Vegetarian Meatballs

Here is my favorite vegetarian meatballs recipe. Serve them with pasta and marinara sauce, or with mashed potatoes and gravy, in a sandwich with red-beet salad, or any way you like!

Being a vegetarian I can sometimes long for traditional comfort food, which many of us grew up with, although I don’t miss the real thing with meat.  

It is the texture, the nibble-bite-size, and the versatility I would miss. But I don’t. Because there are vegetarian meatballs like these! But don't be fooled- there is nothing «meat-y» about these veggieballs!

Trying to imitate meat is not usually a good idea in vegetarian cooking, but these vegetarian «meatballs» are using rice and lentils for texture and protein, as well as herbs and spices in such a perfect blend to make them delightfully tasty as «veggieballs», and may be loved by both vegetarians and meat eaters alike.

Vegetarian Meatballs Recipe

Vegetarian meatballs

Here’s What You Need

  • ¼ cup brown rice
  • ½ cup lentils
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 medium yellow onion, grated
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan (or other hard cheese)
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • ½ tsp. oregano
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Olive Oil for frying

Here’s What You Do

  1. Rinse the rice and place in a small saucepan with double the water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover and let cook on medium-low heat for about 45 min. Add more water if needed.
  2. Pick the lentils for stones, rinse and put in a larger saucepan and cover with water. Add the garlic cloves and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and let cook on medium-low heat for about 35-40 min until soft.
  3. Add the onion, spices, breadcrumbs and egg to a mixing bowl. When the rice is done, drain and let dry a little, then add to the mix.
  4. When the lentils are done, drain and discard the bay leaf. Put the lentils and garlic in a mixer or blender to mash them up a bit. If the lentils are very soft, you can mash them with a spoon.  Add the lentils-garlic mash to the rice mixture and mix it all well together. Let it cool.
  5. When cooler, place in the fridge for about 20 min. This will make the veggieballs easier to shape.
  6. With a tablespoon, shape the mixture into about 16 balls.
  7. Heat oil in a skillet on medium-high.  Add the veggieballs a few at a time and fry for about 3-4 min on each side until golden brown and crisp.
  8. Place on a plate with kitchen paper to absorb some of the oil. Then transfer to a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  9. Preheat  the oven to 400F/200C
  10. When all the veggieballs are fried, bake in the oven for about 5 min. This will cook them better in the middle.
Vegetarian meatballs recipe

These vegetarian meatballs freeze well, so you could also double the recipe for a larger batch to save for busier days!


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