Tender, meaty, and flavorful vegan meatballs are here!
I'm super excited to share this recipe with you as it's the best "meatballs" I ever made. Plus they come with a sweet and salty teriyaki sauce that, let's be honest, makes them 10X better.
We start with the aromatics. Cook onion and garlic until fragrant, then add the mushrooms that will not only add a ton of flavor but also texture and moisture to the balls. Once the mushrooms are cooked and have reduced, it's time to add the spices. I went with smoked paprika, cumin, chili, and oregano.
Next, you transfer the mixture to a food processor and add the rest of the ingredients. Almond flour adds richness, pecans crunchiness, and red kidney beans softness. For even more texture I added cooked buckwheat groats. I have used them many times here is savory or sweet recipes, I love their nutty flavor and chewy texture. If you can't find buckwheat groats, you can use brown rice, steel-cut oats, or bulgur.
Give it a few pulses until it has a coarse texture that looks like ground meat. Then transfer to a bowl and add some vital wheat gluten. I try to keep most of the recipes here gluten-free, but once in a blue moon I use all-purpose flour, or in this case pure gluten. The reason I added gluten is to give the meatballs a stretchy texture, it's very subtle as I don't use much but it's enough to take them to the next level, plus they hold together better.
Now if you want to make the balls gluten-free, just omit the gluten. Obviously, you won't have the same meaty texture but they will still taste great!
Finally, shape into balls and bake for about 20 minutes in the oven before shallow-frying in a skillet until golden brown.
The teriyaki sauce is very easy, you simply combine soy sauce, maple syrup, toasted sesame oil, lime juice, and minced garlic in a small bowl. Then dissolve a teaspoon of cornstarch into it so the sauce thickens when heated. Pour the sauce in the skillet, mix to coat the balls and remove from heat. It's now ready to serve!
These meatballs are a crowd-pleaser! Whether you have only vegans and/or meat eaters at your table, these won't disappoint! The meatballs are super tender, meaty, and glazed with a garlicky, sweet and salty sauce.
Fore more meatball recipes, check out these delicious Veggie Balls in Creamy Masala Sauce!
Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!
Vegan Tender Teriyaki Meatballs
- ¼ cup buckwheat groats
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 clove of garlic minced
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon each: smoked paprika, ground chili, cumin
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ cup cooked red kidney beans
- ¼ cup parsley or cilantro, basil
- ¼ cup almond flour
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup pecans
- ¼ cup vital wheat gluten
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 3 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- Start by cooking the buckwheat groats: Add the buckwheat groats and the water to a saucepan. Heat over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for 7 minutes.
- Taste to check if the buckwheat is cooked, it should not be mushy or crunchy, it should be soft with some texture. Drain, discard the cooking water and set aside the cooked buckwheat.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°F).
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the diced onion and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
- Add the sliced mushrooms and cook for another 6-8 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, soy sauce, maple syrup, spices, oregano, and onion powder. Cook for another 30 seconds and remove from heat.
- Transfer the mushroom mixture to the bowl of a food processor. Add the cooked red kidney beans, parsley, almond flour, breadcrumbs, and pecans. Pulse for 5-7 seconds, or until it has a coarse texture.
- Add the cooked buckwheat to the food processor and pulse for another 3-5 seconds. You don't want to process too much to keep some texture, you should still see some whole buckwheat groats.
- Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl, add the vital wheat gluten and mix using a wooden spoon until fully incorporated. With slightly wet hands, shape the mixture into balls (I used about 1.5 tablespoon for each ball) and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake the "meatballs" for 20 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the teriyaki sauce.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the soy sauce, maple syrup, lime juice, sesame oil, minced garlic, and cornstarch together.
- Once the meatballs are ready, heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the meatballs and shallow-fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and pour in the teriyaki sauce. Stir to coat the balls with the sauce.
- Serve the teriyaki meatballs immediately on a bed of rice or noodles and some greens on the side.
- Meatballs will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently in a skillet, adding more sauce if needed.
Sounds yummy -- but I can't eat mushrooms. Any good substitutions here?
That's difficult as it's one of the main ingredient...but I would probably try diced eggplant.
Your meatballs look tasty, Thomas. I'm going to try this recipe. I'm curious why you feel the need to add onion powder, even though you use fresh onion and garlic.
Keep creating dishes, Thomas. I think you may be somewhat of a genius when it comes to vegan cookery.
Thanks for the kind words Charles!
I found that adding some onion powder brings additional flavor, some kind of umami. It's not essential though so you can omit it if you want.
Tried the meatballs tonight, and they are good. I had to substitute bulgur for the buckwheat. And I used shallots in place of the yellow onion, and omitted the onion powder. Sadly, I could only get nine and a half balls from the recipe, instead of the twenty that were mentioned. But it's all good, Thomas, thanks.
