These vegan meatballs are made with from-scratch seitan using vital wheat gluten. They’re quick and easy to prepare and are baked for a super-healthy and versatile vegan meatball!
There are a bajillion different ways to make vegan meatballs. The challenge with bean-based, grain-based or veggie-based meatballs, however, is to get enough structural integrity that you can drop them into a sauce, or even a soup, without them totally disintegrating.
Enter vital wheat gluten. If you’re not familiar, vital wheat gluten is wheat flour which has been processed to remove everything except the gluten. You can buy vital wheat gluten in health food stores, organic supermarkets, bulk food stores or online.
If none of those work for you, you can make your own vital wheat gluten by washing regular flour until the starches dissolve and you’re left with just the gluten.
Vital wheat gluten is the principal ingredient in seitan. It’s what gives it the meaty, chewy texture and great for replicating all kinds of meat dishes. Many of the recipes in my 60+ Vegan Recipes for Meat Lovers are made from a basic seitan which is seasoned to taste like whatever you want it to taste like.
I must admit, however, that seitan can be a bit tricky to get just right. Add too much liquid and you’ll end up with a soggy, wet bread-like texture. Too little liquid and your seitan will be as chewy as bubble gum.
I encourage you to try different recipes and after you’ve made a couple of batches, you’ll get a good sense of what texture the dough should have.
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Of course, vital wheat gluten isn’t the only ingredient in these vegan meatballs. Mashed potato (an idea I stole from The Sexy Vegan Cookbook) and white beans help to keep the ball soft and not bubble-gum chewy on the inside. Soy sauce and nutritional yeast add the umami flavour and paprika adds a touch of smokiness.
You can serve these vegan meatballs in a simple tomato sauce (like I’ve done here), sweet and sour sauce, over spaghetti, in a meatball sub, or however you want! This recipe as-is is oil free but you can also quickly pan fry them after baking to get them a bit crispier on the outside.
Wanna see how easy these vegan meatballs are to make? Watch the video and share it on Facebook:
- 1 medium-large (about 225 grams / 8 oz) potato peeled and diced - $0.18
- ½ cup (100 grams) cooked white beans - $0.13
- 1 medium onion - $0.13
- 5 cloves of garlic 3 roughly chopped, 2 minced or grated - $0.40
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce - $0.10
- ½ cup (120 ml) vegetable stock - $0.12
- 1 cup (130 grams) vital wheat gluten - $2.81
- 2 teaspoons paprika - $0.20
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano - $0.12
- 3 teaspoons dried basil - $0.18
- 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast - $0.12
- ½ a red pepper diced - $0.36
- 1 cup (240 ml) tomato sauce - $0.30
- ½ teaspoon salt - $0.01
- Pepper to taste - $0.03
- Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400F°.
- Boil the potato until soft. Drain and mash. Set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, combine the beans, one quarter of the onion (roughly chopped), 3 roughly chopped cloves of garlic, the soy sauce and vegetable stock in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
- In a bowl, combine the vital wheat gluten, paprika, oregano, basil, nutritional yeast, mashed potato and liquid mixture. Mix to combine then use your hands to mash the mixture together into a dough.
- Tear off portions of the dough and roll them into meatballs. Place them on a lightly greased or paper-lined pan and bake for 20 minutes, flipping them over at 10 minutes. You can eat them still warm from the oven or you can let them cool and reheat them in the sauce later. I find that letting them cool helps them firm up to a more meaty texture.
- Heat a large pan over medium-high heat and dice the remainder of the onion. Cook the onion and remaining 2 cloves of minced garlic in a splash of water until soft. Add the red pepper and fry until soft. Add the sauce, salt, pepper and meatballs. Simmer for a few minutes until the meatballs are heated through then serve.
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