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Irresistible Vegan Italian Meatballs

Vegan Italian Meatballs Gluten Free Easy The Busy Beet

These Vegan Italian Meatballs are simple to make, plant-based, and gluten free. They are also incredibly delicious and made using the same traditional Italian techniques my mother taught me growing up!

Every bite is


Vegan Italian Meatballs Gluten Free Easy The Busy Beet

Growing up Italian means food = love. Cooking together and having a meal together are sacred rituals in an Italian household. For me to walk in one day and tell my family I would no longer be eating meat or dairy was definitely a shock, especially to my mother who is famous for her lasagnas, cacciatore and of course…her spaghetti & meatballs.

That being said, they always respected my decision and currently are eating much more plant-based dishes themselves. So over the holidays this year I decided to experiment with incorporating mom’s techniques in to a healthier, meat-free version. These are power-packed, nutritionally-dense, and so satisfying.

Vegan Italian Meatballs Gluten Free Easy The Busy Beet

It is true that we crave seasoning, not meat itself. So I knew that with the combination of fresh and dry Italian herbs, garlic powder, sautéed onion and red wine I could bring these meatballs to life! And boy, are they UNREAL.

Pair these babies with your favorite spaghetti & well-seasoned gravy (red sauce) and you’re good to go!

Vegan Italian Meatballs Gluten Free Easy The Busy Beet

These are perfect to prep over the weekend for a week full of yummy dinners or for a big Sunday meal.

Being vegan does not mean you have to give up the flavors you grew up with! Applying them with a new cooking vocabulary that does not include processed foods + animal products means we can eat and healthier and live well. Who doesn’t want that?

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did! Leave a comment, or take a picture and tag it #busybeet on Instagram. I’d love to see what you cook up. Enjoy!

Vegan Italian Meatballs Gluten Free Easy The Busy Beet

Vegan + Gluten Free Italian Meatballs
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
The Busy Beet:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 12-14 meatballs
  • ½ cup pecans
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1 15 oz can brown lentils rinsed and drained
  • 1 15 oz can black beans rinsed and drained
  • hymalian salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 tbs garlic powder
  • 1 tbs dried oregano
  • 1 tbs dried parsley
  • 1-2 tbs dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh rosemary + sage minced
  • ¼ cup Italian red wine (I used Montepulciano d'Abruzzo)
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbs ground flaxseed meal + 2 tbs water mixed)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Add pecans and almonds to a food processor or high powered blender and process until bread crumb texture. Transfer to a bowl and with a fork or whisk mix in salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, parsley, Italian seasoning, + oats. *My mother and I always eyeball this and taste the mixture to test the flavors - use your judgement to add more seasoning.*
  3. In a non-stick skillet, bring diced onion up on medium heat with about 2 tbs of olive oil, rosemary, sage, salt, + pepper until onions become fragrant and translucent.
  4. Transfer onions to nut crumb mixture.
  5. Add lentils, black beans, 2 tbs olive oil, flax egg, + wine to food processor or blender. Blend only until combined and beans are broken down. Do not over process. Slowly add crumb mixture to bean mixture and combine with a fork or hands. *My mother taught me to use my hands to knead the bread crumbs in to the meat which incorporates them evenly. Go ahead and dive in! That's true Italian cooking.*
  6. The texture should not be wet, but should be able to roll and stick together in to even balls. Using the palm of your hand, roll balls even + firmly.
  7. Using the same skillet used to cook onions, add more olive oil and fry balls evenly on all sides over medium heat until golden brown and crispy.
  8. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake 12 minutes. Turn balls over and bake another 5 minutes.
  9. Serve with your favorite spaghetti + sauce.
  10. Enjoy!
I love to save a little of the seasoned nut mixture as a *vegan parmesan* to top the dish off with! So delicious.


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