45-Minute Recipes/ Dinner/ Lunch

Vegan Meatballs

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!

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.

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!

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.

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!

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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.

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!

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:

Vegan Meatballs

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 45 minutes Total Cost: $5.19 Cost per serving: $1.30

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-large potato (about 225 grams / 8 oz), 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
  • Half a red pepper, diced - $0.36
  • 1 cup (240 ml) tomato sauce - $0.30
  • ½ teaspoon salt - $0.01
  • Pepper, to taste - $0.03

Instructions

1

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400F°.

2

Boil the potato until soft. Drain and mash. Set aside to cool.

3

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.

4

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.

5

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.

6

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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38 Comments

  • Reply
    Sam
    August 31, 2017 at 2:25 am

    What can be substituted for wheat gluten.

    • Reply
      Melissa
      September 1, 2017 at 3:40 pm

      Nothing, it’s the most important ingredient!

  • Reply
    Joe Savarese
    August 31, 2017 at 3:49 am

    Aloha! These look great I’ll try them tomorrow and then leave a message. Thank you for the recipe

  • Reply
    Janice
    August 31, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    Hi there! Love your site!
    Any idea if I can replace the wheat gluten with anything???? I’m guessing something to make it all stick together??? X

    • Reply
      Melissa
      September 1, 2017 at 3:40 pm

      Nope, the gluten is what gives it the meaty texture. There’s no replacement for it in this recipe.

  • Reply
    Sheryl
    September 1, 2017 at 3:29 am

    You must have a great camera though; stunning photography 🙂

  • Reply
    Anna
    September 1, 2017 at 11:15 am

    Hi!
    Is it possible to do that recipe without wheat gluten? I’m intolerant
    Thank you!

    • Reply
      Melissa
      September 1, 2017 at 3:42 pm

      The gluten is the principal ingredient. There are lots of alternative ways to make vegan meatballs, maybe see if google can suggest any that you would like :).

    • Reply
      Selena
      September 7, 2017 at 1:50 pm

      Soya mince

  • Reply
    Pablo
    September 2, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    Can you change the white beans for chickpeas?

    • Reply
      Melissa
      September 7, 2017 at 12:44 pm

      No, they’re a different texture. You could try kidney beans.

  • Reply
    Amy
    September 2, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    Hi if I can’t find vital wheat gluten would a pack of plain seitan work in its place? Thanks

    • Reply
      Melissa
      September 7, 2017 at 12:44 pm

      You’d probably have to change the ratios of the ingredients in the recipe in order for that to work. That being said, I’ve seen many recipes on google that call for a pack of seitan which you mash up and add to other ingredients so you could try one of those.

  • Reply
    katja
    September 2, 2017 at 10:30 pm

    I made these and they were fantastic!! Great texture and flavou! Definitely recommended! Can’t wait to serve them to my meat-eating friends 😊!!

  • Reply
    norman
    September 3, 2017 at 4:06 am

    You have some of the best recipes i have seen they look great. thank you for shearing them with us.

    • Reply
      Melissa
      September 7, 2017 at 12:42 pm

      Thank you!

  • Reply
    Bee
    September 3, 2017 at 11:59 am

    Hi
    I can’t wait to make this 🙂 Does it freeze?

    • Reply
      Melissa
      September 7, 2017 at 12:41 pm

      Good question, I haven’t tried freezing them and I’m not sure if it would change the texture. If you try it, do let us know!

  • Reply
    Marie
    September 3, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Amazing recipe ! Just made it. Thanks so much! Will definitely be using these so for subs and sandwiches. Some seitan recipes can be a little bit same-y but the addition of the beans and the potato takes it to another level!

  • Reply
    Tania
    September 3, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    Hi Melissa, just made these tonight, and what a triumph – totally fab recipe, will become a staple in our house. Thanks so much . Just to mention, meatlessballs turned out a little salty for us – and as hardened halophiles, that’s saying something. I think perhaps because I used light soy sauce rather than dark. Also, I added some vegan browning, to give an amazing, dark colour. But the texture and flavour were totally great! Next time, I’ll play around a little with the seasoning, perhaps add a bit of chilli for background heat and replace some of the stock with tomato ketchup, for extra richness. Thank you so much for this recipe 🙂

    • Reply
      Melissa
      September 7, 2017 at 12:40 pm

      You’re right and make a good point. Different brands of soy sauce have different levels of saltiness. Chili sounds like a great addition, too! Thanks so much for the feedback!

  • Reply
    Esther
    September 4, 2017 at 2:39 am

    so using wheat gluten without going through the process of making Seitan is not losing any of the nutrient qualities of Seitan . To me this just seems like adding flour and making a dumpling.

  • Reply
    Becky Maynard
    September 4, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    Any chance that chick peas are a good substitute for the white beans? I have a ton of chick peas, and of course, no white beans 🙂

    • Reply
      Melissa
      September 7, 2017 at 12:39 pm

      I don’t think chickpeas are sticky enough. You could try kidney beans.

  • Reply
    catbat
    September 4, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    Hi! Going to make this this week. But a question. What alternative to tomato sauce? Have fussy tomato sauce based family members. TIA

    • Reply
      Melissa
      September 7, 2017 at 12:38 pm

      What about a sweet and sour sauce, sweet chili sauce or teriyaki sauce?

      • Reply
        catbat
        September 10, 2017 at 5:46 am

        Thanks! Was thinking of adding soft tofu and making it kinda creamier. Just about to make.them now!

  • Reply
    Crystal
    September 7, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    Would black eyed peas work in the place of the plain white bean… I’m thinkin it’s the same texture…

    • Reply
      Melissa
      September 8, 2017 at 3:14 pm

      I think so

  • Reply
    Tanika Mitchell
    September 10, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    Hi Melissa,
    All I can find is Vital Wheat gluten flour, is that what you’re referring to? Or is there a Vital Wheat gluten mock meat?
    Thank you

    • Reply
      Melissa
      September 11, 2017 at 12:36 pm

      Yes, it’s the vital wheat gluten flour that you want.

      • Reply
        Tanika
        September 18, 2017 at 1:16 am

        Thank you

  • Reply
    Glenn Arnold
    September 13, 2017 at 12:09 am

    Hi Melissa!

    Planning to make this tonight for the first time. Have most of the items called for, and going out now to shop the rest. One question: does “red pepper” mean red Bell pepper, or red Chili pepper?

    Thanks much!
    Glenn A.
    Memphis TN

    • Reply
      Melissa
      September 15, 2017 at 5:03 pm

      Red bell pepper

  • Reply
    Marylou
    September 20, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    I have tried to find a meatballs recipes for 2 months now. I wanna do the old meatballs mustard and maple sirop like I use to do with beef before! Do you think this recipe would work for it if I change the spices for what it took in that old recipe?

    • Reply
      Melissa
      September 22, 2017 at 3:39 pm

      Sure, you can change the seasonings

  • Reply
    Julie
    September 22, 2017 at 1:53 am

    Hi, just made these meatless balls and have popped them into the fridge to firm up, but are they supposed to be doughy on the inside?

    • Reply
      Melissa
      September 25, 2017 at 12:08 pm

      I wouldn’t say doughy. If that happens they may not have been baked long enough. Do you have an oven thermometer to check the temp?

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