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Tangy Vegan Meatballs Recipe

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Since I’ve recently adopted an anti-inflammation diet (and thus, sworn off red meat), lentils have become a staple in my pantry so I was excited to experiment with them. After a few fails, I finally came up with a tasty Tangy Vegan Meatball recipe that’s just as nutritious as it is delicious.

a collage of three different pictures of vegan meatballs in a white bowl on a brown table with title text reading Tangy Vegan Meatballs

What I Added For Protein, Flavor And Color

Did you know that together, lentils and brown rice form a perfect protein? This is a little fact I only recently discovered and I used it as the foundation of my recipe. Next, I decided to add some color and flavor, which coincidentally added tons of vital nutrients. In went shredded carrot, minced onion, and finely chopped beet greens. I happened to have beet greens on hand, but any dark, leafy green (e.g. spinach, kale, collard greens, swiss chard) should work just as well.

vegan meatballs in a white bowl on a brown table

Gluten-Free Binding Agent

Since I am now gluten-free, I had to come up with a way to bind all of these beautiful ingredients together without relying on bread crumbs. I was going to use oat flour to keep it vegan, but I was out of it and was too lazy to go to the store so I added an egg and hoped for the best. Here’s the thing, hope wasn’t enough to make this mixture easy to mold into meatballs in the traditional sense. So, if you make this, don’t get frustrated when you see this mixture and realize you can’t shape the dough into balls by rolling it around between your palms. It’s a little too flimsy for that. However, a cookie scoop works perfectly and once the meatballs come out of the oven, I promise that they are just as firm and sturdy as a regular meatball.

Tangy Vegan Meatballs made with lentils and covered in a simple mustard sauce

Different Options For Adjusting The Flavor

The meatballs are intentionally a little bland because I had big flavor plans for the sauce. If you don’t want to mess with the sauce, you’ll want to amp up the flavor in the meatballs my adding more herbs and spices. If you don’t have a dairy aversion, some parmesan cheese would be amazing. If you want to make the sauce (which is ridiculously easy and super tangy), don’t mess with the meatball recipe or you’ll have a lot of flavors playing tug-of-war in your mouth.

Tangy Vegan Meatballs in a white bowl on a brown table


The sauce is made with just three ingredients – cider vinegar, spicy brown mustard (you can substitute in yellow mustard or dijon mustard if you prefer), and molasses. The molasses adds just the right amount of sweetness and depth of flavor rather than taking over the sauce like honey or sugar might.

Tangy Vegan Meatballs Recipe

📋 Recipe

Tangy Vegan Meatballs Recipe

Corinne Schmitt
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 12 meatballs
Calories 52 kcal


For Meatballs

  • 1 cup cooked lentils
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped beet greens or other dark, leafy greens
  • 1/2 small onion minced
  • 1 large carrot finely shredded
  • 1/4 cup oat flour for vegan or 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

For Sauce

  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
  • 1 T molasses


  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray baking sheet with non-stick spray.
  • Combine all ingredients for meatballs in a medium bowl, mixing well to coat all ingredients with egg.
  • Using a small cookie scoop, scoop balls of meatball dough and place 1-2 inches apart on baking sheet.
  • Bake at 375°F for 9-11 minutes.
  • While meatballs are baking, combine sauce ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. If sauce begins to boil, reduce to a simmer to keep warm until meatballs are done.
  • Serve meatballs warm from the oven and spoon generous portions of the sauce over them.


Calories: 52kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 2gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gSodium: 66mgPotassium: 150mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 954IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 17mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

I hope you enjoy my tangy vegan meatball recipe! If these look good to you, you might also like my Spinach Rice Appetizer Balls and my Sweet and Sour Meatballs.

12 thoughts on “Tangy Vegan Meatballs Recipe”

  1. Pingback: 10 Delicious Vegan Healthy Appetizer Ideas - Five Spot Green Living
  2. Pingback: 10 Delicious Vegan Healthy Appetizer Ideas | Five Spot Green Living
  3. Oh wow, those look wonderful! I was veggie for years and recently had to go back to eating meat for health reasons. Isn’t it funny how different people have to give up totally different things for different health issues?! Anyway, I still love a good veggie-meatball or hamburger and the sauce sounds really interesting, so I’ve got to try this out! Pinning! 🙂 Lisa

  4. Pingback: Easy Homemade Meatballs Recipes + Funtastic Friday 112 - Glue Sticks and Gumdrops
  5. These look crazy good! I love meatballs, and I imagine I would have a hard time giving up red meat, but this looks like a good substitute. I am excited to try them!

  6. I eat vegetarian a few days a week so I’m going to try this the next time I make fresh pasta. Great use of the crazy ingredients this month! I’m inspired!


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