean mixture. I’ve tried the recipe without sauteing and didn’t like it because the onions were still crunchy.
- For a gluten-free version, make sure you’re using gluten-free oats and substitute the soy sauce with tamari.
Can I freeze this recipe?
Yes, absolutely! To reheat the meatballs, just put them in the oven at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes or until they’re warmed through.
Could I turn these meatballs into veggie burgers?
Yes, you can make patties out of the bean mixture and bake them in the oven. However, you have to adjust the baking time a bit depending on the size of the burger patties.
Try baking them for 20 minutes instead of 15. Check how they are and bake for another 5 minutes.
Can I substitute the sunflower seeds?
Yes, you could also use almonds instead.
I Love To Hear From You!
I hope you like this recipe as much as we do around here.
If you give it a try, I’d love to know what you think about it. Just leave me a comment and a star rating below. Your comments really make my day!
You like my recipes and want to see more? Then follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!
Vegan Meatballs with Spaghetti
For the vegan meatballs:
- 1 15 oz can kidney beans
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/3 heaped cup sunflower seeds
- black pepper
For the chunky marinara sauce:
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1 carrot, cut into small pieces
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/4 cup dry red wine
- 1 can diced tomatoes (14,5 oz)
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- fresh basil leaves, cut into small pieces
- black pepper
For the spaghetti:
- 9 oz whole wheat spaghetti
For the cashew Parmesan:
- 1/2 cup unsalted cashews
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on the package.
- Rinse and drain the kidney beans. Put them in a medium bowl and mash them well with a fork or a potato masher.
- In a medium pan, heat some oil and sauté the onions for 3 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute.
- Put the sunflower seeds in a food processor and pulse until a fine meal is achieved.
- Add the sauteed onion and garlic to the mashed beans together with the spices, the tomato paste, the soy sauce, the ground sunflower seeds, and the oats. Season with salt and pepper.
- Use your hands to thoroughly mix everything. Then form about 12-14 vegan meatballs. (Please note that I doubled the recipe for the photos, so there are more meatballs).
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F bake the vegan meatballs for about 15 minutes. Carefully flip them halfway through the baking time.
- Alternatively you could also pan-fry them. In a medium pan, heat some olive oil over medium heat and gently roast the bean balls for about 4 minutes until they are golden. You'll achieve the best results with a cast iron pan. However, I would recommend the baking version. Not only is this version oil-free, they meatballs also become more crispier and firmer this way.
- Make the marinara sauce: In a medium pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onions for 3 minutes, then add the garlic and the carrot. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes.
- Then deglaze with red wine and allow to evaporate. Add diced tomatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes. Season with oregano, salt, and pepper. Before serving add some fresh basil leaves.
- Make the cashew Parmesan: Put the cashews, nutritional yeast, salt, and garlic powder in a food processor and pulse until a fine meal is achieved.
- Serve the spaghetti with the marinara and vegan meatballs and sprinkle with Parmesan and fresh basil leaves.
- I prefer to bake the vegan meatballs in the oven. This way they become a lot crispier. Besides, the texture is firmer and you don't need any oil.
- If you're short on time, you could also pan-fry them as this is quicker. Just be careful when you turn the meatballs.
- I also love to make this recipe for picnics and potlucks! The meatballs become a lot firmer when they're cold, so they're the perfect finger food.
- Make sure to sauté the onion and the garlic before you add it to the bean mixture. I've tried the recipe without sauteing and didn't like it because the onions were still crunchy.
- For a gluten-free version, make sure you're using gluten-free oats and substitute the soy sauce with tamari.
These were amazing!
I’m trying to incorporate 2-3 meals a week that are 100% plant based. My husband is an avid meat eater and he adored these! The only thing I added was about 4 diced mushroom cups to the mixture and added spinach to my sauce. Can’t wait to make again
love them ,so easy to make and great for one or two persons, thank you for sharing
Wondering…..can I swap out the oatmeal with almond flour? Anyone try that?
We did make these last week as is, and they are amazing! Thank you!
I’ve been looking for a good vegan meatball recipe. Thanks!
I am so impressed! These bean balls are relatively easy to make and come up really delicious! I used black beans instead of red and used a mix of seeds (sunflower chia poppy and pumpkin) instead of just sunflower. Also made the meatballs pretty small and they are great as a snack or inside a recipe! Thanks for sharing! Will be trying more of your recipes.
I wondered if in this recipe, steps 5 and 7 need to be swapped? I’m confused but am thinking before you form and bake meatballs you would add the onion garlic slices and tomato paste to the mashed beans and then firm and bake. Please correct me if I’m not reading this correctly.
I’m so sorry, the two steps must have gotten mixed up when I copied them from the text section above into the recipe box. You’re absolutely right! Thanks for letting me know. :-) Hope you like the recipe!
In Indian cuisine they have kofta balls, shredded veggies bound with a combo of chickpea flour and white flour, spices and a little baking powder, then deep or shallow fried. Baking is an option too. Firm veggies like cabbage, radish, potatoes etc work best but greens work too. Spices can vary according to what type of sauce and dish you’re putting in the koftas in. Some people use all chickpea flour while some like the addition of white flour–I use 50/50.
I tried these and they are absolutely gorgeous !
I guess that makes them bean balls? Look great!
I made these for dinner last night and they were great! Such a nice, easy recipe and really flavorful. Next time I might pulse the oatmeal in my food processor a little, not to make it fine, but just to not have whole oats. Thanks for the recipe!
I recently went vegan and I love this easy recipe for My meal prep! The nutrition breakdown says “with spaghetti”. Do you have the nutrition info for just the meatballs?
I made these and they were amazing! I am fairly new to a plant based/vegan diet so these will be a staple! Satisfied my comfort food desire :)
This was a hit in my family!! Great tasting and I’ll definitely be making it again. Thank you!! Ps. I did have to leave in oven for a little longer (20 mins) to make it crispier
This recipe for vegan meatballs is amazing. It is very simple, and very tasty. I baked balls in the oven, and later put them into the sauce to reheat. Meatballs kept the shale, they did not fall apart. I swapped basil for marjoram, and used mix of almond and flaxseed mill instead of sunflower seeds.
Wow! This recipe was super yummy. It totally loved the vegan meatballs! Perfect texture and taste. I will definitely make this again.