Thanks for the feedback Charles! Well I guess I made mine pretty small 🙂
I made this recipe, again. I used toasted buckwheat (kasha), and chanterelles. And I added the onion powder this time. They turned out really well, and were delicious. I managed to get fifteen balls.
Awesome! Thanks for the feedback 🙂
Sadly I’m allergic to buckwheat, so no soba for me. What could I use instead?
Thanks in advance.
Hi Elise, you could use bulgur, brown rice, or steel-cut oats.
Hi Thomas - I am struggling to find buckwheat groats - what could I substitute for them?
Hi Christine, steel-cut oats, bulgur or brown rice are good substitutes.
Hello Thomas! I just finished eating this vegan meatballs and they were really tasty. I found your website this week and I thought I had to try something because everything looks so good. Thank you for your recipes and congratulations on your work!
Thanks for the kind words, I'm glad you liked the meatballs!
Hi Thomas, I just found your website. I was curious, could these be frozen after cooked? Or what would you recommend? I am going to be a new mom in a few months so I am looking to stock up my freezer with wfp recipes. Thank you!
Definitely! After cooking you can freeze the meatballs. Then thaw, sautée and deglaze with the teriyaki sauce 😉
Hi there, these look amazing ! is the vital wheat gluten necessary for the texture of these meatballs or can you omit or substitute for something else ?
Gluten adds texture and makes the ball more meaty and tender. It can be omitted though, the texture will be slightly different but they should still taste great!
Totally incredible recipe! The sauce pushes the un-meatballs over the edge. I cooked in my air-fryer and I had no need for panfying to crisp up. Really fabulous! I will definitely make this recipe again. Thanks Thomas for yet another winner!
Thanks Ida! So happy to hear you liked the un-meatballs 🙂 Thanks for the rating!!
Lisa Viger is Planted365
Omg, these look SO good ... especially paired with the bok choy.
Thank you Lisa!
Hello, Thomas! Thank you for another great recipe! I made this recipe for dinner tonight and it was delicious. I got 24 meatballs and made double the sauce. Yummm
You're welcome! I'm happy you liked these teriyaki meatballs. Thanks again for your feedback!
Wondering if you've ever used this mixture to make a burger?
I haven't yet but I'm sure it would work great! Teriyaki burgers? Count me in!
Meatballs are great! I actually made a marinara sauce instead of teriyaki. Tonight I'll do the teriyaki with the leftovers.
I definitely think this would make a great burger. I even want to try this as a gioza filling.
By the way, I got 20! yummy meatballs.
Thanks for the recipes. I might even try the cheeses. Keep up the good work!
Great! Yes these are also delicious with tomato sauce 🙂
Thanks for the feedback Beth!
These are my husband’s favorite meatballs. He is not vegan, but he thinks they taste meaty. I haven’t tried the teriyaki sauce yet because we always have them with spaghetti and marinara sauce
Awesome 😉 Thanks so much for your feedback! I also have them with marinara sauce sometimes 😉
These were good. I've seen others comment about a cookbook. I do hope you have one coming. I love that you have so much here on line - Thank you!
So glad you liked these "meatballs" Sylvia!
I have encountered your blog yesterday for the first time. It looks wonderfull! I made these "meat balls" for lunch today with Korean spicy noodles and all the family loved it. Thank you.
Since I do not eat gluten, I replaced the bread crumbs with Teff flour and omitted the gluten, added 2 tbsp of fasilium husks. I am looking forward to try more of your recipes. Thank you.
Welcome Adi! I'm happy to hear your family loved the "meatballs", thanks for your feedback! 🙂
Hi! Just discovered your website. I want to try your vegan meatballs but I am allergic to beans. Would you have an idea for a substitute?
Welcome! I guess you could use mashed tofu (not sure if it's considered a bean for you), or pureed rice.
Thanks you for taking the time to answer
These were delicious! Even my picky, vegan-resistant kids liked them. Soaked the pecans beforehand and used coconut aminos instead of soy sauce. Yum!
Glad to hear it! Thanks for your feedback!
Hi Thomas, this recipe looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it! A couple questions, is there a specific reason you add the vital wheat gluten by hand and with a wooden spoon? Thanks!
Thanks! I simply find it easier to mix using a wooden spoon, it's not as sticky as with a metal one.
Hi can I use regular flour instead of almond flour?
Hi Sue, I guess it will work but the texture will be different.
This would have to be one of my favourite recipes! A little fiddly but so versatile, delicious and satisfying. I like to triple the batch size and freeze some of the balls to use in other dishes. Works really well as burger patties and also with pasta as meatballs in a tomato sauce.
Thanks so much for your feedback Jess! 🙂