Vegan Italian Meatballs

Starting with the most traditional Italian-American recipe – spaghetti and meatballs. In my house, sauce and meatballs were standard for Sunday family dinners. Before switching to a plant-based diet, I don’t think I’ve gone a week in my life without eating spaghetti and meatballs.

Vegan Meatballs, Italian-style, made with savory mushrooms and bulky lentils. Baked or fried until crispy on the outside. A classic Italian plant-based dinner.


  • 1 cup cooked brown/green lentils
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 3/4 cup cremini mushrooms chopped
  • 1 flax egg
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs vegan
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt + pepper (each)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (for frying, skip if baking)


  1. To cook dry lentils (skip this step if using canned lentils): Cook 1/2 cup (54 g) dry lentils on stovetop, using 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) water. Be sure to use a large enough saucepan as the lentils will double or triple in size. Bring to a boil, cover tightly, reduce heat and simmer until they are tender. About 15-20 minutes. Drain if needed and measure out 1 cup (192 g) cooked lentils for the recipe.
  2. Make a flax egg by mixing together 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed with 2.5 tablespoons water in a small bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes to thicken.
  3. Meanwhile, chop yellow onion, garlic and cremini mushrooms. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet on medium heat, add chopped veggies to pan and sauté until soft. About 5 minutes.
  4. Once vegetables are soft and lentils are cooked, add to food processor along with breadcrumbs, fresh parsley, flax egg, and salt + pepper.  Pulse ingredients until combined. Use a spatula to scrape down sides as needed. You’ll want the mixture to be well-combined, very mushy and sticky.


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.
  2. Roll each ball between your hands to form golf-ball sized balls. Place evenly spaced on a lightly greased baking sheet.
  3. Bake in pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes. Rotate each ball and reshape if needed every 10 minutes. (The longer you leave them in the oven, the crispier the outside will become).


  1. If frying, heat 1/4 cup (54 g) olive oil on medium-heat in a large skillet. Roll the mixture into golf-ball sized balls and add to hot oil – be careful because it can splash. Carefully turn balls as they start to brown on each side.
  2. As each ball gets browned, place them on a paper-towel lined plate to absorb some excess oil.
  3. Serve warm or freeze for later.
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