Plant-Based Meatballs

plant based meatballs

This fabulous plant-based meatballs recipe uses red bulgur as the main component.  The red bulgur is so close to the texture of meat, most people would never know it wasn’t.  It is also be the perfect hit at barbecues and as an appetizer with the marinara sauce for dipping.

When I embarked on my journey into the plant-based diet, It wasn’t easy to replicate the texture or taste of meat. When I recreated my original Sloppy Joe recipe, I started out trying textured vegetable protein. The texture was certainly there but not the taste. Not to mention textured vegetable protein is not a healthy choice – so you definitely do not want to use this. This experiment turned out great so I knew what I needed to do.

Then I happened to create another recipe and thought I would try red bulgur. WOW this is what I was looking for so I went back and used it in my chili, and Sloppy Joes. Loved how it came out. Now the next step was to try it on my plant-based meatballs and again, it did not disappoint.

For my plant-based meatballs, you first start out by preheating your oven to 350°F. Take a large baking sheet and line with either parchment paper or a silicone mat. I prefer using a silicone mat. You can purchase them on Amazon at a reasonable price.

Next in a 3 or 4 qt. pan, combine 1 cup of the red bulgur with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook until the bulgur is tender (approximately 12 minutes). Drain off any excess liquid and set aside.

While the bulgur is cooking, dice all the vegetables; onions, garlic, celery and green pepper.

When the bulgur has cooled a little, mix all ingredients together by hand in a large bowl so that it is blended together thoroughly

rolled_meatballs

Form into 1 1/2″ balls and place on the lined baking sheet. If when you are rolling into balls and you notice the mixture seems too moist, add a little more of the oats. Should the meatballs seem dry, add a little water until it is neither wet or dry. The mixture should form into balls pretty easy.

meatballs_ready_for_oven

Bake the meatballs at 350° F. for 25-30 minutes. Remove the meatballs from the oven and allow to cool resting on a wire rack. If you are serving with pasta, cover the meatballs with the marinara sauce (see my recipe) or my Pumpkin Pasta Sauce. You can also use the meatballs on a sub and drizzle the sauce over them.

meatballs_baked
meatballs

Plant-Based Meatballs

Yield: 4-5 dozen
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 42 minutes
Total Time: 52 minutes

This is a fabulous meatball recipe using red bulgur as the main component.  The red bulgur is so close to the texture of meat, most people would never know it wasn’t. It can also be the perfect hit at barbecues and as an appetizer with the marinara sauce for dipping.

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Bobs Red Mill Red Bulgur, cooked
  • 1 3/4 Panko whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 Cups Bobs Red Bill Rolled Oats
  • 1 Cup onion, diced fine
  • 2 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 Tsp. onion powder
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1/2 Cup green pepper, diced
  • 3 Tbsp. Lite Tamari sauce
  • 3 Tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 Tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 Tsp. dried sage
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Marinara sauce (see recipe)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a large baking sheet with either a silicone mat or parchment paper.
  2. In a 3 or 4 qt. pan, combine 1 Cup bulgur with 2 Cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer, cooking until tender (12 minutes). Drain off any excess liquid and set aside to cool.
  3. While the bulgur is cooking, dice all the vegetables; onion, garlic, celery, and green pepper.
  4. When the bulgur has cooled somewhat, mix all of the ingredients together by hand in a large bowl so that it is blended together thoroughly.
  5. Start forming into 1 1/2" balls and place on the baking sheet lined either with parchment paper or a silicone mat. If the mixture seems too moist when trying to form into balls, add a little more of the oats. If it seems to feel dry, you can add a little water until it is the right consistency - not too dry and not too moist. The mixture should form into balls easily.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350° F.
  7. Remove when done and allow to cool by setting the sheet on a wire rack.
  8. For serving with pasta, cover the meatballs with my Marinara sauce, or you can use my pumpkin pasta sauce.
  9. For a sandwich, put the meatballs on a whole wheat sub bun and drizzle the sauce over them.

Notes

1 Cup of uncooked bulgur equals 3 cups cooked. I use Bob's Red Mill Red Bulgur. To serve as an appetizer, place the meatballs in a serving bowl, and have different sauces to dip. Place toothpicks next to the meatballs. Try using a healthy BBQ sauce (oil and sugar free) as a dip as well. You can also pour a little of either sauces over the top, then bake for an additional 10-12 minutes. For firmer meat balls, refrigerate them after they are cooked. This allows them to become firmer so when you reheat them, they do not fall apart.

Did you make this recipe? We'd love to hear from you!

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Michele Wallace

Entrepreneur and author of A Plant-Based Revolution.com. Michele has also earned her Plant-Based Nutrition Certification from eCornell University. The book is an easy and complete guide for those wanting to get healthy and offers step-by-step instructions, including over 85 delicious and healthy recipes.
A Plant-Based Revolution is dedicated to whole food plant-based nutrition.

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