If you are craving the deliciousness of meatballs in tomato sauce but want a tasty vegan option, consider making our spinach vegan meatballs in spicy tomato sauce. The perfect solution to this classic meal, our recipe hits all the right notes of comfort and taste.
The texture and flavor of these vegetarian meatballs are on point, and you can serve it in the spicy tomato sauce, over noodles, or even on sub buns for a filling and nutritious meal.
Origin Story: Where did Meatballs Come From?
Meatballs have been around for a very long time. The first time meatballs were mentioned in literature was in the 1st century AD, when they were mentioned by the Roman poet, Catullus. While many believe this dish has its roots in Italy, the origin of meatballs can be traced back to ancient Persia.
Vegan Meatballs Recipe Ingredients
- Frozen Chopped Spinach. Fresh spinach will not bond as nicely.
- Chickpeas. Also known as garbanzo beans, used canned chickpeas. Remember to drain and rinse before making this recipe.
- Chickpea Flour. Add even more protein with garbanzo bean flour, we use it as a binder to hold the spinach balls together.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil. EVOO adds needed fat and flavor.
- Garlic Powder.
- Salt and Pepper.
- Lemon Juice. Brighten everything up with lemon juice.
How to Make Vegan Meatballs
Making these meatless meatballs is super easy! Add all the ingredients to a food processor and process it until it forms a dough. Refrigerate the mixture briefly to help it firm up and hold its shape for baking. Then, form the dough into spinach balls and bake them for twenty minutes. Cool, and serve with our spicy tomato sauce. This is literally one of the easiest vegan weeknight meals you could make!
Make Ahead Tips
- You have several great options for meal prep with these meatballs to make your busy weeknight meal even easier.
- You can make the veggie meatballs ahead of time, and refrigerate them raw for up to 24 hours before you bake them.
- You can make the meatballs ahead of time and freeze them for up to six months unbaked. Then bake from frozen.
- You can make the meatballs ahead of time and bake them, place the baked meatballs in the refrigerator for up to one week.
- You can make the meatballs ahead of time and bake them, then freeze them for up to six months. To use them, you can microwave in 30-second increments until hot throughout, or thaw to reheat in the oven.
Helpful Tips for Success
- If you don't have a food processor, combine everything in a large mixing bowl using your hands or a potato masher.
- Freeze batches on a sheet pan first until at least partially frozen. Then they can be moved to a large container and you can grab just what you need, a few at a time. This way they won't be stuck together.
- Squeeze your thawed spinach by hand to remove plenty of excess water. The more you can remove the better.
Different Ways to Use These Vegan Meatballs Recipe
You can use these best vegan meatballs in whatever way you would use regular meatballs.
- This recipe can be served on a sub sandwich with sauce and provolone cheese for vegetarian meatball subs.
- The spicy tomato sauce and meatballs work great on quinoa, rice, or noodles.
- These spinach meatballs work great as vegan spaghetti and meatballs.
- If you want to go low-carb, try them with zucchini noodles.
- Add the meatballs and sauce to a pizza or flatbread.
- Add them to a baked potato as a savory topping.
- Serve these veggie meatballs with mushroom gravy, like Swedish meatballs! The possibilities are endless.
- Add spices to change up the flavors! Italian seasoning or fresh parsley are both common choices.
- Try add-ins. Chopped mushrooms, fennel seeds, black beans, oats, brown rice, ground flaxseed, panko breadcrumbs, soy sauce, and even potatoes add flavor or fill out vegan meatballs in a pinch.
- A small amount of vegan parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast would add a nice cheesy flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you keep vegan meatballs from falling apart?
Chickpea flour works as an excellent binder for these meatballs. Make sure you have removed all of the excess moisture from the spinach that you can. Do not skip the step of refrigerating the meatball dough.
Can these meatballs be made gluten-free?
Yes. Our recipe is already naturally gluten-free!
Are plant-based meatballs nutritious?
Here is some basic nutrition information. Spinach has vitamin K, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Chickpeas have protein, fiber, manganese, folate, and iron. For more specific nutrition facts, you would need to check each ingredient in a mobile app designed for that purpose.
Other Great Meatless Meatball Recipes
- Sweet Potato Quinoa Vegan Meatballs In Mango Coconut Sauce
- Eggplant Meatballs with Pomegranate Sauce
- Lentil Meatballs in Tahini Turmeric Sauce
- Cauliflower Quinoa Meatless Meatballs In Coconut Turmeric Sauce
If you enjoyed this recipe, it would help us tremendously if you left us a star rating in the comments below or on the recipe card. Do you have any questions about the recipe? Do you need a swap for any of the ingredients? We are here to help, just leave us a question in the comments below.Print
If you are craving the deliciousness of meatballs in tomato sauce but want a tasty vegan option, consider making our spinach vegan meatballs in spicy tomato sauce.
For the spinach veggie meatballs
- 1 lb frozen chopped spinach, thawed
- 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed (15 ounces)
- ⅓ cup chickpea flour
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt (to taste)
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
For the spicy tomato sauce
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 6 cloves of garlic, grated
- 1 large can of crushed tomatoes (28 ounces)
- ¼- ½ teaspoon salt to taste
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- ¼-½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper or Red pepper flakes, to taste
- Squeeze as much water as possible from the thawed spinach.
- In a food processor add all the veggie meatball ingredients and process until it creates a soft dough. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- In the meantime make the spicy tomato sauce.
- In a large skillet, sautée onion and garlic in olive oil on medium-low heat for 6-7 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, and Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes.
- Cook covered on high for 3-5 minutes. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375 ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- Scoop 1 ½ tablespoon of spinach dough and form balls. Place them on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Let the spinach balls cool completely before removing them from the baking sheet
- Place spinach veggie balls on the tomato sauce and serve. Over rice, quinoa, or pasta.
- If you don't have time to make your own tomato sauce use your favorite marinara sauce and add Aleppo pepper or hot red pepper flakes for heat.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Refrigeration time: 15
- Cook Time: 20
- Category: Vegan main
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
- Serving Size: 4 spinach balls with sauce
- Calories: 228
- Sugar: 6.6 g
- Sodium: 620 mg
- Fat: 10.8 g
- Saturated Fat: 1.4 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 27.3 g
- Fiber: 8.1 g
- Protein: 9.8 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg