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Veggie Balls in Masala Sauce

Update May 2018: I released this recipe back in May 2016 and finally took the time to rework it! The masala sauce and the vegetarian “meatballs” have been improved. Some of you had trouble with this recipe as the balls were crumbling. This won’t be a problem anymore! Photos have also been updated.

Veggie Balls in Creamy Masala Sauce is one of my favorite recipes!

Do you enjoy Indian food as much as I do? I could eat Indian every day. The flavors, richness, and variety of Indian dishes are just incredible.

While this is not a traditional Indian recipe, it reminds me of the food you can find at Indian restaurants. And trust me, this is definitely not lacking in flavor. These soft veggie balls are served in a rich and creamy masala sauce. In all honesty, this sauce is just incredible. Super creamy and flavorful, it makes everything you put in 10 times better. Plus, this sauce is very versatile. You can use it to coat roasted vegetables or as a dipping sauce for fries. I’m sure it would go pretty well with falafels too.

This is the perfect vegan dish to serve when you have vegans AND meat eaters at the table. Everyone loves these veggie balls!

Veggie Balls in Masala Sauce

The masala sauce is easy to make and relies on onions, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, and spices. It takes some time to prepare since you have to cook it for 30-40 minutes. This is not a busy time, don’t worry!

The sauce gets its magical smell and taste from the spices: cumin, garam masala, turmeric, and fenugreek leaves. Fenugreek leaves are optional but recommended. I only discovered fenugreek recently, and I love this spice; it has a nutty and maple flavor. You can find dried fenugreek leaves here.

Veggie Balls in Masala Sauce

Once the sauce is cooked, transfer it to a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.

Now onto the veggie balls. The base is red kidney beans, brown rice, onions, carrots, nutritional yeast, and spices. I also added fresh chopped chives, but feel free to add your favorite herbs. Combining red kidney beans with brown rice gives them a soft texture, and adding mushrooms brings moisture and a meaty texture.

Veggie Balls in Masala Sauce

To prevent the balls from falling apart, I also added some oats (oat flour + rolled oats for more texture). Once your mixture is roughly mashed, you form balls and bake them in the oven for about 15 minutes.

Veggie Balls in Masala Sauce

Finally, transfer the balls to the masala sauce and stir to coat!

Veggie Balls in Masala Sauce

If you are looking for a flavorful and healthy meal with an Indian twist, you should definitely consider trying this one! These tender veggie balls come with a masala sauce that is the recipe’s star!

Love Indian food? Check out this Easy Dal Palak or this Instant Pot Cauliflower Tikka Masala!

Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!

Veggie Balls in Masala Sauce

Veggie Balls in Masala Sauce
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Veggie Balls in Creamy Masala Sauce

4.58 from 21 votes
Author: Thomas Pagot
Beans and brown rice balls served in a rich masala sauce with incredible flavors. Everyone, even meat-eaters will love this vegan dish!
Prep Time : 30 minutes
Cook Time : 1 hour
Total Time : 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 5 servings
Calories 280 kcal


Masala Sauce

  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 3 medium onions finely sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic chopped
  • 1 inch freshly grated ginger
  • 1 medium carrot thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper chopped
  • 3 ripe tomatoes diced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground chili
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves optional
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup non-dairy yogurt (or coconut cream)

Veggie Balls

  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion finely sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 carrot thinly sliced
  • 4-5 cremini mushrooms sliced
  • 1 15- ounces can red kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup oat flour


Masala Sauce

  • Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions, garlic, and ginger. Cook over medium heat until the onions are soft and golden, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the diced carrots, red bell pepper, and tomatoes. Cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add all the spices: cumin, garam masala, turmeric, chili, salt, and fenugreek leaves if using.
  • Add the 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low medium. Let simmer for about 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  • Remove from heat, let cool a few minutes, and process in a blender until silky smooth. Pour the sauce into a large bowl or saucepan, stir in the yogurt, and set aside.

Veggie Balls

  • Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Add the rice and water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook according to the package instructions.
  • Heat one tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook for about 3 minutes or until the onions are soft. Next, add carrots and mushrooms, and cook for another 7-8 minutes. Carrots should be slightly tender.
  • In a food processor, combine the cooked onions, carrots, and mushrooms with the drained beans, tomato paste, chives, rolled oats, nutritional yeast, spices, salt, maple syrup, and cooked rice. Process for about 10 seconds, you should get a soft and slightly chunky mixture. Do not process too much to keep some texture.
  • Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the oat flour. Mix until fully incorporated. The mixture should be soft but not too sticky.
  • Using your hands, shape the mixture into 2-tbsp size balls and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 13-15 minutes, turning the balls halfway through baking.
  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet. Once hot, add the baked veggie balls and cook for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown. Pour in the masala sauce and cook over low-medium heat for another 5 minutes.
  • Serve with rice, vegan biryani, or with a salad.


Serving: 1 (with masala sauce) | Calories: 280 kcal | Carbohydrates: 41 g | Protein: 7.7 g | Fat: 10.2 g | Fiber: 7.6 g | Sugar: 8.5 g
Course : Entree, Main Course
Cuisine : Indian
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About the Author

Thomas Pagot is the founder, photographer, and recipe developer behind Full of Plants. He created the blog in 2016 as a personal cookbook for vegan recipes. Through years of recipe development, Thomas has successfully grown Full of Plants into a trusted resource for plant-based recipes.

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I’m drooling looking at these pictures! Definitely on my list to make!

4 stars
Made this last night. The flavours we good but the balls collapsed when I placed them in the sauce to warm for 5 minutes. I’m thinking I didn’t shallow fry them long enough. Will be making this again! Now we have delicious slop as leftovers !

5 stars
Stunning recipe. The sauce was gorgeous, but the veggie balls fell apart, so the next time I made it I used falafels and that was just as good!

These look excellent. I would love to give it a try after you have made adjustments – keep us updated. Thank you

3 stars
Okay, I just decided to give these a go. As others have stated the “meatballs” just crumbled into a big mess. I made 4 meatballs at a time to experiment. I tried adding more …..oats….yeast….a little left over rice. I mixed each new addition in by hand so as not overdo it in the food processor. All no Bueno. 🙁 Perhaps baking them would have been better?

The sauce was nice. So I threw assorted vegetables into that’s, let them simmer til soft and served over rice.

Hi there. Has this recipe been updated now?

[…] dishes. Made with brown rice, chickpeas, onions, carrots, nutritional yeast, and spices, these veggie balls in a creamy masala sauce have the consistency of real meatballs will be enjoyed by vegans and meat eaters […]

This looks amazing, especially the masala sauce!

[…] add nuts or crunchy veggies, it’s incredibly versatile. The masala sauce is inspired by my veggie balls in masala sauce recipe, super creamy, lightly sweet and spicy without being too […]

5 stars
I just made this. Added an extra Tbsp of rolled oats to the mixture. They were still fairly delicate when shallow frying them and I suspect would have crumbled a lot had I reheated them in the sauce. Instead I just put them on top of the rice and then poured the hot masala sauce on top. They were delicious and I will definitely be saving this recipe to my favourites. Thankyou

4 stars
These are very tasty! After reading comments, I baked the balls for about 15 minutes in a 350 before shallow frying, which is how I typically make my falafel. This may have helped keep them together because they were soft but did not fall apart. I also added a squeeze of lemon to the balls, which really popped!! I’m looking forward to my leftovers for lunch today. Thanks for a lovely recipe.

I’m enjoying reading your recipes and your take on Indian food. Happy to have found a fellow fenugreek fan 🙂

5 stars
I love this recipe. The sauce is yummy. Slight variation on the meatballs, I ground two tablespoons of Oats so it was fine like bread crumbs. I also let it sit on the counter for 15 minutes. Air fried in my Ginny Halogen Oven 15 minutes. Nice and crunchy!

3 whole medium onions in the sauce seems excessive. Have you fixed the recipe to account for the balls falling apart?

3 stars
Hi, I had the same problem with the balls scrambling in the sauce, and getting stuck during frying. I probably over processed them. I think my solution will be to air fry (healthier) and just pour sauce over top. Sauce is lovely.

this sounds amazing 🙂 i know a german recipe that uses half of the rice raw grinded, mixed with gluten and then simmer the balls gently in veggie broth for 40 min. that is served as “königsberger klopse” with caper sauce and so yummy! perhaps you could try to add a bit of gluten to prevent the balls from falling apart..
i definitely will try the sauce, thank you for the inspiration!
vegan love,

5 stars
Delicious sauce – I’m sure it’ll become a regular dinner in my house! I didn’t make the balls as I had a bag of IKEA’s vegetarian “meat” balls in the freezer and they worked perfectly as a lazy addition. I have plenty of leftovers so planning to use it with chickpeas for your buddha bowl tomorrow!

