If you’ve never made vegan meatballs before, you need to try this one. This recipe is gluten-free, plant-based and you can make this in under 30 minutes. I’ve used leftover mushrooms and rice to make it zero-waste too!
The Vegan Meatballs
I used king oyster and maitake mushrooms for these vegan meatballs. It’s a perfect combo for the meat replacement because of it’s sponginess and ability to absorb maximum flavour.
King oyster mushrooms are extremely high in protein and known for it’s meaty texture. It’s also very high in vitamin B. Similarly, maitake mushrooms are also very high in protein and helps give your immunity a boost.
If you don’t have access to these mushrooms, you can also use shiitake mushrooms or brown button mushrooms instead.
I’ve added all of the mushrooms in a food processor with the rice and seasoning to make it a thick dough-like batter. If in any case it happens to be watery, you may need to add a little more rice or mushrooms to the mixture.
To avoid the mixture from getting too wet, you need to ensure the mushrooms are fully dried after cleaning them. This avoids the extra water being added to the mixture. Additionally, you need to use cooked and cooled rice for this in order to get that perfect texture. You cannot use rice that has just been cooked.
If the mixture is too thick, add another tsp of the vegan fish sauce. See info about that below.
What brings out the entire recipe is this vegan fish sauce. I love this one from Nhau & Co. Chef Que Vinh Dang, a seasoned chef and restaurateur who was born in Vietnam and grew up in New York created this vegan fish sauce to fill the gap that has been missing forever.
It’s not just an overpowering condiment like a lot of the vegan fish sauces in the market (if you have tried a lot of them, you will know how terrible and overwhelmingly salty some are). This particular one is packed with flavour along with the tangy saltiness.
It’s got pineapple in it that has been cold-pressed to release all the deliciousness with health benefits too. This sauce is versatile enough to not only add in your Asian recipes, but in any recipe you want.
I’ve added 1 tsp of this to the meatball recipe, you can add another if you think it needs more flavour or if the mixture is too thick after you run it through the food processor.
Alternatives to Rice
If you don’t want to use rice for this recipe, you can use use barley or quinoa for this. The ratios would not need to be changed and the texture would most likely come out the same.
You can even use brown rice for this if you’d like.
The Vegan Meatball Sauce
I’ve make the sauce using fresh cherry tomatoes. This sauce is slightly spicy with infused garlic and caramelised shallots. It’s an easy savoury tomato sauce that goes perfectly with the meatballs.
I used dired herbs easily available in my pantry, but you can use some fresh ones to enhance the flavour of this.
Easy & Delicious Vegan Meatballs In Under 30 Minutes
- 2 frying pans nonstick would be ideal for the meatballs, and stainless steel would be ok for the sauce
- 1 Food Processor
- 1 Spatula
- 1 stainless steel plate
- 1 large chopping board
- 1 chefs knife
- 1/2 cup rice cooked and cooled
- 35 grams king oyster mushrooms chopped
- 60 grams maitake mushrooms chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp vegan fish sauce Find it here
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
Meatball Sauce (herby tomato sauce)
- 9 cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup strained tomatoes
- 2 shallots
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp basil
- 1/2 tsp parsley
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp vegan fish sauce Find it here
- 1/4 tsp red chilli flakes
- salt to taste (you may not need it because of the salt in the vegan fish sauce)
- Combine all the ingredients for the meatballs in the food processor. It should be a smooth dough-like consistency that is easily moldable into sphere shapes. If it is too runny or too thick, see my notes.
- Shape this up into 4 spheres. You could say 4cm in diameter.
- Using the nonstick frying pan, brush a very thin layer of sesame oil on the top and let that heat up.
- Fry the spheres until they turn golden and crisp up. Set this aside.
- Using the other nonstick frying pan, add 1 tbsp of olive oil
- Add the onions and sauté for a few minutes until they turn translucent
- Sprinkle in the garlic and mix it in
- Add the cherry tomatoes, and let that sweat until it slightly dries up
- Pour in the strained tomatoes, and mix in all the herbs. Let this reach a bubbling simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Take it off the heat, mix in the vegan fish sauce and chilli flakes.
- Heat up a cast iron skillet
- Coat the bottom with a generous layer of the sauce
- Add the meatballs
- Garnish more sauce over the meatballs before serving
- Serve warm