5 stars
Absolutely delicious. Could not stop eating the sauce and the vegie balls are so good. I froze the left over sauce and uncooked vegie balls separately. All freezes well. Made pizza on the weekend and topped with some cooked vegie balls (along with other veggies) – really good.

Just curious, has anyone tried a little white wine in the sauce?

Very Delicious! My sauce was a bit more yellow/orange. The recipe takes a while to make, but worth it for leftovers for 2. I made with the revised recipe and didn’t have an issue with the meatballs. Am thinking of using some of them for a Chloe inspired meatball sub.

5 stars
LOVE this recipe! Mine turned really yellow though and not quite sure why? Flavor was unaffected and amazing. I didn’t have time to make the veggie balls but simmered tofu, pumpkin and cauliflower in the sauce. My kids (6, 2 and 1yr old) and husband loved it as well. Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work!

5 stars
I cooked these veggie balls yesterday – delicious!!! Thank you for this recipe, it’s so great to have so healthy food so tasty!!

5 stars
Hello Thomas and all the other humans out there!

I did this last night, the 30th of September 2018 and it was DELICIOUS! Very flavourful! I didn’t have cumin though 🙁 so I added more garam masala! I’m grateful it didn’t taste as spicy as the food I ate in India! It’s definitely adapted to the westerners tastebuds (westerners would be a term the indians named me sometimes especially talking about my level of spice intake)

In the comments, I read that the veggie balls were collapsing. For my part, that didn’t happen maybe because I cooked them a little longer in the oven before frying them in the skillet.I feel like I cooked them an extra 10 to 15 mins but I would have to confirm with my partner.

Had a side of short grain brown rice (it takes 45mins to cook so you gotta be patient) and some naan!

Yum! I’m so excited to try this! I’m allergic to kidney beans…wondering if you think replacing them with chickpeas would work?

5 stars
Totally delishious!!!!

The meatball didnt fall apart,they were perfect!!!!my sauce was to thick though hahaha probably didnt get how to use cream of coco properly, or didnt put enough water. What so over, THE TASTE WAS INCREDIBLE!!!!! I will definitly do this recipe again!!!

5 stars
Hi, Thank you so much for this lovely recipe.
I made them with lentils as I didn’t have any beens, it was just as good.
I has difficulty understanding the measurments… 92 gr of rice refers to cooked or uncooked rice?
How many grams of cooked beens are needed? I wasn’t sure about the 1.15 ounces which seem a small amount. It’s 32 grams.
Thanks a lot

They look gorgeous. My sister and I are doing weight watchers, and based on my quick read of it, these would be about 3-4 points per serving (without rice on the side). We also eat vegan for part of the year for religious reasons, and I think these would be a spectacular contribution to our church potluck.

4 stars
This was a very labor- intensive recipe. I wanted to make it just as you had because it was a challenge. I felt like the actress in the movie “Julie and Julia”, but I did not try to stay up all night to gat it done! Anyway, I am now waiting for the veggie balls to bake. Everything tastes wonderful so far!

What exactly is the yield? It says 5 but is that five servings? How much is one serving? how many ounces are each ball? sorry for all the questions, but I’m a culinary student in high school.

Do these make 5 balls or 5 servings? I’m just trying to see if I should double or triple the recipe. Using it to cater a party.

4 stars
This was very good but seemed to lack flavor. I know garam masala varies so maybe the new one I bought was not flavorful enough. I did add a squeeze of lemon and some cayenne since it was really mild and needed spicing up. I think I’d like it better served on white basmati rice instead of the brown rice I used, since the meatballs are already very dense.

5 stars
Ok, so I cheated a little bit. I needed a quick week night meal and substituted falafel balls I had on hand. It was delicious, even if a sinful substitute. 🙂 The sauce was awesome! Next time I’ll make the veg balls too.

4 stars
It looks delicious from the pictures! Today, I will make this dish. Thank you so much for sharing this amazing recipe!